After Charlottesville

Following the violence unleashed by white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend, The Forward ran extensive coverage as well as an editorial and opinion pieces on the events. One woman was killed when a neo-Nazi sympathizer used his car as a weapon, while Blacks and whites who had assembled peacefully were brutally attacked.

[Editor’s note: The photo above was taken by Zach D. Roberts for Nation of Change and shows 20 year-old Deandre Harris being beaten by white supremacists on Aug. 12. Go to The Root for an interview with Harris.]

The Forward’s reporter Nathan Guttman was shaken by the experience of covering  marchers chanting racist slogans like “Blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us,” wrote Dan Friedman, executive editor of the publication. He continued in an editorial:

Let us be clear: Hatred and violence has appeared not on many sides, but on one side.

Contrary to the words of the president, the hatred, bigotry and and violence come from the side of those who wear white hoods and chant anti-Semitic slogans. The hatred and violence come from those who deliberately drive cars into groups of counter-protesters. The hatred and violence comes from those who constantly spew racism on social media, those who repeatedly picture Jewish journalists in gas ovens and those who threaten with rapewomen who stand up for their beliefs on Twitter.

Still, Friedman said, it not even the alt-right that poses the real threat to the nation.

The real threat is that the moral majority of this country will not be heard. That the very institutions of the republic that safeguard freedom of speech and peaceful assembly are themselves being trolled. The real threat is that the good, decent folk of America who might not be affected directly by this public rise of American white supremacy will not put their bodies and names on the line to say “This is wrong.”

An opinion piece in The Forward penned by @Freeyourmindkid observed that “on Saturday, we learned that the civil rights of Nazis are more protected than those of people of color.”

In Charlottesville this weekend, Nazis showed up and became violent while virtually every institution failed counterprotestors, and especially the black folks who were targeted. The cops did nothing to stop Nazis from committing violent hate crimes. Our government utterly failed to protect people from racial terror.


We black folks are used to racial trauma in this country. But what happened in Charlottesville felt like a different type of trauma. It felt like an historic trauma; the same type of trauma that our grandparents experienced when they attempted to integrate into white spaces and were beat by mobs as the police looked on with approval. The same type of trauma that they felt when George Wallace stood on the steps of the University of Alabama and declared his support for white supremacy by supporting segregation. The same type of trauma that they felt when thousands of white people would participate in the lynching of black people with the help and support of law enforcement.

For more coverage of the events in Charlottesville and their aftermath, go to The Forward.

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