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Supreme Gesture

Claim:   Photograph shows a white supremacist activist surrounded by smiling blacks.

TRUE

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, July 2014]

Can anyone provide any info on this picture? First I read that it's a Klansman holding that sign surrounded by black people who clearly are not offended by him. Then I read that it's a former Marine. Without being able to clearly read the sign, it's hard to find context.

 

Origins:   This image of a white activist holding up a sign bearing an image of a confederate flag and the instruction "CELEBRATE YOUR WHITE HERITAGE" while surrounded by a crowd of seemingly friendly, smiling blacks was taken on 7 April 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana. Although the onlookers shown in the photograph appear good-natured in the moment, the white activist did not exactly receive a friendly reception for his efforts:
A crowd gathered on the Bloomington’s town square to protest against a white supremacist who was speaking in favor of "Southern Heritage and Confederate History."

The activist Thomas Buhls held a cardboard sign that had an image of a confederate flag and read "CELEBRATE YOUR WHITE HERITAGE." A crowd of protestors gathered closely around, using expletives to tell him to "go home" and "get out of Bloomington."

Several police officers and vehicles were present at the scene. No one was injured, but the group got heated when the Buhls tried to walk away and protestors would not let him leave, blocking his path and pushing him.

Buhls later started walking down Kirkwood toward the IU campus. The protestors followed him, and he was eventually taken away in a police car.

During the protest, Katie Thompson, a graduate student at IU, stood nearby wearing a black hoodie and holding a sign that read "LOVE IS THE ANSWER." She says neither side was behaving appropriately.

"If we are trying to fight against people being hateful to each other, the way to do that is not to be hateful to them," she says.

Last updated:   1 August 2014

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Sources:

    Frazeee, Gretchen.   "Bloomington Residents Protest Against White Supremacist."
    indianapublicmedia.org.   7 April 2012.