They say fight hate with love and a beautiful representation of it in action is when a black protester embraced a neo-Nazi, asking him ‘Why don’t you like me, dog?’.
A man wearing a swastika adorned t-shirt found himself surrounded by a crowd of anti-Nazi protestors who screamed, punched and spat on him before 31-year-old Aaron Courtney decided to give him a hug.
Courtney expressed how he thought a hug could change the world and instead of meeting hate with hate, he confronted neo-Nazi, Randy Furniss, with warmth and affection.
— Politics 4 Dummies (@Politics4dum) October 19, 2017
Speaking to the New York Daily News on Friday, Courtney said:
I could have hit him, I could have hurt him … but something in me said, ‘You know what? He just needs love.’ Maybe he never met an African-American like this.
It’s a step in the right direction. One hug can really change the world. It’s really that simple.
The event took place outside the speech of white supremacist, Richard Spencer, who called for ‘peaceful ethnic cleansing’ and supposedly coined the racist Alt-right movement.
Courtney said he wasn’t aware of who Spencer was until he received a state of emergency notification on his phone on Monday because the far right rallies have a history of breaking out into deadly violence.
I found out about what kind of person he was and that encouraged me, as an African-American, to come out and protest, because this is what we’re trying to avoid. It’s people like him who are increasing the distance … between people.
I had the opportunity to talk to someone who hates my guts and I wanted to know why? During our conversation, I asked him, ‘Why do you hate me? What is it about me? Is it my skin color? My history? My dreadlocks?
After beating around the bush, and avoiding my questions, I asked him, I pleaded with him, I almost broke out in tears, growing increasingly angry because I didn’t understand?
I reached over and the third time, he wrapped his arms around me, and I heard God whisper in my ear, ‘You changed his life.’
Furniss resisted answering Courtney’s question, but finally answered ‘I don’t know?’.
After Furniss was moved away by the police, he took a photo with Courtney’s friend and Courtney said it was a ‘step in the right direction, for him to take a picture with a guy that he hated when he woke up this morning’.
It’s inspiring to see someone fighting against the hypocrisy of fighting hate with more hate, just in the opposite direction.
Hugs can change the world!