All through the story the immigrants came
The Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane
From Pakistan, England and from the Ukraine
We’re all Scotland’s story and we’re all worth the same
(From ‘Scotland’s Story’ by the Proclaimers)
Some of the KKK propaganda cites Scotland as having the ‘racial purity’ that they long for. Some websites suggest that some of the founding members of the KKK were Scots who had emigrated to the US. Whether this is true or not is beside the point. You can find a few mindless, moronic bigots in any country, or any race or religion. The myth of Scotland being a ‘racially pure’ country is one I would like to explode if I can.
“The Scottish Nation is generally acknowledged to have come together between the sixth and fourteenth centuries, absorbing several races in the process of creating what certain individuals like to think of as the pure Scot. In fact, there is no such being. The early Scots were a post-Roman Gaelic-speaking people who invaded and settled the west coast, known then as Dalriada, having travelled over the sea from Ireland, and before that, it is fancifully suggested, although not as yet proven, the Middle East.”[i]
The proponents of this middle-east link point to the similarities between traditional Scottish and middle-eastern music and instrumentation as evidence. If this is true, and you claim your link to Scottish heritage, then YOU ARE AN ARAB. The possibility of a middle-east link doesn’t upset me at all, but if you are a KKK type then you should start thinking. Ha ha.
The burning cross symbol is another thing that various racist groups have tried to attribute to the Scots…
The “Fiery Cross,” as KKK groups call it, is vaguely linked to an apparently real Scottish practice immortalized by Sir Walter Scott in his 1810 poem “The Lady of the Lake.” But really, the Klan picked it up from the movies.
In Scott’s poem, a small, handheld wooden cross is carried from village to village to announce a meeting of the clans for war. The cross was fiery only at first; it was extinguished with the blood of a sacrificial animal before making the rounds as a charred object. (Most likely it was the X-shaped cross of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.)
Scott’s story was copied by Thomas Dixon for his bizarre 1905 novel “The Clansman,” a highly romanticized tale of the original, pre-Civil War KKK. Obsessed with the incorrect notion that the KKK had been founded by secret Scottish group, Dixon had them carrying the Fiery Cross around.[ii]
I don’t know if this is true. Maybe it was used as a way for the clans to meet for war. If it was, there is still a difference between that and a group of cowardly thugs using it to intimidate an innocent person.
In the 19th century there was another wave of Irish immigration and in the earlier part of the 20th there were many new waves of immigration from Poland (to get away from Hitler), Italy (to get away from Mussolini) and Lithuania (for all sorts of reasons). Most of the Lithuanians changed their names to make them more Scottish.
After WW2 new groups arrived from India, Pakistan, China and surrounding countries and the Caribbean. In the later part of the 20th century there have been more people coming from Africa. They are all welcome.
Apparently ‘Braveheart’ is required viewing at some of the KKK meetings. I would like to spoil the fun by pointing out that the majority of it is not true.
Now I am more of flag-burner than a flag-waver but I also see that the Scottish flag is being used by these people…
ONE of the fastest-growing white supremacist groups in the United States has hijacked the Saltire [the Scottish flag) to symbolise its struggle for a political system run by Celtic “kith and kin”.
Scottish tourists visiting Florida and the southern states on holiday have been warned that displaying Scotland’s national flag on their clothes now runs the risk of association with the extremist followers of the League of the South.
Kate Smith, who is researching nationalism at Glasgow University, said: “I think the league’s hijacking of the Saltire could cause the average American citizen to confuse our nation’s flag with right-wing extremism.”[iii]
This seems to be a parallel with what happened to the Swastika, which, before Hitler hijacked it was an Indian symbol promoting good luck.
Whilst this nation has its problems with racism just like anywhere else, some of us are trying to deal with them. One of the steps in this is to explode the myth of Scotland as a pure-white country and a haven for racists. It isn’t. We don’t want your false history, false propaganda, displaced anger and vile attitudes foisted onto us. This country is, has been and always will be a country of immigrants. We like it that way.