Veiled Prophet

In a much earlier post concerning the Black Legion (and other KKK-like organizations) I pulled up a memory from the ’60s:

When I moved to St. Louis in the sixties to attend graduate school I was appalled to watch The Veiled Prophet Ball. They had a parade and covered the whole event on television like it was the World Series. I have to admit that my response at that time was total knee-jerk disgust without even trying to understand the history of the event; yet I’m fairly certain I would not be assuaged now, over sixty years later. To use a modern cliché, the optics sucked.

Now I see that the Veiled Prophet is back in the news:

In 1999, a 19-year-old Kemper was crowned the “Veiled Prophet Queen of Love and Beauty” in St. Louis. The Veiled Prophet association was founded by a former Confederate officer, and Black and Jewish people were banned from the organization until the late 1970s. — Buzzfeed

Ms. Kemper responded with an apology on Twitter:

When I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown. The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist, and elitist past. I was not aware of this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.

Well stated and apology (as if I personally deserved one) accepted. But one additional point: We should all hope that no one jumps in the Way-Back Machine and makes a thorough review of the events in our lives, especially those when the mush between our ears was easily trumped by ignorance, hormones, and peer-pressure.

Hey, I more than once parked in the back row at the Aero Drive-In Theater, listened to Pete Seeger recordings, snuck into an R-Rated movie when I was only sixteen, borrowed a few sips from my father’s Chivas bottle, lifted a couple of smokes from a neighbor’s unattended pack, and even attended a Barry Goldwater rally!

Then again, if people are disgusted by anything racist, sexist, and elitist, they must really be sick over the previous guy’s White House.

What are your thoughts on this?

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