At the University of Virginia, the weekend has been filled with “White Lives Matter” and “Unite the Right” chants. White supremacists are opposing a plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, a racist Confederate general whose primary goal, according to The Atlantic, was to “erase slavery as the cause of the war and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one.”
Good evening. Please direct your attention to the fact that a group of white supremacists is marching on a major US university campus.
— Broderick Greer (@BroderickGreer) August 12, 2017
— Jason Ross (@jasonjross) August 12, 2017
The Confederate mission is rooted in the conservation of slavery. To keep Lee’s statue would do nothing but embrace a nationalistic symbol of slavery in America. And who would want to do that? These guys…
— Jenny Yang👲👲🏽🐉 (@jennyyangtv) August 12, 2017
Friday night, these torch-bearing losers walked around UVA screaming “You will not replace us,” “Jews will not replace us,” and other xenophobic chants that embrace the ideals and recent policies of our President. With several people left injured, this was the largest and most violent gathering of white supremacists in years.
Saturday morning, the demonstrations escalated. White men and women waved Confederate flags and chanted Nazi slogans, taunting and hitting anti-racist onlookers. Police cleared the scene around noon, and Charlottesville declared a State of Emergency. Many Americans wonder whether the police would have taken so long to arrive if the demonstration had been race-reversed.
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
The President’s condemnation of the demonstration (we hoped for a press conference, of course we got a tweet) doesn’t make sense in the face of his recent policy decisions. It’s also startling to wonder how many of those white supremacists probably voted for Trump (my guess is all of them).
Trump’s outlook is xenophobic, he’s never publicly condemned Nazis, and many of the Charlottesville demonstrators wore Make America Great hats. This makes us wonder whether his tweet was targeted at the white supremacists or the anti-racist onlookers.
As violence in Charlottesville continues to unfold, we send love and safe wishes to everyone in Virginia.
Cover image via NYT