In The Charlottesville Rally's Aftermath, Obama Quoted Nelson Mandela

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin."

Following a tragedy, it can be hard to find the words that both sum up one's response and — somehow — find a way to take halting steps forward. Former president Barack Obama has been in the unfortunate position of searching for those words many times over the years, and this time, he chose someone else's.

Unite The Right, a white nationalist rally, turned violent today in Charlottesville, leading directly to one death. (Two police officers also died in a helicopter crash southwest of the city, but it is not yet clear what caused the crash.)

Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, right-wing militia members, and the alt-right united under a common banner in the Virginia town this weekend to protest the planned removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Carrying Confederate flags and tiki torches, the group chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans while marching, according to Vox.

Politicians, current and former, weighed in one after another on Twitter, most condemning both the violence and the ideology behind the rally. Obama's own response consisted of a Nelson Mandela quote from the Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-apartheid activist's autobiography Long Walk to Freedom.

As Obama's social media team seems to suggest by presenting the quote with minimal context, it speaks for itself:

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

Cover image via The White House / Flickr.


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