posts 16 - 27 of 27
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Who are the "We" and Who are the "They"

  • First I think we clarify the opposing group in this debate. We would all agree that the "they" are the white supremacists. Some people might say liberal vs republican, or liberal vs conservative, however these are radicals we are dealing with. It is unfortunate that politics has become a breeding ground for smear tactics and lies that greatly separate the names of political parties from their true definitions. On both sides of the aisle there are moderates, and there are radicals. We must not allow ourselves to group a loud minority with an often disregarded majority seeking bi-partisanship and prosperity.
  • This was happening in America at a time of great political upheaval in the South. At the time, countless monuments commemorated for high ranking officials of the Confederacy were being removed across the South. Among radical conservative, supremacists, and nationalists, such an act was abhorrent to all. When these Neo-Nazis gathered at the University of Virginia for the Unite the Right march, it was to protest the destruction of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate army and abysmal human being. The immense violence that occurred in the ensuing days demonstrated that our racial and societal liberties were penetrable by uneducated, bigoted lunatics. We also learned the police and other agencies of law enforcement would act as bystanders to the ongoing horror in our country.
  • The phenomenon that seems to be at work in Charlottesville is that bigotry and hypocrisy are allowed to spread like wildfire throughout our country without accountability. The government has failed in protecting us from domestic terrorists who seek to threaten social justice and social democracy. The protesters are motivated by hate, fear, and paranoia.
  • I very well believe something like this, or worse than January 6 could happen again. There will always be hostile people in this world, however these supremacists are so much more than hostile. These are vile human beings driven by false pride and misinformation. It is becoming incredibly harder to stop the spread of lies and propaganda. Every day these groups become stronger. They will continue to grow stronger unless efforts are made to actively suppress them. I strongly believe these individuals are domestic terrorists, disqualified from being granted the basic rights and freedoms true democracy justly protects.
South Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 12

Ruminating on the disquieting messages of Charlottesville

  • Why? Why was this happening? And what did it portend for the future? (Yes, 2017 was a few years ago now but as you might imagine, it’s easy to draw a line from Charlottesville to what happened on January 6, 2021, and the ongoing polarization in this country.
  • How would we describe the phenomenon that seems to be at work in Charlottesville? What’s motivating the different folks protesting there and why do they see the world as they do?
  • Do you think something like this—or worse than January 6, 2021—could happen again?

The horrific organized protests marched in August of 2017 throughout Charlottesville brought back dismantled ideas of Hitler and reminded the immense population of white supremacists. The internet played a major role in the organization of these marches, but more broadly made spreading such ideas easily accessible. The connections made throughout the internet allowed racists and neo-nazis to find each other and come together as a group of violent and hateful people. The internet not only allows people to organize these disgraceful marches but allowed them to do it unsupervised although I do not think was majorly helpful. This is a disturbing fact thinking that these disgusting messages and plans are being sent online via Twitter, Reddit, Discord, etc, meaning they are shared publicly along with records of these messages being saved some sort of authorities would take action but it is sadly quite the opposite. Even when police are facing white supremacy marches in person it has been proved again and again through the marches in Charlottesville and on January 6, 2021, that the police and authorities couldn't care less for our citizens. I know that the success of the marches in Charlottesville lead to the increase in supporters as these racists saw a group they could be a part of and also that their ideas are supported by others.

The hate groups being spread majorly online have allowed people to become more comfortable about speaking their ideas even if disgusting, uncovering the corruptness of humankind. With these extremist ideas being so persistent the chance of some sort of march such as in Charlottesville is most definitely possible as the strength within the sole numbers of these white supremacists and neo-nazis has induced fear into the public with rising support of these sickening riots.

Freight Farm Enjoyer
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 20

"We" and "They"

I think it's important to put this into context, because although 2017 doesn't seem that long ago, this was over five years ago and the political climate has drastically changed since then. Donald Trump had only been president for about half a year, but with somebody with those views on race in power it's not surprising that people like this were beginning to feel empowered enough to try to organize themselves. I think the worst omen of all for the future wasn't that the Unite the Right rally took place, it was the fact that the president of the United States repeatedly refused to condemn one side of the protests more than the other, pretending like it was a case of "both sides are equally bad". This makes it seem like white supremacy is just a standard political ideology that should be accepted into society for the purpose of maintaining discourse and freedom of speech, not a disproven and completely illogical way of viewing the world. I think, given this, it's no surprise that there has been a rise in Neo-Nazi violence since 2017.

