If you are Jewish, African American or Native American you may not be that surprised at the rally and protests in Charlottesville this past weekend. You are not surprised when white supremacists spew out their racism and anti-Semitism.
If you are Hispanic, Asian or of some other ethnicity you too know what it’s like to be denigrated by a segment of the American population. If it hasn’t happened to you, you probably know someone who has been rejected for being non-white (a term of derision itself). photo from yorkdispatch.com
If you are white and not Jewish, and have never, as far as you know, harbored or expressed white supremacist ideology, you may be somewhat surprised, even shocked that Klu Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to, in their rhetoric, “take America back.” The removal by the city of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was simply the trigger to rally for their larger cause.
Being white protects one from attack by white supremacists so we don’t think about it that much. It hasn’t touched us personally.
We know there are some crazies out there but we may not be aware of the extent to which their ideology has taken root and is growing in the current political soil. They have claimed common cause with Trumpism.
While being white is an advantage, it may also blind us to the presence of white supremacists among us promoting hatred toward people of color and of Jewish descent.
Charlottesville is a wake-up call. Public officials have condemned the violence – a car driven into the crowd of anti-supremacists by a 20-year old from Ohio killing one and wounding many others.
But the deeper violence, if not terrorism is within the white supremacist movement itself embedded in the society around us. People of color, of different ethnicities and Jews are meant to be terrorized, to be afraid and feel unwelcome.
Given our history, the rally in Charlottesville should not surprise us.
Do we have the courage to call out and resist the terror that white supremacists from across the country brought there?