Members of the KKK give the white power salute during a Ku Klux Klan rally in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. (File/UPI/Mike Williams) | License Photo
ATLANTA, April 21 (UPI) -- In the wake of last week’s shootings outside two Jewish institutions, Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona spoke out against the alleged shooter.
The KKK leader condemned the alleged actions of white supremacist and anti-Semite Frazier Glenn Cross for setting back “everything I've been trying to do for years."
"I believe in racial separation but it doesn't have to be violent," Ancona told CNN. "People in the Klan are professional people, business people, working types. We are a legitimate organization."
Ancona, who leads the Traditionalist American Knights, recognizes that the KKK may need to rebrand its image in order to let people know the modern Klan is about “educating people to our ideas and getting people to see our point of view to ... help change things."
Marketing experts told CNN that a rebranding effort will likely prove unsuccessful.
"They stand for hatred; they always have," said brand consultant Laura Ries. "Maybe they don't believe in shooting up a center for Jewish people, but they still support beliefs that are beyond the scope of understanding for most people and certainly the freedom and equality our country believes in."
Despite what Ancona says, the KKK’s image is still tied to violence and hate.
"Violence and racial intimidation were the KKK's raison d'etre. They're not simply a controversial civic organization. If in fact they reject violence, the only honest way of establishing that would be to do restorative work for the incredible damage their history of violence has already done," says Jelani Cobb, the director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut.. "No sensible person is going to wait around for that to happen."