The white nationalists were back in Charlottesville over the weekend, bearing torches and rallying around the draped statue of Robert E. Lee. Arriving in a tour bus, about 40 to 50 supremacists bore torches and chanted, “We’ll be back.” After about ten minutes, they boarded their bus and left.
Hopefully, they won’t be back. The best way to ensure that they won’t return is to ignore them. The rally was staged purely for the benefit of the media. Naturally, the media obliged. Among other outlets, the Washington Post and the New York Times assigned reporters to cover the rally. Local TV was there as well. So, the white nationalists got some of what they wanted: attention.
But this time, there were no counter-protesters (at least not enough to warrant mention in the Daily Progress, whose account I have follow here). There was no violence or even a threat of violence, so there was no spectacle, which means there was no video footage worth broadcasting on the national networks. Controversy and publicity are the oxygen that keep the fires of extremism burning.
What if Richard Spencer and his white supremacist buddies threw a rally and nobody came? I doubt they would ever return.
Meanwhile, reports the Daily Progress:
At UVa, about 30 students and faculty stood outside UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan’s residence, Carr’s Hill, and chanted “blood is on your hands” and “all black lives matter.” At the bicentennial celebration on Friday, three students were arrested on trespassing charges after allegedly holding a sign that read “200 years of white supremacy” in front of a screen.
There are ample grounds for criticizing Sullivan’s tenure as university president, but to say that “blood is on her hands” is patently absurd. And while it is true that UVa, like almost every other university in the country, is tainted by racism in its history, it empties the words of any meaning to associate the institution with “white supremacy” today.
Perhaps the best thing to do is to ignore these puerile fools. Unfortunately, unlike the white supremacists, Black Lives Matter protesters won’t board a bus and leave the state. And unlike the white supremacists, whose ideology is almost universally reviled, large swaths of the population — especially in university communities — are in sympathy with BLM assertions that the United States and its institutions are irredeemably racist. And unlike Richard Spencer and his excoriated band of losers, Black Lives Matter presents demands that university administrations take very seriously indeed.There are currently no comments highlighted.