I think the events of Charlottesville are, as has been said several times, the result of an "Us" vs "Them" mentality, but I feel like a lot of emphasis should be on the "Us" part of that. People enjoy being parts of things, they relish in the camaraderie of movements like this, even if they don't fully agree with all the values shared by those around them. The Unite the Right rally appealed to right wingers because it sounds alluring to meet other people who share your political beliefs. Sure, you think, they might have some beliefs that seem extreme, but they're welcoming me into their community with open arms, so what they think can't truly be that wrong, can it? Ultimately, this is what causes people to fall down the rabbit holes of white supremacy and Neo-Nazism, and fundamentally altering their worldview.

I wouldn't just say that something like this could happen again, I am nearly positive that something like this will happen again, maybe very soon, or maybe closer to the 2024 election, when political tensions are higher. We've seen the anger exhibited by these extremists continue to rise as time went on, and basically nothing is being done to stop it, so why should we expect it to just magically disappear into thin air? I don't know what's going to cause the next Charlottesville or January 6th, and I don't know what's going to happen as a result of it, but I feel confident that it will occur.

West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 20

The events in Charlottesville and in DC seemed to have two things in common: social media and Donald Trump. The Unite the Right movement in Charlottesville started as an internet meme, according to some important officials of the movement. Social media is really dangerous because it allows people of similar beliefs to group together, even if those beliefs are held by a small minority. Thus, the radical right was able to convene online to plan these events.

The right was also further encouraged by Trump. After a member of the Unite the Right drove a car through a gathering of leftists, killing one and injuring many, Trump claimed there were wrongs on all fronts. The violent protesters likely knew that their president wasn't actually going to take action against them, so they were able to act more rashly.

Similar to these events, the January 6th insurrection also started online. I watched a documentary last year in history that discussed all the planning that went on over Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, etc before the insurrection. There were people discussing what equipment they were gonna bring and that they were going to start a "revolution". And Trump not only instilled the misinformation of voting fraud among his following, but also failed to stop the congregation while they were revolting.

I think what's happening is that people aren't listening to each other anymore. During the protests, both sides did little more than chant 3 word phrases with swears and slurs. I think people should learn outlooks and experiences of the other side before going on attack mode because it's hard to not antagonize the other side when you can't understand their viewpoints. But it's also hard to listen when everyone's just screaming and fighting. I acknowledge that not everything will be solved through discussion since there are genuinely bad people out there, but it'll do a lot more than this.

I really hope and don't think something like January 6th could happen again. I think people and agencies will be more careful in their investigations of what happens online. In the documentary that I watched about the insurrection, it discussed how much the FBI and other agencies overlooked and underestimated.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

We and They

  • The why question is such a hard question to answer because with situations like these there never are concrete answers in which everyone agrees upon. Yes technically the reason why these people did what they did for the reason of racial or ethnic cleansing but why? Why do they have as much hate in their hart to cause harm? As to why this is happening? I saw this becoming a problem for a while I knew it was a matter of time until it boils over. The United States, ironically enough, was due for a racial war. with a president like Donald Trump that fed into the fantasies of these people. Racial/ethnic tension has been building and rose fast and exponentially durning Trumps presidency. The Charlottesville incident foreshadowing the future of American society. White supremacy has always existed in America it just was not as widely seen confidently in public making it seem as if it didn't exist before 2017.
  • I would say this is a mix of a lot of theories and phenomenons like toxic masculinity, the passing down of general misinformation and misinterpretation of certain groups and just ignorance. You can tell these people were taught by their parents to think the way they do and because the majority of them are of the male population it's especially hard for them to be more open minded which led me to the conclusion of toxic masculinity. Being wrong requires them to break down that form of dominance they think they have over others and since they have a very traditional way of thinking in terms of roles in society educating them in a way of their own comprehension is especially hard. The motivation for them is like I said not wanting to admit to the false narrative that they grew up believing.
  • Yes something like this is bound to happen again but this time a lot worse with the increase of mistreatment of certain ethnic/racial groups and the lack of action being taken to combat it people will again take action into their own hands and be less forgiving as they were in 2020. As for the incident in January 6th 2021, considering the fact that these groups have gotten more vocal over the years it isn't impractical to assume that a similar incident will happen later on. It's only a matter of time.
Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 17

