How to Do and Not Do a Counter-Protest

A white supremacist group held an anti-immigration rally in Charlotte, North Carolina over the weekend and they were met by a delightful counter-protest by a bunch of people dressed in clown suits — a group much larger than the racist group, apparently.

Members of the National Socialist Movement joined the Ku Klux Klan for an anti-immigration rally at Old City Hall on West Trade Street, but the counter-protesters outnumbered them at least five to one.

Instead of shouting, the protesters used squeaky toys, whistles, and noisemakers to drown out the amplified speeches. Many dressed as clowns.

When the speakers talked about “White Power,” the protesters sprinkled white flour. Another held a sign reading “Wife Power.”

They said they wanted to make a point that racism is ridiculous.

“The message from us is, you look silly,” said Lacey Williams, the youth coordinator for Charlotte’s Latin American Coalition. “We’re dressed like clowns and you’re the ones that look funny.”

The only thing I don’t like about this is the attempt to drown out the protest with louder noise, though I assume that since the police didn’t do anything about it the noise must not have been very high. But I love the clown idea. It reminds me of the protest against the Fred Phelps cult by people at a comic book convention a while back. Pointing and laughing at them is more effective than anger, I think.

26 comments on this post.
  1. Ben P:

    White Flour!

  2. Gregory in Seattle:

    When the racists complain about being ridiculed, can we start chanting “Whine power!”

  3. Marcus Ranum:

    Finally a political use for the vuvuzela!

  4. Marcus Ranum:

    Whine power!

    White whine!
    Bottoms up!

  5. dingojack:

    Marcus Ranum – you Chardonnay-sipping liberal you. (Try a South Australian 2000 Merlot, you won’t regret it).
    Dingo

  6. eric:

    For reference, here is one story covering the Phelps’ Comic-Con appearance.

    Some of the juxtapositions are fairly witty. Bender was good. ‘Thor #5′ instead of ‘John 3:16′ also quite amusing.

  7. busterggi:

    Clowns?!

    Now those are really evil & scary!

  8. Marcus Ranum:

    Marcus Ranum – you Chardonnay-sipping liberal you.

    Actually, white whines give me headaches. So do white wines. I appear to drink a lot of burly reds, mostly Zins, judging from the bottle-level in the basement supply.

    White Pine!

  9. D. C. Sessions:

    South Australian Merlots are indeed nummy. But so are the Shiraz varietals.

    Neither really competes (IMHO) with a well-aged eat-with-a-spoon Zin, though.

  10. A Hermit:

    “We’re dressed like clowns and you’re the ones that look funny.”

    Never underestimate the power of mockery.

    And guys? Don’t make me post that Monty Python bit about the Australian wines…

  11. Gregory in Seattle:

    @A Hermit #10 – Are you wining again?

    A co-worker read Ed’s post and wanted to know if the clowns were in white face. Because that would mean, you know, “White powder!”

  12. F:

    Wipe our…!

    I have to imagine the National Socialists are the sort who aren’t socialists at all but the sort who are copying, for identity reasons, those who just took the name from the party they co-opted, like the NSDAP.

  13. Bronze Dog:

    I remember reading about another counter-protest that did this a while back. Glad to see a repeat performance.

  14. augustpamplona:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cCiuZanl_4

  15. augustpamplona:

    I should have added that it’s a clip from That Mitchell and Webb Look.

  16. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    The only thing I don’t like about this is the attempt to drown out the protest with louder noise – Ed Brayton

    Why? It’s not the government doing it – it’s decent people outraged at fucking Nazis: you know – people who want to murder millions of your fellow-citizens. You’re just fucking ridiculous sometimes, Brayton.

  17. skeptifem:

    HOT SHOWER!

  18. Abby Normal:

    The White Power Ranger is my niece’s favorite.

  19. imthegenieicandoanything:

    “A little song, a little dance! A little seltzer in THEIR pants!”

  20. dogmeat:

    Why? It’s not the government doing it – it’s decent people outraged at fucking Nazis: you know – people who want to murder millions of your fellow-citizens. You’re just fucking ridiculous sometimes, Brayton.

    Nick,

    I would argue, and I think Ed would agree, that simply drowning out someone’s speech is counter-productive, even damaging to the message that the content of that speech is garbage. While replying to shouts of “white power” with “white powder” is one thing, simply drowning out their (admittedly garbage) speech then justifies anyone who wants to silence speech. We’re better off letting hateful slimeballs like these say their piece, mocking them (but not blocking them), and pointing out how stupid, hateful, and simple-minded they are. Stopping them from speaking, or drowning out their message grants their speech more value than it deserves.

  21. dingojack:

    A Hermit – that’s one for laying down and avoiding.
    Zin? Sounds like a particularly heavy wine that should only be used in hand-to-hand combat.
    (OK I’ll stop now)
    Dingo
    —–
    PS: augustpamplona – it’s not rocket science! (Sorry, one of my M&W favorites)

  22. paul:

    A children’s choir singing “In der Fuhrer’s Face”, complete with raspberries, would be a great counter-protest for a Nazi rally.

  23. skinnercitycyclist:

    I seem to remember a similar counter-protest from a few years ago, but did not find it in a cursory google search….

  24. caseloweraz:

    When the speakers talked about “White Power,” the protesters sprinkled white flour. Another held a sign reading “Wife Power.”

    They might also have held up sunflowers — “wide flower”.

  25. bradleybetts:

    Lol counter-protesting in costume is clearly the way forward. The comedy aspect is far superior to non-costumed-counter-protests (henceforth to be abbrieviated to CPIC and NCCP).

  26. bradleybetts:

    CPICFTW!

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