Everyone has been speaking about Charlottesville, VA lately after the awful, anti-semetic, hate march. It came up at the gaming group last weekend, and I think I said something wrong. I mentioned how I had family there. I validated that the city of Charlottesville is very blue politically and actually a great place. I could feel the side eye.
The thing is, it has been clear from numerous articles and otherwise that many of the hate groups and domestic terrorists came from elsewhere, not Charlottesville itself. At least not entirely. Let’s face it, no place is free of any type of personality/group. One of my aunts wisely told me, many years ago, that “No matter where you go, you will always encounter the same people, just with different faces.”
Similarly to my eventual point, recently a hate group ate at a local restaurant. There was a big to do because the staff were not comfortable and the owner supposedly made little of it and supported the patrons rather than the staff. I made note of this place and marked it on my “places to eat” map with a note to NEVER go there.
I can see already in the Jewish community the general consensus to not go to Charlottesville, or Virginia at all. The owner of that restaurant made a very public apology and donated a significant amount to charities that were the opposite of the hate group; but I haven’t removed my notation to never eat there.
I wonder how knee jerk and how long our personal and communal memories are and how that will impact other communities. If someone never visited Charlottesville, VA because of this horrid march they would be missing out on great food, history (that is presented accurately and neutrally unlike other areas of the state and South), and amazing views of the Blue Ridge mountains – not to mention some awesome people and their hospitality. The fact it now has been tainted by people who don’t even live there, but happened to use it as a stage is so damaging.
I don’t know if there is a solution. Well, other than waving a magic wand to make the country less divisive, more tolerant, self self centered, and more educated in some instances. :\ I guess I’ll just have to do my part to bring reality/neutral/facts where I can and to be more educated and open minded myself.