CNN wonders: Can the Klan rebrand?

No, say top marketing experts, brand gurus and historians — and for many reasons.

The Klan could change its name, get a smooth-talking spokesperson, replace the robes with suits and take off those ridiculous hats, but underneath, people would recognize its message is the same.

“They stand for hatred; they always have,” said Atlanta-based 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.”

Other experts raised the question: If the Klan isn’t violent, what’s the point?

“What would you be left with? Benign racism?” asked Jelani Cobb, director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut.

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