Is the best response to racist rallies just to ignore them?

Hey, I was there to cover the Nazis.

Hey, I was there to cover the Nazis.

Today, Cindi is urging us all to stay away from the State House during the demonstrations by the KKK and the New Black Panther Party:

We recognize that many good and sincere South Carolinians feel a need to demonstrate to the world that such people are not welcome in South Carolina. But there is no need to do that; these are already marginalized groups. No one believes we want them here, or that they represent us. They’re coming to South Carolina because they hope to take advantage of all the national attention on our flag debate to steal a little of the spotlight for themselves.

There’s nothing we can do to stop hate groups from staging rallies at our State House; the Constitution gives even the most odious people and groups the right to hold peaceful protests in such public places. But we can do something even better. We can stop them from accomplishing anything they hope to accomplish — by simply ignoring them….

Do y’all think that’s best? I don’t know, now that the flag’s down.

Over the years, I’ve made a particular effort to show up for anything flag-related at the State House — pro or anti. I was there in 2007 the see the neoNazis. I felt it was important to document, and to comment on, the kinds of visitors that flag attracted to our state’s front lawn.

But now… there is no flag. So what’s the point? Two out-of-state hate groups want to converge on each other in the center of our town. If we can’t keep them from doing so, should we at least just stay away until they’re done? They seem so… irrelevant now.

I don’t know. Now I know that working (that is to say, paid) news people will have to be there. They really have no choice. When something this awful is happening in public in your town, you don’t get to ignore it, any more than if the State House were on fire. You have to report it. Or at the very least, be on hand in case there is violence.

As for me, well — I can certainly think of better ways to spend my Saturday.

Anyway… thoughts?


31 thoughts on “Is the best response to racist rallies just to ignore them?

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I think ignoring them is wise, especially since we are told the whites intend to bring guns. Both groups are trying to get attention and possibly to provoke reactions. [Fingers in ears] Lalalalalala

    1. Mark Stewart

      I think it would be a hoot to follow them when they disperse. Where do guys in white go to get out of their bat suits? Do they march on down to their hotel? That seems highly unlikely – so their cars (read fairly tattered trucks)? That’s so Saturday Night Live-ish; trying to stuff their cone heads in the car door. Do they charter a bus instead? That’s funny, too, in its own way. Just one bus? Or five like any self respecting college football team? Or do they just disrobe and stuff their costumes into their gym bags right there on the plaza?

      So much silliness about these nonsensical haters. If I’m back in time would be juvenile fun to stalk them. But as most have said, I’ve got far better ways to spend my time.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        That would be pretty funny. I could see one guy: “Aw shucks, I don’t see my hood anywhere. I know I packed my hood right next to my robe and sash! Darn it, does anyone have spare hood?

      2. Kathryn Fenner

        How do the hoods stay up? Starch? Crinoline?
        What do they wear under their outfits? Is there a list of approved footwear?

  2. Doug Ross

    I plan to visit the Soda City market on Saturday morning on Main Street. I know a plan to beef up security has been put in place. The appearance of some Deliverance dudes shouldn’t prevent anyone else from going about their day.

    Rather than ignore them, I think a non-violent public display of rejecting their ideas would be acceptable.

    1. Ralph Hightower

      South Carolina has been out of the national news since the flag was removed, other than the law enforcement FUBAR at the FBI, Lexington County, and Columbia Police Department. The satellite trucks are gone.

      I was thinking about going to the Capitol with my 35 and shooting, er, photographing silly, grown men dressed in white bed sheets and cone heads. Even though photography in public spaces is protected, I’d shoot film to say that it is impossible to delete the photos from film and also, my film gear is cheaper than my DSLR.

      I was thinking about having a sign, front: “Hate Not Welcome in SC”, back: “Go Back to Raleigh and Burn Crosses at Your Capitol”.

      But it’s the weekend and I have more important stuff to do.

  3. Norm Ivey

    Brewing beer Saturday morning. Grilling ribs Saturday afternoon. Ignoring both groups all day.

    I’m busy. Haven’t time for their nonsense.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      The rescheduling of the vigil. Good!

      On Facebook someone posted a link to the story with pictures of KKK personages in costume saluting with one arm raised, in front of the State House, that brought to mind Arthur, King of the Britons and his loyal steed Patsy more than some noble Lost Cause….The Society for Creative Anachronism has nothing on these bozos.

      1. Brad Warthen

        I’m a little worried about the good people from the church.

        I heard a rumor today, supposedly making the rounds in North Columbia, that the Crips and the Bloods are planning to show up. Sounds to me like wild conjecture or even a sick joke, but the person who told me is given neither to wild imagination or gullibility.

        But I’m going to file it in the unsubstantiated file unless further evidence comes in…

        1. Norm Ivey

          I’m no expert on gang behavior, but I don’t see them getting involved in social issues. And certainly not together.

          1. Norm Ivey

            Too public. They don’t want you or me to know who they are. They only want each other to know.

  4. Karen Pearson

    I’ve got to go with both Cindy and Doug. We should go about our business and ignore them. If you have reason to be near the State House by all means go there. That doesn’t mean you have to pay them a bit of attention. Of course, it’s kind of a lost cause, because the media will be out in force giving both sides all the attention they could possibly desire.

  5. bud

    I dunno. People ignored Hitler at first. A small, peaceful counter demonstration seems appropriate.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Um, there are so many reasons the KKK is not in equivalent to Hitler’s Goons, not now.

  6. Katharine Duffy Thomas

    I say don’t go, and find a way to deal with the subtle violence of racism, poverty, and poor education.
    These people aren’t Hitler on the rise. They are the dregs of the old world vision. We would be better served by addressing the fears of poor white folk who know their life may be horrible but at least they can count on white privilege.
    There is so much more than charades on the statehouse over yet another lost cause.

  7. Bart

    I agree with the governor. Stay away and don’t give either group legitimacy by attending even if to protest.

  8. Harry Harris

    The polarizers don’t motivate me to react to their attempts at all. If someone picks a good time and place to demonstrate about something I support, I’m there. Show up to oppose some folks who thrive on opposition and conflict – nah.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Which still would not have been so awful, since lefties never lynched white people.

  9. Ralph Hightower

    WLTX is doing it right; on Facebook, they said they will have cameras there in case something hits the fan; but they won’t be covering it.

    What South Carolina law enforcement should do is set up barricades and confine the Klan within the barricades. Make them part of the zoo.

    I wrote a letter to the editor of he Raleigh News and Observer asking why the North Carolina chapter of the KKK feels the need to hold a rally at South Carolina’s Capitol grounds when they can do cross burnings, lynching, and dress in bed sheets and cone heads at their state capitol in Raleigh.

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