A black farmer is using social media to tackle the issue of race relations in Charlottesville, Virginia, and you won't believe who he’s calling out.
Chris Newman, who owns the Sylvanaqua Farms in Albemarle County, posted a message on Facebook discussing his thoughts on the “Love Trumps Hate” protest, which took place in Charlottesville on Saturday. The demonstration was billed as a counter-protest to an event led by white nationalist Richard Spencer opposing the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
“I’d like to appreciate it, but frankly I just don’t,” Newman said of the left-wing counter-protest.
“Charlottesville is by far the most aggressively segregated place I’ve ever lived in or visited," he added on Facebook. "And that seems a strange thing to have to say about a town that hosts a public university.”
Newman added that while Charlottesville concerns itself with removing Confederate statues in some grand public gesture, the city's actual racial problems aren't being solved. Newman claimed he's had run-ins with the police after coincidentally getting “a strange look from a passerby," and the situation's not being caused by right-wing extremists.
“It isn’t Richard Spencer calling the cops on me for farming while Black. It’s nervous white women in yoga pants with ‘I’m with Her’ and ‘Coexist’ stickers on their German SUV’s," Newman said, adding that local business are making huge profits off incorporating hip hop into their branding while not having any black owners, partners, employees, or vendors.
"Truth is, as a Black dude, I'm far less bothered by the flag wavers in this picture than this town's progressives assuming its race problem has nothing to do with them. The former is a visual inconvenience. The latter could leave my daughters without a father," he said.
Newman then asked, “Do you really think that problem comes from people like Richard Spencer?”
The farmer also took aim at the Charlottesville weekly Instagram feed, pointing out that the depictions of black people on the town’s page were “limited to sports, singing, criminal justice, or single parenthood," while whites were “represented as political activists, chefs, cogs in the gig economy, musicians, dancers, people who get married, visual artists, songwriters, architects, landscapers, thespians, artistic directors, wedge-heel-wearing rugby players, dog lovers, farmers, firefighters, and people who play with their kids in cul de sacs."
Newman's post has been shared over 7,000 times and counting, and has received thousands of reactions from Facebook users. His point is simple: Attacking outspoken racists is easy, but recognizing your own contributions to a problem like the racial divide, not so much. It’s not enough to pat yourself on the back for attacking someone who you ardently believe is wrong. It takes way more courage to understand what you could be doing as an individual to improve race relations in your own community.
Check out Newman's post for yourself here: