Black Farmer Slams Lib Protesters: ‘Assuming Race Problem Has Nothing to Do With Them’

May 25th, 2017 3:52 PM

In southern Virginia, racial tensions are simmering over the fate of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue. But one local African American farmer is not with the liberal protestors; in fact, he thinks they’re a big part of the problem.

When white supremacist leader Richard Spencer led a rally in Lee Park, a “Love Trumps Hate” group counter-rallied. Afterwards, Chris Newman, owner of Sylvanaqua Farms, took to Facebook with a brutally honest wake-up call for the progressive protestors.  

“I know some folks are really feeling themselves about this whole Love Trumps Hate counter-rally to Richard Spencer's punch-worthy shenanigans in Lee Park,” he began, according to Huffington Post’s senior culture writer Zeba Blay. “I'd like to appreciate it, but frankly I just don't.”

After describing some of the racial profiling he has faced, Newman noted that it wasn’t “Richard Spencer calling the cops on me for farming while Black.” Instead, he pointed out, “it’s nervous White women in yoga pants with ‘I’m with Her’ and ‘Coexist’ stickers on their German SUVs.”

Accusing downtown Charlottesville business owners of cultural appropriation, the farmer questioned: “Do you really think that problem comes from people like Richard Spencer?”

“Truth is, as a Black dude, I'm far less bothered by the [Confederate] flag wavers in this picture than this town's progressives assuming its race problem has nothing to do with them,” Newman concluded in his now-viral post. “The former is a visual inconvenience. The latter could leave my daughters without a father.”

When CBS affiliate Newsplex interviewed the farmer, he stressed that the protests themselves did not bother him. "It was the back-patting that was going on afterwards,” he explained, “the 'we confronted racism.' There's a difference between confronting racists and racism.”

Debate surrounding the Lee statue’s removal has sparked a variety of responses, sometimes counterintuitive ones.

Yesterday, Charlottesville’s progressive mayor, Michael Signer, penned an op-ed in The Washington Post explaining why he voted “no” on removing the Charlottesville statue.

After organizing a commission to gauge public sentiment on the issue, Signer found that many African Americans opposed removal because, as the commission’s report stated, it would “be yet another example of hiding their experience.”

One black leader emphasized the importance of Confederate statues for their use as “teachable moments.”

“The history of racial oppression in America is horrific, but it is our history,” Signer stressed. “An effort to excise from our public spaces all who were implicated in the oppression of African Americans would be a slippery slope.”

Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy echoed Newman’s sentiments, telling CBS correspondent Jan Crawford that there were still “lots of issues in regards to race here in this community.” However, he disagreed with Signer about the fate of the statue. As one of the African-American activists leading the fight for removal, Bellamy believes that the “symbol of white supremacy” has no place in Charlottesville.

But like the liberal protestors Newman called out, Bellamy himself might be part of the problem. Despite his recent comments, the vice mayor’s history of racially-tinged tweets suggests that the issues are deep-rooted.  

But CBS purposefully minimized his past by shifting the blame for Bellamy’s tweets to his opponents, who brought the vulgarities to light.   

“Supporters of the statue unearth crude tweets written by Bellamy as a younger man,” Crawford noted, “and he also was targeted with death threats, but Bellamy feels his fight is justified.”

For now, the fate of the statue is unknown. After a 3-2 vote to remove it, a Virginia judge agreed to a temporary injunction, allowing the general to keep his watch over Lee Park for six months more.

In the interim, let us hope that the media gives fair coverage to all sides of the debate.