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D.C. Metro Handled White Supremacists Exactly the Wrong Way by Protecting Them in Separate Train Car

unite the right 2, nazis, racist, white supremacists, washington dc, charlottesville

Leading up to a planned white supremacist rally this weekend, Washington D.C. had to figure out how to prepare the city for what was expected to be a large, potentially violent gathering. The board chair of the Metro floated one particularly bad idea, suggesting the public transit service set aside a dedicated train for white supremacists.

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The backlash was immediate. The Metro union workers—80% of whom are people of color—threatened a boycott. The Metro issued a statement saying they wouldn’t be following through with the idea. “To be absolutely clear,” it read, “Metro is not preparing a ‘special train’ for the private use of any group.”

And then they went and did it anyway.

A gate at the Vienna station was closed to the general public, and one entire car, complete with a police escort, was reserved just for rally organizer Jason Kessler, other neo-Nazis, and the press. A Metro rep told HuffPost that this was not their decision, but “a law enforcement matter.” The Metro’s union says the WMATA lied to the public.

Making all of this even worse is the fact that the large crowd that was expected on the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville failed to show up. No more than a couple dozen white supremacists attended the rally, compared with several hundred counter-protestors who came out.

Leading up to the event, prominent neo-Nazis explained why they wouldn’t be attending. Basically, they were scared—not just scared of violence, but over the past year, attendees of the original Unite the Right rally have been sued, have been fired from their jobs, and have lost platforms like Twitter and YouTube accounts. These people are learning that it is not safe to wear your racism publicly.

So that makes it especially infuriating that the D.C. Metro went to such great lengths to make sure they did feel safe. If every city refused to use taxpayer-funded resources on protecting groups gathering for the sole purpose of spewing hate and bigotry, they definitely wouldn’t feel so welcome. Rather than designate a train for the benefit of racists, why not insist they supply their own protection services? Why extend to them these special accommodations that definitely aren’t shown to all other groups?

(image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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