Kentucky Gun Show Sells KKK and Nazi Memorabilia After Two Black People Were Gunned Down in Possible Hate Crime

Over the weekend, some Nazi and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) memorabilia was for sale at a gun show in Louisville, Kentucky—and Mark Lynn, chairman of the Kentucky State Fair Board, is promising that it won’t happen again.

The controversy started when Joe Gerth, a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, attended the National Gun Day Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center on Saturday, October 27 and came across an old KKK robe selling for $695 as well as Christmas ornaments and tank tops depicting swastikas. On Twitter, Gerth posted that he was “appalled” that such items were being sold at the event—especially in light of hate crimes that had recently occurred.

On Thursday, October 25—only two days before the gun show—two older African-Americans (67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones and 69-year-old Maurice Stallard) were shot and killed at random at a Kroger supermarket in Louisville. The man arrested for the killings, 51-year-old Gregory Bush, had a long history of racism. And the Louisville gun show took place the same day as an act of anti-Semitic domestic terrorism in which 11 people were slaughtered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Lynn told the Washington Post that he had no idea racist items were being sold at the gun show in Louisville, asserting, “Personally, I find these things exceptionally offensive.”

According to Lynn, the Kentucky State Fair Board (which oversees Kentucky Venues) will be proposing a policy that prohibits vendors from selling items of “known hate” at events. In 2016, Lynn told the Washington Post, the Kentucky State Fair Board adopted a policy forbidding vendors to sell or display anything depicting the Confederate flag—and that policy could be broadened to include Nazi and KKK paraphernalia as well.

On October 31, Gerth wrote a column for the Louisville Courier-Journal that ran with the headline, “Nazi and Ku Klux Klan Crap Has Got to Go from Public Property.”

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up