Why Don’t Some Lawmakers in Tennessee Want to Denounce White Nationalism and Neo-Nazis?

White supremacist groups rally in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., during the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, 2017.
Photo: Evelyn Hockstein (Washington Post via Getty Images)

If you live in Tennessee, you should be paying attention to what some of the lawmakers in your state are doing. Even if you don’t live in Tennessee, this is an important story to pay attention to. On Wednesday, legislators declined to pass a resolution that would denounce white nationalism and neo-Nazis in that state.

The Tennessean reports that the resolution—which was sponsored by Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville)—did not receive the second motion it needed so that it could be discussed in the House State Government Subcommittee.


Rep. Darren Jernigan of Old Hickory, Tenn., is the only Democrat on the subcommittee. He made the first motion on the resolution, but it was met with silence from the Republican members of the subcommittee.

Clemmons told The Tennessean after the meeting: “I’m in utter disbelief at what just happened. I didn’t think there was anything controversial about this resolution.”


Clemmons expected the resolution to be passed and placed on the House’s consent calendar.

The resolution was originally filed in the Tennessee General Assembly just days after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August. It stated that white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideologies “remain very real threats to social and racial progress” and called on law enforcement agencies not only to consider the groups “domestic terrorist organizations” but also to pursue criminal charges against these groups the same way they would other terrorist organizations.


Keep in mind that Shelbyville, Tenn., was the site of a “White Lives Matter” rally last fall that was attended by white nationalist demonstrators.


So why are some Republican lawmakers in Tennessee close-lipped on speaking out against these groups?

Tell me in the comments if you know why.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Monique Judge

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.