How Tweeting "This Is Not Us" About Charlottesville Became Controversial
The events in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday have sent shockwaves through the nation, with vigils and memorials of varying sizes planned in cities all across the country. With far-right, white supremacist protesters met by anti-racist counter-protesters, events ultimately turned violent, with someone crashing a car into a crowd of the anti-racist demonstrators, killing one of them and reportedly injuring 19 more. It was a terrible day, one which spoke to unavoidable realities about racism and bigotry in American life. As such, here are several inspiring tweets from the #ThisIsNotUs hashtag.
In addition to the person slain in the car crash ― the police reportedly have the driver in custody ― two more people were killed in a helicopter crash miles from the demonstration. It's unclear to what extent, if any, the crash was related to the events that unfolded nearby.
While Saturday was harrowing and depressing, some of the denizens of social media were eager to voice their opposition to racism and white supremacy, their disdain for violence, and their hopes for a brighter tomorrow. Others are tweeting in opposition to the hashtag, accusing it of reflecting privilege and neglect for the longstanding histories of racism and genocide that are core to the founding of America.
Here are 17 examples from both sides of the coin.
1. To Help And Love
2. I Don't Feel Safe
I don't feel safe. I believe in an America that is diverse and full of love. Let's progress. #ThisIsNotUS— limpwristed; nervous (@queencarlos_) August 12, 2017
3. We've Been Saying It
You say #ThisIsNotUs but it is. We've been saying it, you just choose to look away because it didn't directly affect you.— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) August 12, 2017
4. Every White Person
Every white person that tweets #ThisIsNotUs is being complicit in not addressing the rampant racism and bigotry that in their community— blush busan (@melaninbarbie) August 12, 2017
5. Messages Of Love And Hope
6. What America Have You Been Living In
7. Built On Black Slavery
#thisisnotUS? What kind of BS... America was founded on massive genocide of Native American and built on black slavery and....oh nevermind— Mariah Linam (@mariahlinam) August 12, 2017
8. We Know You Are Watching
Dear World,— Angela Belcamino (@AngelaBelcamino) August 12, 2017
We know you are watching...#ThisIsNotUS
9. We Can Do Better
10. Wearing Rose-Colored Glasses
The #ThisIsNotUS is a fantastic reality check for fools wearing rose-colored glasses.— Johnny Dangerously (@Enjoneer01) August 13, 2017
We have a LOT of work to do to make the tag true.
11. A Cop Out And A Lie
#ThisIsNotUs is a cop out and a lie. And there is more to our complicity than white silence. These are our systems & we must destroy them.— Olivia A. Cole (@RantingOwl) August 12, 2017
12. Spread Love
13. The Whole World Knows It
of course privileged rich white women would come up with the #thisisnotus, this has ALWAYS been America and the whole world knows it— nae (@naejasme) August 12, 2017
14. Looks A Lot Like America To Me
15. The Worst Hashtag Of The Week
16. Blame Shift And Exonerate
Hashtags like #thisisnotus only work to blame shift and exonerate "the good whites" who believe themselves immune from white supremacy— Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) August 13, 2017
17. I'm Not In The Mood
#ThisIsNotUS Except that it is folks. We have never fully dealt with racism and its ills. Im not in the mood for this Kumbaya right now.— Tina-Desiree Berg (@TinaDesireeBerg) August 12, 2017
On the whole, it seems like the divide was between people who wanted to express optimism (as well as distance themselves from the awfulness of the day's events) with people calling for a more honest, thorough, unvarnished look at how racism and white supremacy both founded and shaped the United States. And after the events of this weekend, it seems hard to argue with the latter perspective.