March 27, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
I like protests. I don’t find the act of protesting particularly appealing, mind you, but I do like to watch. Often, it’s not the protest itself that draws my fascination – most angry people are pretty much all the same – it’s the reaction, response and interaction that takes place between the protesters and the public. Things don’t always go according to plan, and while sometimes that doesn’t turn out so well, occasionally a resounding clarity can be delivered through peaceful (and sometimes hilarious) means. Today’s project tells one such story of a whimsical commandeering of a hate-infused parade in Tennessee, turned into a gorgeous display of the power of poking fun.
White Flour is a beautifully-illustrated book based on the true events on a Tenneesee KKK rally in 2007, where white-hooded klansmen were unexpectedly accompanied by the Coup Clutz Clowns brigade, who might not have been on the same page, but wanted to join in the fun anyway.
The clowns slightly altered the supremacists’ chants to make them a bit… better. As the hooded marchers shouted “white power!” the clowns joined right in, shouting “white flour!” and pulling out bags of the stuff they had brought from home for a flour fight. They walked a bit farther and decided they had heard wrong, and that the klansmen must be shouting “white flowers!” so they shouted that, and passed flowers out to the crowd …and it gets better from there…
David LaMotte captured the essence of the event through verse, but is now putting the talents of illustrator Jenn Hales to work in order to produce a vivid and beautiful format fit for the young and young at heart.
The CCC proved that day that the quietest laughter can be more powerful than even the loudest hate-filled screams. It’s a beautiful example of how non-violent, creative resistance can win against organized aggression. It’s a story with a moral worth delivering to kids, for the sake of a future filled with protesters and counter-protesters armed not with torches and pitchforks, but with quick wit and savvy communicating skills.
Protesting is a manifestation of the human spirit and it’s not going away anytime soon, but with the lessons to be learned in the calamitous commingling of the KKK and the CCC, I have hopes for more thought-provoking parades to come. With your help, we can help this colorful true story be told to thousands more through beautiful illustration and resonant rhyme by backing this project before April Fool’s Day (April 1).