The UnFair Campaign that started a weeks ago was certain to attract the attention of various organizations focused on promoting the rights of White people. My first post received quite a few such comments, and Mayor Ness received death threats. It didn’t take long for a loosely organized demonstration to be organized. We heard early last week that White Supremacists were coming to town. The result was a bit surprising.
I’ve seen this before: the KuKluxKlan used to hold periodic events in my former home town. The first time they announced a rally, hundreds showed up to protest, it became ugly, and no one looked very good. A couple of years later, they came back and everyone decided to stay away except for a few curious students. They marched down the sidewalk across from my apartment; the straggly procession of 8 people with no one to watch was the most effective image.
We hoped for that here in Duluth. Organizers of the UnFair Campaign – and our College -urged people to stay away. They organized some community-focused activities instead. But the White Supremacists were met by a late winter snowstorm – and a volley of snowballs from a group protesting their presence. A shouting match ensued, and four of the protesters were taken into custody. No one came out looking very good.
I still have hopes that Duluth will find a way to talk about race and develop greater cross-race understanding and acceptance. The UnFair campaign still looks unwise to me. I am very glad that we are a city – and the protesters are a people – who don’t immediately turn to serious violence. Duluth may be the only place in the world with whimsy and imagination to throw snowballs for justice.