Hate on display in Charlottesville


There’s no moral equivalence between the anti-fascists and the alt-right. There are people who saw this event for what it was, and there are people who want to lie to themselves.

What happen in Charlottesville, Virginia last week is not so farfetched in today’s political reality, seeing as how 45 has opened the door for white nationalists, the alt-right and other racists who support him. These groups are inside a warm pot, and at some point it was going to boil over. Days after, it was comforting to see the backlash they received, not only from activists who were present in their opposition, but also with the tearing down of confederate statues that followed, and the business community not playing along with 45’s moral equivalence between anti-fascists and the alt-right.

It was shocking to watch these hate groups in full display, not afraid of any repercussions for their actions. On Friday night, they went out with tiki torches chanting awful slogans. I checked twitter in the early hours of Saturday morning, and I was met with an onslaught of images: white men marching with torches, like it was the 1800s, except some were wearing white polo shirts and khaki pants. This was a poor attempt at conveying a clean, new look for the alt-right, neo-nazis of America, but they were clearly not fooling anyone with “their toned down” approach of “we’re fighting for our heritage.” The day brought out other hate groups that carried with them confederate and nazi flags, some sporting military outfits and guns. They went so far as to run over a group of protesters on the anti-fascist side, injuring many and killing a lady, who was white herself.

For anyone who was waiting for 45 to do the honorable thing and fully condemn these hate groups, has obviously not been awake for the last couples of months, or for the duration of the media’s obsession with 45. Stop waiting for a pivot. Sure, he can read teleprompters and pretend to be civil and cognizant of the facts, but those are not his words, as we saw the day he went off-script, and said there were some good people in the alt-right, neo-nazi side, and that they were there to oppose the removal of confederate statues. 45 has always been a racist; his actions and words reveal that. He’s too old and senile to change, so stop waiting.

The conversation needs to move to why young white men are adopting this radical ideology, some who are college-educated and seemingly well-off. People can try to use the economic argument, but there is a new crop of racists pretending they are fighting for white america and their “heritage,” since they believe they’re being replaced by minorities, but this stems from a belief that the white race is a superior one. I imagine these young men (I noticed from the photos many of them appeared to be in their 20s to 30s) gather in clandestine forums, posting hate speech and fake news, instilling a twisted reality on their consciousness. One that politicians are glad to use to their advantage, and ironically for the ruin of white-america. They are trying to take back America. I’m not sure from who? Since they have ancestors who immigrated to this country. They don’t own America. If anyone should claim ownership, it’s the Native Americans.

The online world has become the place for ego-driven fake news. hate speech, bots and trolls. For anyone willing to suspend their rationality to adopt a supremacist ideology, it’s not difficult to find people who will agree with you. Before fake news, there was, and still is, Fox news, which 45 watches religiously and often repeats verbatim. It’s like a cycle that keeps repeating itself. When your “president” is relaying back conspiracy filled statements, it’s no surprise people don’t believe trusted news sources.  He doesn’t hide his favoritism for these alt-right groups, since they’re part of his base. They want nothing more than to see him deport immigrants and undermine our civil rights.

Another point of confusion for me, is why anyone would want to claim the confederacy as part of their heritage, and defend it as if it was righteous and moral? Anyone espousing these beliefs clearly doesn’t have qualms about the fact that the confederates were fighting to keep slavery; they were willing to split up the country because they wanted an entire race to be enslaved.  Some of the descendants of confederate generals themselves have called for the statues to be taken down. The great-great grandson of Stonewall Jackson ( a man who believed god wanted slavery to continue) expressed their moral dilemma when it came to their heritage, as something that has evolved.  They acknowledge their ancestor and the history, knowing that his statues no longer have a place in today’s society.The great-great grandson called the statues “overt symbols of racism and white supremacy.” Many of the confederate statues were installed during reconstruction, as if to remind African-Americans, who were living in the south, of those who were against abolishing slavery. These symbols call out to an ideology that is offensive specially for black communities.

Though these statues are symbols of oppression, people should use the proper channels to bring them down. The communities involved should decide what happens to those statues and build consensus. As it occurred in New Orleans when the council members voted to take them down. The pressure should come from grassroots movements that influence elected officials to remove them from the community. It’s important for people to have a conversation as to why it should be removed.  Following those channels of actions will make people more likely to agree with the removal instead of doing it by force.

The hate groups made their presence known in Charlottesville, not just to express their anger over the removal of confederate statues, as 45 will have you know, but also because they wanted to show that all these groups are united. They’re not just some random group of people on reddit or 4chan, ranting about “white heritage” So for anyone saying that anti-fascists or others who are part of the resistance should not show up, in order to prevent a violent interaction, know that they were there to voice their opposition. It sends a message to fascist, racists that we have the numbers to back up the resistance, and that the majority of the country agrees with us when we say we want to protect minorities like Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, and Jewish communities.

This is the time to speak out and protest against these hateful groups. But we can’t stoop to their level by committing violent acts ourselves, because then we are no better than they are, if we do not let out words and action come from a place of peace and conviction, and not force.



Krewe of Concerned Citizens

In true New Orleans style.

Another one reverberated, “We are one nation, no mass deportation!”

