The past few days have been pretty terrible after white supremacists held a torch rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they chanted Nazi slogans as they marched onto campus. The next day, Heather Heyer was killed and numerous others were injured when a sentient bag of pig feces drove his car into people who were protesting a white nationalist rally.
The images of mostly young, well-to-do white men and women holding tiki torches while they threw Nazi salutes were both silly and terrifying.
It's fucking absurd that these people, who live lives of wealth and privilege unknown to most people, would see themselves as victims of anything other than boring yuppie fashion. It's also scary because this system was built to benefit them, and even the smallest gains for underprivileged groups or the removal of blatantly racist symbols are met with a loud, violent backlash.
Since Friday, my social media feeds have been filled with people denouncing this as un-American and wondering what to do about the emboldened white nationalist movement. The question of how one goes about fighting this resurgence is one that has many answers and contexts and knowing where to start can be discouraging.
That's why I'll keep it short this week and talk about just a couple of places where allies can begin in order to effectively fight against these trash bags and the hate they're trying to spread. This is definitely not meant to be comprehensive, so don't yell at me for forgetting something you feel I should have mentioned.
1. Stop saying this is un-American. This is very, very American.
If yourself or others are invoking the un-Americanness of the recent violence, ask if there was a period in American history where everyone was treated justly, had enough to eat and a shelter over their heads? Can't think of one? Me neither.
This country began with Native genocide and was built with African slave labor. The sooner you understand that violence against oppressed people is pretty standard in this country, the sooner you can stop distancing yourself from it, which allows you to say things like "That's not anyone I know," when in fact, it's more people than you think.
2. Don't expect Donald Trump to take any kind of significant action.
This problem existed well before Donald Trump came along, and isn't going to go away if he gets impeached or doesn't win reelection. The man spends all day on Twitter flirting with nuclear war, comments on women's appearances and eats well-done steak, what kind of leadership do you expect from him?
Look to your communities in order to make meaningful changes instead of pleading for a man, who probably spends more time tanning than he does working, to do the right thing. He's not going to be the one to make this change happen, you are.
I could keep going, and going, and going, but I said I'd make it short, so there it is. Thanks for stopping by this week, keep an eye on each other out there.