“Outing” someone usually refers to their sexuality. Without consent, the person’s sexuality is revealed. This can be a traumatic and truly mean thing to do. In the recent case of the hacktivist group Anonymous “outing” some members of the KKK, it becomes a much more thorny issue.
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If the people in question were actually members of the Ku Klux Klan, then by all means – out them! Anyone who is a bona fide member of this racist, stupid and actually silly (come on – those robes are just absurd) organization deserves to have the world know them for what they are. If they own a business, people should know. That way the small number of fellow ass clowns who believe their vitriolic spew can patronize them – and the rest of us can boycott to our heart’s delight.
However, among the first batch of names that Anonymous leaked, it seems that they messed up. The mayor of Knoxville, Madeline Rogero, is adamant that she’s been wronged by having her name included. She said “So, just to be clear, for anyone who doesn’t know me: Don’t be ridiculous. I began my political career working for the rights of farm workers with Cesar Chavez. I have spent decades working for causes of social justice and equality.”
Her bio and history attest to the fact that it does seem ridiculous that she’s in the KKK. Other prominent politicians included are US Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Tx.), Dan Coats (R-In.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), as well as Mayors Jim Gray of Lexington, Kentucky; Paul D. Fraim of Norfolk, Virginia; Kent Guinn of Ocala, Florida; and Tom Henry of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Not surprisingly, many of them are also adamantly denying the allegations.
The openly gay Jim Gray tweeted “I am opposed to everything the KKK stands for. I have no idea where this information came from, but wherever it came from, it is wrong.”
The reality is that likely some of the named people are villains, and some are innocent. It’s clearly terrible to smear someone’s name, yet it’s poetic and perfect to smear someone who actually is a racist abomination. If Anonymous does release the 100’s of other names they claim to have, you can bet that there will be a lot of discussion about who is or isn’t in the Klan. Hopefully, when the dust settles, we will know more about who is who – and some truly bad people won’t be able to hide behind their asinine robes any more.