It felt like a hot summer day when I went to Metairie for a town hall, hosted by Bill Cassidy, U.S. senator of Louisiana. Around the country some elected officials chose to attend town halls during the President’s Day congressional recess, and some chose to ignore their constituents for fear of being screamed at. At least Cassidy didn’t cower at the idea of having angry citizens express their concerns about the new White House Administration and its orange warlord. I’m sure he knew what he was in for, because he strategically chose to have the event in a small venue that fit about 200 people, and it was scheduled to last only one hour. Try fitting policy concerns from hundreds of constituents into one hour, and you will fail.

A friend and I expected to at least make it to the back of the venue. But by the time I arrived at the library, I saw crowds of people walking from the entrance  towards the parking lot.“They closed the doors. We’re going to see if he’ll come out from the back,” they told us.

Some people had been there since noon, hours before the start to get a spot inside. I assumed it would take place in a large auditorium, and most of us would be able to get in. Over by the entrance, there were hundreds of people holding up signs. One read, “Keep the EPA. No Pipeline.” Another, “Investigate Trump ties with Russia,” and “Healthcare is a human right.”

Over by the entrance, people standing wishing they could have a chance to ask Cassidy some questions.

The best signs were close to the barricades that security guards had set up near the entrance. There was a small group of people using a microphone. One lady was recounting her experience with Affordable Care Act and how it allowed her to get coverage for her illness. There was also a guy that talked about listening to who have different ideologies. “Don’t let them tell you should hate them. They voted for someone else but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore them…,” his voice trailed off as I kept walking.

I thought about the sentiment of putting yourself in another person’s shoes, and listening to their point of view before relying on severe judgment and ridicule. If anything has come out of this election, it’s that we shouldn’t be afraid to talk to people outside our circle. Fear doesn’t allow for the exchange of ideas; it only further divides us.


We ventured to the parking lot where people were waiting for Cassidy to come out. The number of people on this side was also significant and kept increasing as the hour approached when Cassidy would exit. A couple of people were following the meeting through live feeds. From the videos, it sounded like there was plenty of yelling. Someone said Cassidy had a power point presentation for the audience on how the senate and congress function. People were also told to leave their signs outsides— nothing bigger than 8×11 could be brought in. “He had everyone write their questions on an index card, and now he’s only talking about health care,” one lady said. “But he’s also answering other stuff now,” but this was only after people started demanding it. Cassidy had everyone write their questions in an index card, and read them as he saw fit. It would have been better to have people line up to ask their questions.

One guy outside got a little rowdy when the security officer told him not to pass further into the driveway. There were signs that recalled Cassidy being paid off by Betsy Betsy Devos, who donated $70,000 to his campaign. Many called him to oppose her confirmation vote, and expressed frustration on his Facebook account. “Oh that’s not necessary, were fine just standing here,” said a lady behind the guy who was yelling about Cassidy’s record.

We sat down for a while and my friend asked if I thought aggression was sometimes necessary? It’s a double edge sword. Even when protestors are marching peaceful—take the case of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation— they are painted by the mainstream media as criminals, instigators and rioters who are acting violent, which could not be further from the truth. There’s a danger that while our intentions may be noble, there are individuals that use this opportunity to rage, loot and set things on fire, but by in large most protests are peaceful except for minor rioters who in no way represent the whole message. That’s also not to say you shouldn’t express your anger over real issues, but there are definitely strategic ways, and yelling a few facts into the air and chanting vigorously is not criminal. Sometimes the only way to get heard is to be in the face of powerful people, who refuse to hear facts and rational arguments. I keep asking: Is our anger not justified? At what point does it become justified?

I talked to one lady, who had come down to protest because she was worried about the Devos confirmation, ACA and the investigation on cheetolini’s campaign connection to Russia. Some medical students who wore white lab coats were hoping to ask questions about ACA. They were worried about coverage and preconditions. They told me that one of their friends luckily made it inside the venue.

The crowd kept chanting while the town hall took place inside.
The crowd kept chanting while the town hall took place inside.

Chants from the crowds rose: “Refugees are welcome here.” “Say it loud, say it clear.” Another one reverberated, “We are one nation, no mass deportation!”

Someone standing near us asked, “Where are they being sent?” It was reported that immigrants are being sent to Mexico, regardless of the fact that they are not from there. I remember reading an article about the backlog of detainees stemming from the Obama Administration, and with the new ICE raids it will only exasperate the problem, since immigrants without criminal backgrounds are not being exempt.

There was no sign of Cassidy yet, and it was well after the end of the event. Some suspected he left through a different door, but a lady, assured us that, “No, that’s his car, parked right over there.” On the live feed, Cassidy was taped leaving the town hall abruptly to the shout of audience members who complained that he had arrived late and left quickly.

For those who want to discredit the resistance, none of the people rallying against this administration are paid protesters.

The sun was drying us out, so we decided to leave. My friend said she wanted to ask him about the Bayou Pipeline. “Maybe he’ll answer your question as he’s leaving,” someone said, to which I laughed imagining the two seconds the question would get, and sadly it was a low-level priority for his administration, because a healthy clean, environment isn’t that important.

Driving away from the library, and watching as some protesters stayed behind, chanting and waiting. I thought about the guy on the microphone, saying to talk to people who have different ideologies and not to simply ignore them. I thought about whether these types of rallies were effective, and my friend pointed out that it allows people to learn and become politically aware. It also means that Cassidy could witness the opposition in numbers. This was not a random occurrence, not some little fuss, but a serious concern with how this administration is being run.