I go off the grid for a little R&R, and I return to this? White supremacist terrorism and imminent nuclear war? I mean, I can barely even walk on land yet without my snorkel flippers attached to my feet and my butt cheeks are still painfully sunburned (don’t ask). JFC.I spent a night in Charleston, SC on the way back back to NYC, and on the ride to the airport yesterday I see a white d00d just walking along the road carrying a giant confederate flag?! Like that’s the most ordinary thing to do at 8:30 Monday morning. “Hey asshole, guess what? Your side LOST that war!” I yelled in his direction even though my window was up, a necessary bulwark against the swampy South Carolina heat. Meanwhile, my driver Terrell – a black man, Charleston native and Army veteran who did two tours in Afghanistan – just shrugged and sighed. “I hate white people,” I muttered sullenly. “You are definitely not the first white person I’ve heard that from,” Terrell said with a weary chuckle. Good, I thought to myself, and then wondered glumly if someday soon Terrell would have to fight a civil war in his own fucking hometown.
Speaking of war, last night I caught up on John Oliver’s most recent show. He did a pretty decent segment on the escalating tensions with North Korea and president Cheeto-head. I disagree with Oliver’s characterization of past US government actions and intentions in the region as benevolent, but this is typical of him. (I get the impression he’s one of those liberals who gets his “news” from The New York Times and actually believes he’s informed about what our government does or who it serves.) Also, it’s inexcusably lazy to paint North Koreans as a bunch of indoctrinated and benighted weirdos without pointing out that the US is chock full of those too. (See, e.g., Charlottesville, the Trump administration, the inexplicable fashion proclivities of white American men and the stubborn persistence of absurd myths about bootstraps and “the American Dream.”) But if you can get past all that nonsense, Oliver’s piece on North Korea is pretty infotaining.
On the other hand, there is nothing – NOTHING – the least bit amusing about the events over the weekend in Charlottesville, to say nothing of the White Supremacist House’s response thereto. I am angered and outraged and saddened of course, but hardly surprised. Here are a few things I managed to repost on Facebook that more or less sum up my chaotic thoughts.
Since words presently fail me, the least I can do is signal boost Rashad Robinson at Color of Change (via email).
Iris, it is hard to wake up in America today and not feel a deep sense of rage.
The bravest of our people were violently attacked in an act of terrorism this weekend that shook the nation and reminded us of our duty to fight. Hundreds of white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and white nationalists carrying torches descended upon Charlottesville, VA in a march intended to evoke a violent history of racial terrorism. Three people died. 19 were injured.
Most infuriating was that so many of the forces here to protect us instead stood idle for hours and let it happen–including the police, the institutions that govern Charlottesville, and some allies. So many stood by the “Unite the Right” rally’s right to exist and were surprised to see it turn violent and terroristic. This did not come as a surprise to the people living in the face of oppression every day. We know that the roots of white supremacy and hate run deep into the soil of America. But what runs even deeper is the love, sweat, tears, and sacrifice of our ancestors who worked hard to eradicate hate and the systems that reinforce it. We must continue their work even on days like today when it’s hard to even turn on the news.
With decisive and strategic action, we can make sure that white supremacists don’t have the power to make Charlottesville happen ever again. Here are 5 places where your voice is needed to stand up for Black and Brown folks in this moment:
Demand corporate funders cut off white supremacist hate groups. #NoBloodMoney – Payment processing companies like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are making big money from processing the funds for some of the vilest white supremacist groups–giving them the funds to plan events just like “Unite The Right.” If companies refuse these services, we can stop hate groups from being able to fund rallies like this in the first place.
Call for the removal of ALL Confederate symbols from places of honor in America. – Symbols of the Confederacy are symbols of America’s history of racist, vitriolic hate. And they embolden white supremacists to march the streets without shame. They must all come down. Now.
Stop legislation in North Carolina that protects drivers who hit protesters with cars. – Republican lawmakers actually want to protect people like the man who killed one woman and injured 19 other people by ramming his car into a crowd of protesters. In North Carolina this bill is moving forward, and we have to stop it from becoming law.
Tell Congress to refuse to side with white supremacists and force Trump to #FireBannon. Now more than ever, we cannot tolerate white supremacists running our country. Democrats and Republicans in Congress alike must take a stand from hate taking a front seat in the White House.
Tell businesses to #QuitTheCouncil and drop from Trump’s business and manufacturing councils. – After this weekend, businesses like Merck have already started dropping from Trump’s special business councils. We can’t stop until all of them have #QuitTheCouncil.
Now more than ever, we cannot back down. Thank you for fighting side by side with us.
Until justice is real,
Rashad, and the rest of the Color Of Change team