Social Media is the Real Culprit

The event in Charlottesville took place because of social media. Social media allows for the communication between people who are all around the world with different beliefs. Before social media these people who believed in white supremacy, being Neo-Nazis, and the theory of “ethnic cleansing” as they put it would be rejects or outliers in their community. But thanks to social media these people are able to communicate with each other and create group forums to share their ideas on. Censorship is never the answer, but with allowing social media platforms and seeing all the good they do, we have to also factor in the bad. It has allowed for these people who still believe that America should be run by white people and that anyone not white is inferior. These people would be laughed at in any normal social setting, but thanks to social media they feel as though they are not alone. They are clearly not judging by the sheer number of people who attended these marches. The phenomenon of this event is the uprising and joining together of white nationalists of America. Social media has allowed them to recognize each other, communicate, and organize public gatherings and start these marches. People should be free to protest anything they want no matter what their opinion is because we live in America, but when their main focus is to be violent that is where a line is crossed. As seen in the video all of the leaders and big names in this movement were preaching violence and even going as far as saying they would be willing to kill people on the other side. They even justified killing people. That is wrong. It is baffling that people still believe in things such as white supremacy, the Nazi rhetoric, and things like fascism, but those are the things we have to deal with in America. Going down that rabbit hole is a whole different issue with the education systems and the upbringing of children over generations from racist families, but we can always work to move forward as a society. People will always be stuck in their old ways, but these people should not feel the need to bring violence, guns, and the intent of killing other human beings while protesting their beliefs.

Also it is a very interesting question to ask how the event that took place on January 6 is painted as such a horrible event when during the BLM protest cities around America were being trashed, looted, and were going up in flames. The message of the BLM movement is positive and the message of the January 6 event was negative, but both ended up with the same result, destruction and violence. The rhetoric that the people were pushing during the January 6 event was wrong and they came with the intention of violence, but how is breaking a couple windows and walking into the capitol building any worse than destroying major cities of our nation, looting stores and local businesses, and setting the streets on fire for 5 months. It is funny how the media paints it as though one thing is so much worse than the other. When in reality they are both protests that ended up turning into violent riots. Yes, the white nationalist movement is inherently wrong because they think that one race is superior to others and they come to protests with the intent of being violent. Not to defend them, but it is America and we have the freedom to speak and think what we want and just like every other country there are two groups, nationalists and then another group who wants to bring change. These events will definitely keep happening on both sides. Just something to think about.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 23

1) This is happening because of social media making it easier for other people to connect to each other and form echo chambers. When a group of insecure and close-minded people come together using the same escape goat, things like Charlottesville can happen. On top of the media making it easier for people to form groups, the recent presidency of Donald Trump has allowed right-wing people and white supremacists to feel as though their actions are acceptable and right. With Trump not pinning the blame on them during the protest in Emancipation Park for hitting a group of people with their car, and even with his own terrible record of racist actions and sayings, it allows for people to become more bold in asserting their racist views.

2) People in Charlottesville clearly are very divided. One side has more racist, anti-semitic, anti-communist views, and the other side has views on wanting minority groups to gain more rights, liberty, and acceptance. The people on the more racist side of things seem to be afraid of getting replaced by Jewish people/immigrants in general because of jobs and because others want to have an ethnic cleansing, which is of course just stupid. I think they see the world the way they do because they feel like their privileges are being taken away, and they're being threatened. Charlottesville is also in the South, which is where the Confederate flag was made and where slavery was especially bad before the Civil War. I remember learning about how Southerners felt very bitter about the Civil War and how they veneered their Confederate family members that died in the war, so it could also have to do with the propaganda that has been brought across generations of families that bring about the ideologies some people still have today.

3) I think something like January 6 2021 could happen again. Maybe not the same location, but the severity could be the same.

