Farmer goes viral for reaction to Lee protests and racism in Charlottesville

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Racial tensions and emotions have been running high in the city of Charlottesville. It all stems from a torch rally over Confederate statues, led by a white supremacist in Lee Park.

An Albemarle County farmer reacted to recent protests on social media, shedding light on the racial divide and what it's like being black in Charlottesville.

The Facebook post, called "A Message to Charlottesville About Lee Park from your Local Black Farmer," has now gone viral.

"There's a kind of discomfort that I discovered with blackness," said Chris Newman.

Newman has his hands full at Sylvanaqua Farms in Earlysville. Each day he's moving, feeding and providing water to animals, but found time to share his thoughts on recent protests at Lee Park.

"The thing that bothered me wasn't so much the protest itself," said Newman. "It was the back-patting that was going on afterwards, the 'we confronted racism.' There's a difference between confronting racists and racism."

Also, in the post, Newman shares the experiences he's encountered as a local black farmer.

"The whole purse clutching, cross the street, sideways glance kind of racism that you encounter on a day-to-day basis," said Newman. "I think they're on the whole statistically, more dangerous than the Richard Spenser flag waving, hood-wearing kind of racism."

Newman says it's not Spenser calling the cops on him. It's the people he refers to as 'Nervous white women in yoga pants with the 'I'm With Her' and 'Coexist' stickers on their German SUVs."

He says that reference to women is not a stereotype, and he's speaking from real-life incidents that have happened to him more than a dozen times.

"She gave me that look," said Newman. "Let's start the countdown for when the cops show up, and low and behold that's exactly what happened."

He says he's been racially profiled by these women so many times that he's stopped making food deliveries in certain wealthy neighborhoods.

"You can tell they're like does this guy match the description," said Newman. "I know to smile and give them the non-threatening black guy kind of thing, but all it really takes is for one of us to have a bad day and I could end up another tragedy in the street."

Having lived in several cities across America and visited numerous countries, Newman considers himself a well-cultured man. Through his many travels, he says in the Facebook post that "Charlottesville is by far the most aggressively segregated place he's ever lived."

"We're at attaboy status," said Newman. "They say we've confronted racism, no we haven't! Especially in a city, a place like this, where you can just see the divide with your own eyes. You're in a place where you don't necessarily belong and that's part of what I mean when I'm talking about segregation. When I'm in a certain neighborhood where the housing values are at a certain level, you just don't expect black people to be there."

He says there's not enough mingling among races and part of that is because black people aren't portrayed a "whole people." He says the race as whole gets 'pigeon holed' into specific areas, like sports, entertainment, criminal justice, and single parenthood, which takes away from the whole-being aspect.

Newman admits he doesn't have the magic answer to fix the problems, but his post has done some good. He says the feedback on his post has been overwhelmingly positive and that it's forced people to have a 'gut check' and learn something. He adds he loves Charlottesville and is rooting for the city.

The post has received more than 7,000 likes and nearly 5,000 shares, as of last check Wednesday.

To view the full post written by Newman, click the link in the Related Links box.

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