I hope you took a long hard look at the pictures above. I hope that they scared you. I hope that they infuriated you. I hope that they made you ashamed for the state of our country. And not because of what the ‘blacks’ have done to our country. Because of what the whites have done to our country. To their own neighbors. I hope that today you are ashamed to be a white person. What is happening in Charlottesville and all over this country is despicable and disgusting and we should be ashamed of ourselves as a people. Today I am truly ashamed to be a white person. There is no pride here. Pride is for people who have done something good. Pride is for people who have treated others with dignity and respect and actually tried to understand and accept others that are different than they are. No there is no pride here. There is only sadness and anger.
I should start by saying that I am a Pisces. I carry the burdens of the world on my shoulders in true Pisces fashion and today the core of my being is truly saddened. My spirit is burdened and I cannot seem to shake it. I wish that I could un-know the series of events that has transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia over the past two days. I wish that I didn’t have to wake up this morning in a state of hurting and despair for our country. But I cannot. And I should not. As a white person it is my responsibility to address it. Look it in the eye and accept that this is our country. And it has been our country for some time. Racism is alive and well in this great nation of ours and until white people will speak that out loud and shine light onto it, there will be no change.
“This Is OUR Country”
A great portion of the white population is surprised that this kind of racism still exists in this country. It is because they assumed that it all died during the civil rights era of the 50’s and 60’s and that it simply went away and has truly been gone. Because I live in the rural south, I have always been aware that it was alive and well, though. I see it. I hear it. I experience it. On a frequent basis. As a liberal and a decent human being, I try to rail against it. But even I have been remiss in my efforts and have tended to overlook more than I should have. I overlooked the vehement racism of my grandfather because ‘he was born in a different time’. I overlooked every time a white person told me a story and said “there was this black guy/girl and blah blah blah”. I overlooked every time I heard a white person say “I’m not racist but….”. That was wrong and I cannot go back to make it right. I can only make the correct actions going forward. And I intend to. The circumstances surrounding Charlottesville over the past two days have made that evident to me now.
All white people who are of sound mind and understanding must take concerted action to expose bias and racism and shame it publicly. We must not give a pass to any racist for any reason. Ever. There is never a circumstance where being a racist is okay. Where it is excusable. It is vile and disgusting and as a people we are beyond it. Science has dispelled any concern that a racist my have over their ‘betterness’ than anyone else. Religion has also dispelled any concern over the ‘betterness’ of anyone else. Radical ideology is the only link that still exists to racism. Mommas and Daddies teaching children through words and actions that they are better than another race or group of people simply because of how they were born. The color of their skin. And the notion of that is ridiculous and damaging to our society and the future of our country and the world. The actions in Charlottesville are savage. They are civil war-esque and they look like something out of a horror movie. The time to take action was yesterday. But since we have allowed this ugly situation to fester and leak out into the mainstream, it is imperative that we stop it. And we must not sit back and let the marginalized people fight this fight on their own. We must not turn a blind eye while other people suffer. We are all one people and we should behave that way. We should expose racists because there really are racists in all walks of life.
Every racist marcher in Charlottesville is a father, a son, and an employee. They are living among us but they are radical terrorists. They are no better than those who have joined ISIS. They are Nazis who need to be persecuted as such.
They need to be shown that we as a nation will not tolerate hate publicly or privately. The things that they hold dear like their employment and their benefits and their right to bear arms need to be threatened due to their impaired mental capacity. Would we not agree that someone who wished to join ISIS should be locked up? Well why then would we allow a radical Nazi terrorist to continue to roam free on our own soil? Why would we allow them to influence our children or impact our society with their voting rights when they themselves do not subscribe to a line of thinking that is in line with the values of our great country? I realize that this is an extreme line of thinking. It is an unpopular line of thinking. But so, too, is running into a crowd of protesters with your car because you feel like you are better than them because your skin is white. So, too, is fighting in the streets to take back your rights and your country when there is nothing at all at stake. African American people have no desire to take anything from white people. White people are not in jeopardy of losing anything if they should love and respect an African American person. It is a demented line of thinking and should be treated as a psychiatric disorder. Because that’s what it is. Racists are indoctrinated into this line of thinking from the time that they are born and should be treated as mentally unstable just as cult members are treated.
I’ve talked about the power of rhetoric in great detail but I think that it bears repeating once more. Our President has given a powerful message to these types of people. He has made it okay to hate and okay to discriminate. He has told our people that we are better than others. That we deserve more. That we are worthy of more. We are not. We are human beings just like every other human being in every other country on this planet. However, by allowing this us-versus-them mentality to work its way to the mainstream, it has opened the floodgates for that same mentality right here at home. Trump’s base of supporters sees itself as better than others. It sees itself as worthy of more than people that it doesn’t understand. Than people that are different. So no, I will not accept the President’s veiled remarks condemning the violence in Charlottesville because he is partially at fault here. He speaks so strongly against North Korean aggression. Against ISIS aggression. Where are those strong and pointed remarks against racist aggression? Why is he not threatening the racists the way that he is threatening the leaders of these other terrorist groups? Why did it take him so long to speak against the views of former KKK leader David Duke? Why did Trump claim to “know nothing” of white supremacists? Perhaps Trump’s claim to “know nothing” about white supremacists echoes the language of the 19th-century “Know Nothing” party which was a nativist group that supported only Protestants for public office. Perhaps it was a message to these hateful groups of people that their leader had arrived and was a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Either way, it is worth noting that our President is partially to blame for all of this and with each passing moment that he politely condemns the behavior, he continues to accept it and do what most white people have done forever…turn a blind eye to it. And so, too, does he continue to tell these people that it is okay to feel the way that they do and that there is a place for that kind of radical ideology in our country.
So today I encourage each and every one who reads this to stand in solidarity with all other truly marginalized people. I encourage white people to build a bridge with your African American friends and neighbors and coworkers. Show them that we, as white people, do not condone this behavior and that now more than ever we are going to fight the long and hard fight against racism right alongside them. I would also encourage you to volunteer or go to marches to show your support for Civil Rights and for equality. And most of all, when the time comes and you see or hear racism happening around you, call it out. Shine light on it so that it may be exposed and so that the person perpetrating it may experience shame. Start conversations with racists about why they feel the way that they do and try to expose their biases to them in a way that will truly reveal the origins of it. Try to bring the conversation to a place where they understand that they believe these things because they have been brainwashed to believe them. These conversations will be difficult and over the coming months and years I will have many of them myself. But without unearthing the root cause of this epidemic, we will never destroy it. It will continue to lurk in the shadows and true equality and peace will never happen in our country. That’s not a price that I’m willing to pay to avoid an uncomfortable conversation and you shouldn’t be either.