Posts: 19

I believe this tragic event happened because white supremacists finally caught on that parts of their “culture”, that are significant to them, were being taken over, by people that didn’t look like them. This group of people have come to believe that they are the only type that should exist in this nation, and so “removing” part of their past seems oh-so-damaging. At the same time, it was 2017. Social media has grown to a prominent stage at this point the past decade, so organizing a bigger movement like this is something very much possible. I agree with Freight Farm Enjoyer, that its important to understand how close this event is to when Donald Trump became president. Having the chief executive of this nation align his views to what these white supremacists also believe in, gives them a sense of reassurance, and perhaps power. This event portends to the future in the continue rise of hate crimes against marginalized groups. It also was definitely evidence that another event like this could happen even on a larger scale, like January 6th.

I would describe this phenomenon as simply white supremacy. As I’ve already mentioned those who believe in this phenomenon are afraid that “their history is being taken away”. But mostly, I feel like this phenomenon only appears because of fear. In some ways, I sort of view violence as a coping mechanism for some people, because they think that if their victim is harmed, emotionally or physically, they are in the position of power. I feel like the reason why people believe in this phenomenon is because of the people they surround themselves with. I think there’s no exact way to answer this part of your question, but through watching the documentary it seems that man beliefs have jut sprung through aquaintances

I absolutely think something like this or worse than January 6th could happen again. With the way law enforcement, like the state police, local police, and even the FBI were acting in this video, I think there could’ve 100% been better protection at events like these. With the spread of social media too in this day and age, it’s eveneasier for law enforcement to predict if an event like these would happen.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

"Us" vs. "Them" in Charlottesville

The march in Charlottesville is a prime example of how white supremacy has gained traction recently, even though as time passes, society is supposed to be improving and moving forward, not going back in time. It’s shocking to see how some people still hold such dated, racist beliefs. Why is this happening? I certainly can’t be sure but as Juicy Burger says “Trumpism and Trump has largely emboldened far right nationalists and republicans by supporting their ideals and inspiring new waves of neo-Nazism and nationalism.” and I completely agree. Many of these white supremacists used to be too scared to do anything but spout racist ideas online. But since 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president, I think they have gained a new sense of boldness because of the fact that the President of the United States shares some of the same racist ideas as they do. I also think that recently, as more and more people begin to use the internet, different dark recesses of the internet gain larger followings and they can spread their harmful ideas to more impressionable youth. Certain parts of websites like 4chan, Reddit, and even YouTube can be used to spread racist ideas as facts and since many kids’ internet use isn’t monitored, if they only talk about their new beliefs online, no one can tell them why these beliefs are inaccurate and dangerous.

What happened at Charlottesville is the direct result of hate and fear, as many people have already said. These Neo-Nazis have the irrational fear that white people won’t always continue to have the privilege they’ve had since they arrived in this country. However, the way they view it, they think they’re being “replaced” by people of different races, religions, sexualities, etc. I cannot fathom where some of the more extreme views, like the desire to try to remove all non-white people, come from, but it seems to be part of their “solution” to them being “replaced”.

I think some of these people see the world the way they do because they were raised to see the world that way. They likely grew up in white communities surrounded only by white people who taught them their own racist beliefs, which were passed down from generation to generation, including those who lived when almost everyone in the U.S. was openly racist. When these generations of people stay in their isolated communities, they don’t have the opportunity to know or learn anything different. Racism is taught, kids are not born racist.

Others seem to be people who were isolated from their peers for various reasons, so they retreated to the internet to find friends. Then, as they spend all their time online, they fall deep down the rabbit hole of hate. They are resentful of the fact that their peers don’t seem to like them and turn that resentment into hate towards other people.

I think something similar to or worse than the insurrection of January 6, 2021 could easily happen again. As some of the Charlottesville protestors said in the Vice video, them getting off the internet to march in person demonstrates to others who may have the same racist beliefs that they are not alone. The more people who are emboldened by this, the more dangerous these Neo-Nazi movements become. This is far from the last time something like this will happen.

