Between August 11 and 12, 2017, several neo-Nazi, white nationalist, alt-right, and far-right groups protested against the removal of Confederate memorabilia – namely the Robert Edward Lee Sculpture in Emancipation Park – by gathering at the University of Virginia with torches and chanting slogans mostly equated to the likes of Nazi Germany.

Some phrases include “White Lives Matter,” “You will not replace us,” “Jews will not replace us,” and the actual Nazi slogan, “Blood and Soil.” Not surprisingly, the rally turned militant quickly, or perhaps it even started off that way, as unidentified militia carrying semi-automatic weapons entered the scene.

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It was reported that three have died and several were injured.

‘Unite the Right’

Despite what is certainly a series of unfortunate of events in Charlottesville, Virginia, it is very important to identify this incident within the appropriate history and context. The rally, called “Unite the Right” was actively discouraged by city officials who tried to move the meeting. This almost worked, until a federal judge reinstated the permit for its original location.

Allegedly, the ralliers initiated the ensuing violence. Co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Michael Payne told Al Jazeera that “the neo-Nazis surrounded [the students] with lit torches and started macing and beating [them].” David Duke, a nominee for the Louisiana congress and the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan presented a speech at the rally, expressing that it was meant to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

Without a doubt, the last election has created a larger division between Americans than ever before.

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This rally, it would seem, was the most obvious climax of all the current American political differences. And yet, despite its clear and violent intentions and outcomes, it was met with the least legislative resistance.

Double standards

Pictures and videos of the worsening riot littered the internet on the morning of its occurrence. None featured police in riot gear to minimize the situation, even after it was declared an “unlawful assembly.” Further, there were no arrests, save for the driver of the Dodge Challenger that sped through the crowds, resulting in severe injury and death. Instead, there was word out that the counter protesters– those against the rally– were being assaulted by police officers.

The response of the police seemed to be in direct contrast to the reaction of say Black Lives Matters protesters, who traditionally congregate over lost loved ones. it does not seem fair that law enforcement seems to have given white supremacists such undue latitude. At similar protests, when they are not shut down, Black people and their sympathizers are arrested and jailed for whatever reason.

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The most uninspiring truth in it all, nonetheless, is that Black Lives Matters is often considered a violent #Hate Group, rather than an empathetic cause with a well-stated platform and a mass-shared hashtag. Worse still, is that conservatives compare #Black Lives Matter to the Klu Klux Klan, not paying any particular attention to the obvious differences: the KKK murdered people and today continues to burden lives. Black Lives Matter protests against murder and other things that those types of extremists commonly incite and support.

Define violence

Needless to say, it is not only unfair, but ignorant to make these claims – as the KKK was actually a violent hate group, and BLM fights against state violence. Such baseless understandings of social movements are usually biased yet determine the community’s perception.

Time and time again, it seems that the most privileged groups have the benefit of defining society standards, violence, and how we react to violence. And the definition changes depending on who uses these words and what groups receive these attributions.

What happened in Charlottesville is nothing like Black Lives Matter, not in conviction nor rejoinder. Black Lives Matter is a Black cause which is not allowed the privilege necessary to be what white and right protests are and can be. Black lives will never stand in that same light, and would not wish to.