Is White Supremacist Movement Likely in Tri-State?
With the thoughts of Charlottesville still on everyone's mind, you might be wondering if it could happen here.
It's been almost two weeks since the violent rally in Charlottesville that left one woman dead. With this resurgence in seemingly "acceptable" white supremacist displays, you might be wondering if it could happen here. This isn't an unreasonable thing to wonder, given how involved Indiana (and especially Evansville) was in the Klan's rise to power in the 1920's. To find out more about this topic, I turned to one of my former professors at the University of Southern Indiana for answers.
Dr. Todd Schroer is Chair of the Criminal Justice program at USI and an Associate Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice. The class I took with him dealt specifically with hate groups and hate crimes. When asked about if there could be a resurgence in this area, Dr. Schroer said "There is no known organization currently active in the Evansville area." This was definitely a relief to hear. He also added that the rally in Charlottesville was "People with similar ideals getting together" as opposed to being an actual organization like the KKK.
He also broke down the difference between the White Nationalist Movement and the often criticized (and compared to) Black Lives Matter movement:
"Black Lives Matter are a group of people who want equal rights, not a group who wants to prove they are better."
While this may seem like common sense, there are still many who use Black Lives Matter as a way to defend the actions done in Charlotte. According to Dr. Schroer, this is a false equivalency.
I did ask, that even though we don't have any active organized White Supremacists, could we still attract one of these rallies?
"Probably not. The Charlottesville rally had weeks and weeks of buildup and was based around defending the statue."
I interviewed Dr. Schroer last Thursday and already it's been announced that further "America First Rallies" had been cancelled in light of protests in Boston last weekend.
Still, I had to ask what to do if these rallies were to come to our area. What is the proper response? In response, he recommended the PBS Documentary Series Not in Our Town. The series follows how different places responded to hate crimes and other race related violence.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank Dr. Schroer for taking time to answer my questions. One of the things that was nice to be reassured is that there are still more good people out there than those who are trying to silence minorities or discriminate, despite what you might take away from the Facebook comment section. As made apparent by the Boston protests, we can make a difference if we stand up and say this isn't acceptable. Hopefully we can move forward as a country and leave this relics of the past behind.