Posts: 18

Ruminating on Charlottesville

1. I think that the events of Charlottesville happened because of not just the rise of white supremacy and other prejudices in this country, but the lack of things that have been done to stop it. Hate aimed generally towards the non-white, non-Christian peoples has been around for hundreds of years. We’ve seen the atrocities that have surfaced surrounding this hate, and still there are people who agree with the motives behind them. They keep happening, and the people responsible continue to walk free withiut punishment. Due to their lack of punishment, they have no fear of consequences, and will surely continue with their goals. That being said, I feel that the amount people who support other groups is growing, and we’ve gotten better at speaking out against them not just at events, but in our daily life.

2. The phenomenon at Charlottesville is white supremacy. Racism has deep roots in the town of Charlottesville, and in August of 2017, people acted on it. People in the neighborhood gathered to counter the marches. Each group believes so strongly in their set of doctrines.

Fear also plays a very important role here. What drives the White supremacists is the fear of being replaced by minorities, non-christians, and other groups. The opposing side, which I tend to refer to as “our side,” because the people in my life agree with their message of equality, is driven by the fear of what the opposite side is willing to do to us

3. I definitely believe that something like this could happen again. This country’s government has hardly done anything to keep these groups in check. Some of our highest powers, such as Donald Trump, have almost encouraged it. They’ve placed no blame on violent protestors or dangerous groups, avoiding the subject for the most part as we learned in the first documentary. Without proper consequences, if we don’t shut it down, if we don’t educate ourselves atrocities such as Charlottesville and January 6th will continue to occur.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20

I think that it was honestly a group of ignorant white people who think their right marching into an innocent town to try to cause havoc. According to them, they are trying to get rid of the people who have come to take their jobs, take their homes and their land. They claim that they need to rid the country of people of color as if they didn’t technically bring them here. This was happening because since times of slavery white people have unfortunately always been seen as the better race or have more opportunities. Many historians have concluded that slavery gave way to this and other things because it heavily rooted certain areas with racism because said areas had historically favored the elite white people. For the future, events like this and more will lead to an overwhelming amount of people believing that their cause or racist belief is enough to hold a rally similar to this

Those protesting truly believe that they are right in their beliefs, thinking that they are superior. They believe that their violent ways are right. Their motivation lies in the fact that their government from the bystanding police to the implied support of the president. This alone can allow more rallies and violent protests to continue through the future

coffee and pie
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

I think this is happening because of fear. White people have been in power since the very start of this country. In fact, it is what this country was built on, mainly the gross mistreatment of Native Americans and enslaved Africans. Though we like to praise this place for being equal and all that, it isn't. White people still hold power, systemically, interpersonally, and everything in between. It is true that as time has progressed so has our efforts to create a fair country, but with that comes pushback from people in power. They are only in power because they lowered everyone else, so when that "everyone else" starts to get back where they deserve (an an equal playing field), those in power will lose that power. With white people, they don't want to lose their position to people of color. I also want to point out that most of the people protesting were white men specifically, which is not at all surprising because men have more privilege than women. So, these privileged people are using their privilege to their advantage and being extremely violent as a display of that privilege. They want people to fear them as a method to maintain their power, which is from fear of losing it. I also think it has to do with the looming feeling that they will lose their power, so they might as well live it out now before its gone (which is still very wrong). As for the future, I think one good example of it's affect is the responses to the black lives matter movement blowing up in 2020. It was to empower black voices, to fight for fair treatment. But white people saw it as a threat to their privilege and came back with blue lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter, and then Trump became president. All because they couldn't handle their power being taken away. So, for the future, it will continue to happen as a response to our fight to equality.

To describe what we saw, I think it was mainly desperation. White people are born into a higher position, where many things came easy to them - jobs, education, ability to walk down the street safely. Not only are they safe from some dangers, they are given upper hands. They lose those if we make it a fair playing field and they are desperate to keep it. They wouldn't know how to live wihtout it since it had been their whole lives.

Unfortunately, I do think this could happen again. Whether we like it or not, the system is poisoned and not many people seem to be willing to help it. I think that if we all got together to fight it, we could stop it from the root. We could use education, social media, and advocacy to create a better world. However, not everyone is willing to listen. I think the only sure way to stop this is to teach them at a young age. Other than that there is realistically always a chance for this to happen again.

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