A small group of white nationalists stormed a bookstore in Washington, D.C., to protest an event for a book on racial politics and how it’s impacting lower- and middle-class white Americans.
The group stormed the Politics and Prose bookstore on Saturday afternoon, interrupting a scheduled talk by Jonathan Metzl, a professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University who released his book “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland” this spring.
Videos filmed by those in attendance showed the group standing in a line before the audience chanting, “This land is our land.” At least one man was yelling white nationalist propaganda into a megaphone while people in the bookstore booed him.
The man identified the group as “identitarians,” a far-right white nationalist group which is linked to Identity Evropa, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as an extremist group.
Catherine Wigginton, who tweeted a video of the brief chaos, said she was “impressed” with how Metzl handled the interruption.
“Does anyone want to process that before I get back to what I was saying,” she tweeted, recalling his reaction after the white nationalists left.
Metzl, who is also the director for Vanderbilt’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society, was speaking at the bookstore for an Independent Bookstore Day event.
I’ll add how impressed I was with @JonathanMetzl and his grace and poise after they left: “Does anyone want to process that before I get back to what I was saying?”— Catherine Wigginton (@cewigginton) April 27, 2019
The bookstore protest happened on the same day a 19-year-old white supremacist opened fire on a synagogue in Poway, California, before a Passover celebration, killing one woman and injuring three others, including one young girl.
Before the attack, the shooter posted an eight-page manifesto online boasting about his “European ancestry” and expressing his hatred of Jewish people.
The bookstore protest ended without injury or damage, The Washington Post reported.
Professor Metzl.— Dave Straw (@StrawDave) April 28, 2019
I thought you might like to see the image I took with my cell phone at this afternoon's event at Politics and Prose. Good luck on future events, may they be quiet and contemplative ! Dave Straw; my email is firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/WZotWI9XQQ
Metzl told NBC Washington that before the protest broke out he was speaking to a man who had helped Metzl’s father and grandfather flee Nazi Austria.
“Not five minutes before, I had acknowledged him and said this is how great America can be when it is bold and generous,” Metzl recalled to NBC.
He told the Post that the incident was “very symbolic for me.”
“In case anybody’s wondering what’s happening right now, they’re illustrating my point,” he said.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.