Ian Reid                                                                                                 Recent work    Portfolio    About

On July 18 2015 I went to Columbia,South Carolina to take photos of rally/protest. I wasn't sure what I was going to encounter as a Black man at a Klan rally, but it was much more interesting than I had expected.

In the past, the Klan wore hoods and robes. You didn’t know who they were. At this particular rally, there were no hoods and robes. They wanted you to see who they were. It might have been the kid at the auto-body shop, or the guy who worked at the coffee shop, or the gas station attendant. There was no hiding.

It does make a difference when you see who these people are. The fact that you can see them for who they really are no hood, no mask was really powerful on a lot of levels. It's the clerk at the deli, the guy at the car wash, the cable repair man and so on.

I interacted with a few Klansman. For what it’s worth, they weren’t as bad as I expected them to be. I talked to maybe four of them at the end of the rally, when they were in this parking lot. It was me and one other reporter in this lot. We were the only two people in there with cameras. The Klansmen walked in, and I asked a few of them if I could take their photo. They all obliged. They thanked me for coming out and doing my job, actually.

It was interesting to hear them say "Thank you," to me, a black man, for taking their photograph. I asked if they felt their rally was successful, and they said yes, because they came out and they wanted to be heard, like everyone else wanted to be heard; they wanted to be seen like everyone else wanted to be seen. They didn’t want to hide behind those robes and hoods anymore.

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