Written by: Glyniss Wiggins

Violence broke out last weekend in Charlottesville, VA as hate groups marched together in protest near the University of Virginia. Nineteen individuals were injured and one killed, Heather Heyer, as a rioter drove his vehicle through protesters Saturday afternoon. President Trump commented on the events that took place, emphasizing that “racism is evil” and we must all “show affection for each other and unite together,” while also finding a way to blame “both sides.”

The riots began late Friday night as a group of white supremacists, neo-nazis, and other hate groups charged through the city with lit torches chanting “White Lives Matter”. Counter protests erupted from the students of U.VA, and the scene became chaotic. The events of Charlottesville are a clear example of how much further this nation has to go for total equality.

Hate groups are still prevalent throughout the United States, and have been for many generations. Groups such as the KKK and Nazis have often held rallies and expressed hatred for African Americans and other minorities throughout American history. The counter protest trending hashtag “This is Not Us” comes off as common colorblindness that is often expressed by the American people who don’t experience the same kinds of discrimination. Many people choose to stay in the dark, ignoring the problems that often happen in our country. The truth of the matter is that unfortunately; the rallies and riots are, in fact, not un-American.

Neutrality is not an appropriate stance when dealing with these hate groups. However, President Donald Trump believes that casting the blame on “both sides” of the event that took place, specifically asking “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right’?”. The retaliation of which he was speaking were the counter protests that took place due to the hatred as well as white supremacist that seemed to terrorize the many protestors. Although fighting fire with fire is never a correct response; neither is open-mindedness towards hate groups and expecting minorities to not speak up or counterattack towards the hate.

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Rioters and protestors both seem to be fighting for rights that they “believe” in. Only one side is here for the equal rights of all minorities, men and women and can see and understand the problem and the injustice in our country. The trending slogan “This is Not Us” degrades the movement and struggle that many speak up and fight for almost daily. It is like a band aid over the many years of oppression, discrimination and hate that has, and continues, to take place. As important it is to move forward, it is just as important to understand that this is not something that has just “happened”, and to start fighting and being the change that people need from this country.