Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Spotlight of Ridicule

I'm reading a marvelous book called Freakonomics by economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner. One of the pieces in Freakonomics explains how Stetson Kennedy, a strong advocate of equal rights working under cover inside the Klu Klux Klan brought down the rising KKK in the 1950s by sharing their secret handshakes, passwords, and rituals with the producers of the Superman radio program. All that ritual seemed hollow under the spotlight of ridicule when the klansmen came home and saw their kids parroting their secrets while playing Superman versus the Klan.

Levitt and Dubner note that today Stetson Kennedy would have likely shared the Klan's secrets on a blog or a web site. Either way, Kennedy's story is a not only a clear example of the creative use of information, it is also an outstanding example of physical and moral courage in support of social justice.

I wonder if Georgia students learn about Stetson Kennedy in their state history classes?

I think we could all benefit from learning more about him.


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