“We are not afraid. You will not divide us.”—Unite the Right.
White supremacists are scrambling to find lodging in Charlottesville, Virginia for their rally on August 12 — but Airbnb says there are no rooms available for racists.
I commend Airbnb for their bold stance: The global housing rental company is sending a strong message that racism will not be tolerated.
A white nationalist website says it has booked seven houses through Airbnb for 80 to 90 people from white supremacist groups.
But Airbnb isn’t going along with the program: Airbnb is cancelling the accounts of users it has determined are supporting the “Unite the Right” rally, which has infuriated members of the hate group. Members of “Unite the Right” are now calling for a boycott of Airbnb.
“You see this thing going that’s going on with Airbnb,” John Kessler, a “Unite the Right” leader, said in a Twitter video. “Anybody who is not just in the ‘alt-right,’ but who is conservative, right-wing or cares about civil liberties should start boycotting Airbnb. Airbnb are canceling people’s reservations to stay in Charlottesville … based on political ideology.”
Here’s the deal: According to The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, the rally could be the “largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.” The “Unite the Right” fanatics are protesting the removal of a Confederate statue but “emboldened by the Trump presidency.”
Whether the rally is large or small, The Southern Poverty Law Center says hate groups are on the rise in America, buoyed by Donald Trump’s victory. Hate groups are feeling more emboldened; they are staging rallies across the country to share their racist message.
The Charlottesville rally is led, in part, by the hateful Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank. Spencer is known for his incendiary rhetoric and his disdain for many racial and ethnic cultures.
“America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer told a crowd last year after Donald Trump was elected president. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
Really? I thought America belonged to all people living in this republic, not to mention the Native Americans that were here well before anyone else.
Meanwhile, University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan is encouraging students and faculty to stay away from the rally.
“One may stand up for one’s beliefs without physical confrontation. I urge students and all UVA community members to avoid the August 12 rally and avoid physical confrontation generally,” Sullivan said in a statement. “There is a credible risk of violence at this event, and your safety is my foremost concern.”
Sullivan makes sense although I’m sure there will be plenty of liberal counter-protestors who will show up to make their voices heard. And good for them.
The “Unite the Right” website says the alt-right group will “affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests…free of persecution.”
The racially segregated rhetoric is a stark reminder of Jim Crow. And while white supremacists search for lodging in Charlottesville on Saturday, let’s give a shout out to Airbnb for slamming its doors on gun-happy bigots who are small-minded but potentially dangerous.
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