Charlottesville Very Much Part of American ‘Values’ and ‘Heritage’
Regardless of political affiliation or orientation or color or race or creed or religion or anything that divides us as human, anyone with any sense of decency and morality should be outraged, humiliated and saddened by the events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Charlottesville was just the microcosm of what too many of us already knew about this great country of ours. This is nothing new and has continuously been engrained in the very fabric of modern-day America.
In 2017, we have groups seething with rage, racism, vitriol and plain-out hatred, just like we did in generations past. We have people who condone, whitewash and rationalize their behavior by twisting facts, logic and history to save face and absolve their own dark feelings, just like we did in generations past. But, when you have the so-called President of the United States who can’t call a white nationalist, a domestic terrorist, a neo-Nazi or an alt-right extremist by their proper names, that’s when it’s affirmed for the country and the world that race relations, decency and the sense of justice in this country have hit all-time lows.
For those of us whose history has involved the stealing, enslaving, raping, exploitation of any people by another, regardless of which side you’re on, it’s an all-too-familiar sight and a history that we must recognize continues to have serious and even deadly consequences in our current environment. The disregard of these facts and our shared history, the disrespect for the wellbeing of all citizens, the denial of rights of any American citizen, the systematic exclusion and more importantly, the dishonor of robbing human beings of basic dignity is as much a time for pause than anything else.
When your legacy in this country is built on you being treated as a second-class citizen, at best, and a subhuman, at worst, you tend to look at the events of Charlottesville through a different lens. You don’t see “patriots” fighting for their rights and heritage. You don’t see “Americans” utilizing their Constitutional right of freedom of speech. You don’t see “non-violent” activism to protect so-called heritage (a heritage of failure and loss, by the way). Instead, you see the darkest repeats of America that hearken back to an earlier time that no patriotic, freedom-believing, Constitution-loving America should want to see.
When you try to equate Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan or white nationalists or neo-Nazis, you’re once again whitewashing history and trying to make comparisons that are in no way similar. When you compare a true civils right and justice organization to ones that feed on fear, mayhem, violence, intimidation, cowardice and murder, what kind of message are you sending? You’re asserting, once again, that blacks don’t have the same rights as whites, that their feelings are less valid, that they are not “true Americans” and don’t have the right to stand up for themselves and what they hold dear.
While the freedom of speech and the right to “peacefully” assemble are some of this country’s greatest assets, these acts should not be at the expense of others’ dignity, humanity and safety. This cannot and should not ever be tolerated or normalized in any sense. But, as we’ve seen repeatedly, when America turns a blind eye, we continue to see these detrimental events occur ad nauseam. But, if it’s excused and normalized, it becomes part of the American legacy and the value system, so it makes perfectly imperfect sense why it continues to rear its ugly head.