A video in which a White man held up a Black Lives Matter Sign in what he calls "America's Most Racist Town" has captured the attention of many on the internet for the shocking racism the sign inspired—as well as the video's surprise ending.
YouTuber Rob Bliss shot his video in Harrison, Arkansas, a small town of 13,000 people in the Ozark region of the state that is home to the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan.
So, the virulent racism hurled at Bliss for simply holding a sign is perhaps not surprising, but it is nonetheless shocking.
WARNING: video contains NSFW language
Holding a Black Lives Matter Sign in America's Most Racist Town youtu.be
It is, of course, impossible to measure what is actually "America's Most Racist Town," but if you were looking for one to fit the bill, Harrison certainly does.
Bliss' video opens with a photo of him holding the BLM sign underneath a billboard advertising "WhitePrideRadio dot com" and "AltRightTV dot com," which gives an indication of the sort of town Harrison has become over the years.
In addition to hosting the KKK's headquarters, Harrison is also home to Kingdom Identity Ministries, a White supremacist religious group. And the town, which is over 95% White and less than 1% Black, was the site of race riots in the 1900s that all but drove Black people entirely out of the town.
Throughout the video Bliss is called a traitor to his race, with several people yelling "All lives matter" and a few even explicitly saying that Black lives do not.
One woman went so far as to say:
"Fu*k Black lives, and I have Black friends."
In the caption for his YouTube video, Bliss says he was even threatened with legal action.
"Throughout filming I received threats of legal action by racists who don't want to be exposed and want to see this video removed."
However, at the end of his video, Bliss has an encounter with a White woman that gives reason for optimism, even in Harrison.
The young woman slips Bliss a note, which reads:
"Ignore the haters, you're being peaceful, what your [sic] doing is good, just a friendly reminder."
"Don't give up hope."
But on Reddit, where the video appeared in the PublicFreakout subReddit, many were saddened and disturbed.
"I feel so f'king sad for that little kid at the end. What a place to grow up while trying to be a decent person." --I_digress
"'F'k Black lives, and I have Black friends!' What the actual f'k? Somehow I doubt she has any person of color in her life." --wpcodemonkey
"I'd wager if it was a Black man holding that sign, he wouldn't have walked out of town." --CapableProfessional
While a few couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculously so many people in the video behaved.
"How much moving-vehicle-racist-soliloquy do you have to do to become a master?"
"Is it 10,000 hours like mastering the trombone?" --AirportHomeless
"I loved the guy that started the tired 'You know, the Irish...' and was cut off." --Rafaeliki
"Gotta hand it to them, those racists have perfected yelling out the window of a moving car. The one dude @1:41 executed half a paragraph..." --explosiv_skull
"Wait, did the 'be back in ten minutes' guy come back?"
"Collective IQ of that town is somewhere around room temperature." --Randomdaveness
But, like Bliss seems to, some others felt hopeful.
"the ending made me feel hopeful" --ravsta8
"Of course it was a young person as well. The rest of these people will be seen as cultural artifacts in a decade."
"Just like how we look back on the racist Whites in the 60s. They're going to lose, which is why they're so pissed." --TrumpGUILTY
"It's probably partially because they grew up there that they are decent."
"Nothing opens a kids eyes like growing up somewhere where most of the adults very obviously suck."
"It's the rich kids who are blind to the fact that the adults around them suck who I'm worried about." --tiedyetoothpicks
"She is the true quiet majority Trump yells about.
"They are the ones who will change the world for the better." --Nice_Try_Mod
That's a great thing to remember.
No matter how much it sometimes appears to be otherwise, there are more people on the right side of history than the wrong one.