How about a thought experiment? Let's say you are trying to avoid going to this person's party; it's someone you don't like at all, and her name is - oh, I don't know - Hillary. Hillary's having a party, okay? And you can't stand her, or her party, and for whatever reason the only alternative you feel you have is to go to this other guy's party where they're all going to wear white hoods and burn a cross on someone's lawn.
You think it's a stupid idea.
"I'm not into cross burnings, okay? I just don't want to go to that other damn party." That's what you tell your friends. And maybe you mean it.
But there you are, milling around on someone's front lawn next to a giant Confederate flag and a flaming cross while someone is shouting white power slogans through a bullhorn. You find out the next day that several members of your group beat up the homeowner inside.
"It's not my group though." That's what you're saying. You didn't shout the slogans. You didn't throw that rock through the window, or anything. You're a good person, right? All you did was pick Choice B, because Choice A was that awful party Hillary had, and because you somehow thought you had to decide between the two of them.
Hundreds Of People Terrorize Area Man - that's what the headline says the next day, and the local chapter of the KKK reposts it to intimidate people and to drum up support. And maybe you don't trust the media - I mean, who does? - but they have a point in describing it this way. A racist mob is a racist mob. The mob's sheer size is part of its fearsome power. And it doesn't matter if some of those people had very good excuses to join, or had some qualms about what exactly the mob was doing... or maybe even initially criticized the mob's organizer before joining in. It doesn't matter if some of those people don't think they are actually racists at all.
No. If you're part of a racist mob, you're a racist.
It's that simple.
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