From the Field

Send In The Clowns: Standing Up to Neo-Nazi Hate in North Carolina

Guest Blogger • Nov 09, 2012


By Lacey Williams

A version of this article also appears on the Latin American Coalition blog found here.

On November 3, 1979, five protest marchers were shot and killed in Greensboro by members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party.  The marchers had been attempting to organize black industrial workers in the area.

Nearly 33 years later, members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and local members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), are planning to rally in Charlotte against “illegal” immigration. According to the NSM, the United States should put an end to all non-white immigration and should forcibly remove non-white people from the country. While the message (“immigration”) may be new, the target is still the same (“non-whites”).

It’s hard to believe that such groups still exist in 2012. It’s important to note that, nationally, white supremacists are gaining in numbers, even if their target audience is shrinking as a whole in our country.

Nevertheless, local immigration advocates will be pushing back on these white supremacists. This Saturday, advocates will meet the NSM and KKK head-on to protest their hate speech and dangerous ideology. And they will be dressed as clowns.

Clowns? Yes, clowns.

Organized racism is serious business, but it doesn’t deserve a serious response. It deserves to be ridiculed. If they plan on bringing their clown convention to Charlotte and making a mockery of civic discourse, then we plan to supply the clowns and extra-awesome mockery. To hold a belief in white supremacy is to be worse than a clown. The type of rhetoric these groups espouse does not work to move our country forward. We reject such divisiveness.

Hate should never be left unchallenged; silence is often construed as consent.  We must not forget that there are only a few degrees of difference separating these hate groups from elected officials like Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James and Arizona State Senator Russell Pierce, both anti-immigrant, both outspoken racists.

We choose not be silent, but we also choose to battle hate with humor. And clown noses.

The NSM/KKK protest will take place at Old City Hall (600 E Trade Street) in Charlotte this Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 2:45 p.m. Meet up with everyone at the Youth and Family Services Center (600 E 5th Street). 

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