9. Racial Justice (Smash White Supremacy), Charlottesville

What you’re doing when you simply call it “Charlottesville”

Please don’t use “Charlottesville” as a stand-alone word to refer to the white supremacist terrorist attacks of August 11-12.

As in, “ever since Charlottesville,” or “when Charlottesville happened.”

1. You are using the name of an entire city as a euphemism when what you really mean is “THAT WEEKEND WE ALL WATCHED ACTUAL NAZIS ATTACK AND KILL PEOPLE.” Yeah. That weekend. Say what you mean. Say “the Nazi terrorist mob in Charlottesville” or “when Nazis attacked Charlottesville” or “the largest most violent white supremacist rally in a long time.”

2. When you refer to this terrorism simply by using the name of our city, you are telling yourself that it’s just about Charlottesville… but it’s not. It’s also about you. Most of the Nazis who attacked Charlottesville came from other cities, other states. Which ones live near you? Do you know? Do you know which Nazi groups are organizing in your city, in your state? Do you know which of your neighbors came here to attack my neighbors?

3. We’ve been fighting in Charlottesville on a regular basis since the first torch rally on May 13 and long before then too — there have been Nazis with guns and threats and direct confrontations and it still continues every week. When you say “Charlottesville” and really mean “August 11-12” what you are telling me is that you were paying attention when we were all up in the news coverage for a few days, and *you* had a strong reaction to that and got all up in your feelings (which you definitely should, yes, valid, terrifying, infuriating, yes, all those feelings) — AND THEN YOU MOVED ON AND WENT BACK TO NORMAL LIFE. What you’re telling me is that you stopped paying attention to the ongoing struggle in Charlottesville.

Don’t stop. Don’t stop paying attention. Pay attention to Charlottesville. Pay attention to your neighbors too. Even as you are paying attention to the US imperialist neglect of climate crisis damage in Puerto Rico and the St. Louis rebellion in response to police murders of Black people and the threat of a second major Nazi attack aiming for Charlotte, North Carolina. This is all interconnected. The fascist terror continues. The resistance continues, too. #Charlottesville continues.

Join us.

Published by Mimi Arbeit

Mimi Arbeit

sexuality educator, developmental scientist, feminist.

5 thoughts on “What you’re doing when you simply call it “Charlottesville””

  1. Avatar
    Connie ROSENBAUM says:


  2. Avatar
    Olivia says:

    While I think this is a valid and valuable argument, I think it irresponsibly leaves the people of Charlottesville and all that Charlottesville stands for innocent in the events of this summer. Charlottesville has spent decades pushing black people out of its town, it has spent decades oppressing extremely low income people, it has spent decades sending its black children to grow up in prison, it has spent centuries upholding many of the values of the the white supremacists who marched here on A12. While, of course, this city is multifaceted, the current still flows strongly in favor of white, wealthy, educated people, and neglects the voices, the health, and the lives of black, brown, and poor people. It has flouted its many accolades exclaiming to the world that it is indeed the “Best Small Town to Raise A Family” while simultaneously letting the black birth rate plummet next door to one of the “Top Hospitals in the Country.” With regard to A12, we have replayed over and over how profoundly the city’s administration failed black people and those who chose to stand in solidarity with them on that terrible day.

    As far as I’m concerned “Charlottesville” deserves to be synonymous with all that its morally bankrupt culture and all that it culminated into that day. Sure, most of those people weren’t from around here, and yes, people need to recognize the white supremacy they swim in everyday outside of this town, Charlottesville was the safe, strategically chosen meeting area for a reason. And while, yes, the struggle has been here, and continues, and the mere act of paying attention is more than most of us have done in the past, I think it’s time to do the actual work of not making “Charlottesville” synonymous with its foundation of white supremacy. It’s time to stand against the developers and administration in abusing our neighbors in affordable housing communities. It’s time to stand against the police who’ve stopped and frisked our black neighbors 3 to 1 over our white ones. It’s time to stand against a judicial system that allows a black woman to go to jail for being raped by a police officer. It’s time to stand against a school system that funnels white kids to Ivy Leagues and pushes black kids through without the ability to read well or do basic math in the name of increasing graduation rates. It’s time to stand against the illusion that Charlottesville is at its core this beautiful, progressive town, innovative town and maybe at that point we can actually stand for something.

    1. Mimi Arbeit
      Mimi Arbeit says:

      Thank you for this comment. I completely agree.

  3. Avatar
    Dianne Deming Bearinger says:

    Thank you Mimi! This is perfect. I have been thinking the same thing, but couldn’t put into words the way you did.

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