If you were looking for neo-nazis, white supremacists, and MAGA hats at Saturday’s alt-right rally in Freedom Plaza, you would have been partly right. There was no shortage of MAGA hats and who’s to say whether any of the ralliers were neo-nazis or skinheads. But if you think alt-right means alt-white, think again. There was also no shortage of people of color among the couple hundred that gathered in the shadow of the Washington Capitol in the name of free speech. They wore their MAGA hats with pride and brandished Trump flags with no shame.
There were the usual cast of characters. There also wasn’t a lack of the venomous rhetoric you would expect to denounce the liberal media and the Antifa rally taking place a mere few hundred feet across the street at Pershing Park. That’s not to say there wasn’t an equally boisterous crowd in Perching Park denouncing the police through chants of “Fuck the Police” and “Fuck 12”. 14th Street served as the DMZ separating these two foes. However, the story of the day was the ease at which people of color moved about the alt-right rally, even at times taking on Antifa ralliers who either entered the DMZ or wandered into the alt-right rally.
The lesson of the day? Be careful of the images and stereotypes we create. They can be dangerous as we pigeon-hole people based on our presumptions of what we think their politics are or should be. Alt-right doesn’t always mean alt-white. In fact, someone you know might have a MAGA hat in their closet.