Ron Stallworth, author of “Black Klansman: A Memoir,” and subject of Spike Lee’s movie adaptation, gave a talk in Edwards Auditorium last Sunday that was put together by the Student Entertainment Committee.
Stallworth came to campus to speak about his experiences as an officer infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan and the making of the film adaptation. During the talk, he spoke about how he worked as a detective, making calls and organizing meetups with the KKK and its most high-ranking officials, alongside an anonymous partner who acted as his physical double.
He entered the auditorium wearing black pants and a black sweater with Nike logos attached, clearly showing where he stood on the controversy over Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick in a recent commercial. He had text on his sweater reading “Inside a black man’s mind.”
Stallworth gave a general overview of the events that the Colorado Springs Police Department witnessed and took part in, and how they were adapted to the film. Stallworth made it clear that liberties were taken with his story, and periods of time were condensed, but he was content with that. He expressed great appreciation and approval of the film adaptation of his story, describing himself as being overjoyed with the final product and process.
“Who wouldn’t want to be a Spike Lee joint?” Stallworth said.
Particular elements of the movie he praised were the portrayals of himself, by actor John David Washington, and David Duke, the Klan’s national director, as though it was really them from 40 years ago come to life. An interesting anecdote that Stallworth had mentioned was that David Duke was a charming and even likable man, up until the moment that the subject of race was addressed.
Stallworth noted that Duke had a great fondness for being adored, complemented and made the direct comparison to President Donald Trump. He took time to address the statements made by President Trump on the subject of Charlottesville. Stallworth specifically mentioned his insistence on there being good people on both sides of the conflict between neo-nazis and their protestors.
He said that the current White House is a home to white supremacy, and Donald Trump partakes in the ideology. Stallworth made clear that he thought the Republican party was a breeding grounds for white supremacist ideology, and that it is the party of white supremacy.
He was aware that what he said was highly controversial. However, he also recognized that he made these statements many times before, was willing to do so again and that these were his beliefs made upon observations of the Republican party and the president.
The audience appeared to remain intrigued throughout the entire talk given by the applause that came from the audience at several points during his talk and at its conclusion.