Hugging as a protest tactic

As confrontations between neo-Nazi and white supremacists continue at various locations around the country, there was an interesting moment at the most recent one at the University of Florida where counter-protestors vastly outnumbered the neo-Nazis. For some reason, a white skinhead walked right into a crowd of counter-protestors and initially there was a fight where he was punched. But then this burly black guy enveloped the skinhead in a bear hug, holding him tightly and repeatedly saying “Give me a hug!”

I suspect that white supremacists and neo-Nazis do not like the idea of being hugged by black people. So facing the prospect of having platoons of large black men who might be designated huggers waiting for them might be far more disconcerting to them than being punched in the face.

It is kind of like the time in 1999 when Michael Moore organized a busload of gay men to descend on anti-gay rallies organized by the Westboro Baptist Church. These gay men would dress in flamboyant clothing and have fun right in the face of the church founder Fred Phelps and his church members who would quickly pack up their signs and get the hell out of there.


  1. says

    Um, I would not want to be hugging a nazi. If someone else wants to, I guess that’s okay, especially if you were planning on punching them.

    I also do not want to be on the receiving end of unsolicited hugs.

  2. Holms says

    The prospect of a fight is probably an attraction in the eyes of a fair number of that crowd. Hugging on the other hand is likely to be pure discomfort; I’m not surprised the want the former but not the latter.

  3. felicis says

    No -- a hug is not ‘assault’. Assault actually requires Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to another -- in general, you need intent (or reckless disregard for the consequences of your actions) and at least the threat of physical injury. Absent one or the other, it is not generally considered assault -- though the laws may vary from state to state (what is in the video would not be considered assault under the laws of Oregon or Washington -- cities do not generally have stand-alone assault laws separate from state law (I cannot find anything for Seattle).

    A hug _could_ be sexual assault under some laws, it _could_ be unlawful restraint under others. I think that absent a complaint from the hugee, you aren’t going to see anyone prosecuted for what we see in the video. Even then -- it is unlikely -- the best complaint would be unlawful detention -- if he had been trying to get away.

    The punch, however, is definitely assault -- probably 4th degree (OR/WA) -- maybe riot charges as well (OR/WA/US) -- again, intention or recklessness is a part of riot charges.

  4. Onamission5 says

    I still prefer the idea of turning Nazi rallies and marches into clown shows, although as the sister of someone with celiac I would request that any white flour thrown by aforementioned protest clowns be made from rice or another gluten free product.

  5. DanDare says

    The Nazis are invading the counter protester physical space. Being hugged is a non violent self defence move.


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