Charlottesville: The Awakening

Courtesy: Associated Press

Courtesy: Associated Press

Courtesy: Twitter

Courtesy: Twitter

Originally I was going to title this blog ‘We told you so”, but it seemed unnecessarily cruel considering the loss of life that occurred because of the Terrorist attack in Charlottesville. And make no mistake, it was a Terrorist Attack. Not a protest, not a rally, not a gathering of alt-right extremists or white nationalists.

The violence that lead to the death of Heather Heyer and the injuries of others was an act of domestic terrorism. Plain and simple.

Now that we have this fact established, let’s tackle the other issue that keeps coming up on social media, the notion that this is not our America. I’m not sure who the our is referring to but I have a message for you: Wake up white people, THIS IS AMERICA AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN AMERICA. The difference is now that the perpetrator and victim are white, you’re shocked, appalled, flabbergasted, and utterly disgusted that this is the America that you so valiantly defended every time someone spit on or burned a flag or God forbid, took a knee during the national anthem.

White people sat by saying things like “If you don’t like here, just go back to Africa,” and “This is the best country on Earth and everyone should be grateful to be here.” What Charlottesville is showing a lot of white people is the ugly truth that people of color have dealt with every single day.

HATRED AND RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL

Courtesy: Twitter

Courtesy: Twitter

The neo-nazi’s that marched along the UVA campus with tiki torches, white polos and khaki pants didn’t suddenly hatch from an egg overnight. They’ve been here everyday working along side us, walking next to us and living next door. The only difference is now with Trump in office, they feel more confident to come out and show who they really are.

White people didn’t see them because they didn’t look and didn’t have to experience the direct and indirect racism that minorities were probably enduring from them everyday. I work with and around people on a daily basis that I would not be surprised to see participating in these marches. White people want to believe “it’s not that bad” and with Black Lives Matter and other attempts to point out lack of diversity in entertainment and workplaces that minorities are just whining. I’ve heard countless times “slavery happened forever ago, just get over it.” “Stop living in the past.” “Race is a big issue because you all make everything about race.”

Now here we are.

The worst are the Trumpkins resorting to comments like “well at least they aren’t looting,” when looking at the Charlottesville coverage. When faced with the opportunity to be accountable for the disgrace that is this act of terrorism, these disgusting human beings still choose to compare themselves to black people and say “well it isn’t that bad”. But guess what? It is. Yes there hasn’t been looting…yet. But someone has lost their life. Since when did a life become less valuable than material items destroyed from looting?

And before I continue please don’t start with the not all white people rhetoric. Minorities have been generalized every time something violent happens in any protest or negative event so guess what? You will be too. Yes, I’m aware that this doesn’t apply to every single white person but just as we wear the burden everyday for what minorities do and have to denounce and condemn their behavior, so do you.

It’s time to stop turning the other cheek. It’s time to stop looking at the world with rosed color glasses and believing that if we just grab a Pepsi and hand it to a police officer, that suddenly all of this hate will turn into love. Why does it have to happen to you for it to mean something to you? Why did it take for a young white woman to be killed by a police officer for no reason for white people to realize there is a problem with police brutality? We have been saying this for years! But instead of educating themselves and trying to listen to people of color, white people instead decided to vilify the victim and blindly “Back the Blue”. And thus the Blue Lives Matter movement began. Although Black Lives matter has been called a terrorist organization, Blue Lives of course is just about support and respect for the police.

Go figure.

The media that Republicans swears is so liberal is not liberal at all. Don’t hide behind the “fake news” deflection to take away from obvious racist behavior. How do I know the media isn’t liberal? Before I heard anything about James Alex Fields Jr, I knew he was white simply because it took too long for his mugshot to be plastered everywhere.

How do I know the media isn’t liberal? Because for every black person that has been killed from police brutality, there has been a concerted effort to dig into their background, find behavior that justifies the victim’s death and why someone should have been afraid of them. You will not see this for any white victim whether it be from protests, police brutality or any crime.

So let’s just be real here. No more of the cookie cutter “let’s hold hands and sing songs about love” and suddenly everything will disappear. That’s not going to work. The first thing that has to happen is accountability.

White people, own your privilege. Own the fact that you have always had it easier in this world and minorities have to work twice as hard to attain what comes so easily to you in society. (And please spare me the argument about Affirmative Action)

White people, call out your friends and family. Being silent and standing idly by won’t work anymore. Silence is violence. Silence is capitulation. Silence is worthless. Don’t turn your head and hope the problem goes away, instead be a part of the solution.

And finally white people, understand that equality for all is not oppression for you. No one is saying that you don’t matter, but we are saying that your lives are not under attack. If you feel that groups getting equal rights mean that your race is being demeaned then you need to take a nice long look in the mirror because that my friend means you are a racist.

It’s just that simple.

I also have a message for my minority brothers and sisters. I know it’s hard and exhausting sometimes to always have to educate non-people of color on issues and why we react a certain way, but if the goal is to have us all in this together then we have to. We have to take the time to teach the ones who are open to being taught. No, it’s not our responsibility and no we shouldn’t have to, but this is part of the battle. The battle of educating those who want to be allies is a big step in ultimately winning the war.

Charlottesville is not an anomaly. This could happen in any city, any state in this country and have the same amount of people turn out, if not more. It’s time for white people to have the tough conversations with one another. Own your place in the past, present and determine what you want the future to be. If you’re fine with the way things are, then by all means go about your lives. But if not, then be the change you want to see.

I’ll end this by doing something that so many white people won’t do. We’ve lobbied, protested and fought for everyone to say the names of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and so many others killed due to fear, hate and cowardice but you won’t do it. 

I will speak her name.

Her name is Heather Heyer.

Courtesy: Daily News

Courtesy: Daily News

She didn’t have to die.

And neither did the others.

3 thoughts on “Charlottesville: The Awakening

  1. A.M. AGEE says:

    This is a fantastic piece. I hope that many whites will read it and as at minimum, own the privileges you have called them out on.

    Like

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