The KKK and the World Today
There isn’t much I can say on the topic of white supremacy, Nazism, and the recent horrors in Charlottesville, VA that has not already been said in the past few days (and said far better than I could ever say it). Nevertheless, when I think about how I, as a singular human being, can make a difference in a situation like this, my answer is inevitably always the same: write, talk, argue, debate, post, tweet, spread awareness.
Not all of us can physically be present at anti-Nazi protests. What we can do, however, is continue to raise awareness about what’s going on right now. I am speaking directly to my fellow white people: racism is often invisible and silent, and that is its power and strength. It can be unassuming. It is a ghostly helping hand, one that protects white people when they choose to stay silent in the face of oppression and prejudice. It is a staircase that white people ascend their entire lives without even realizing it was built for them. We must acknowledge this privilege, because only in doing so can we truly free our minority brothers and sisters who are suffering.
We must speak up and speak out in the face of racism. To be silent is to be complicit. To act as if racism is not your problem because it does not negatively affect you is to side with those in KKK hoods. There is no space left for impartiality or neutrality in our world. We are at a tipping point as a country; it is not the first time for our nation, but for many of us, it is the first time that we are witnessing such clashing and hatred in our own homeland. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past if we want our future to be better, not only for us but for our neighbours, our children, and our grandchildren.
If you actively choose to not be involved or to stay silent, you are using your privilege. This is the truth and you must accept it. Only those who possess true privilege can afford to be “sick of politics,” to post puppy pictures on Facebook, and to avoid difficult conversations at the dinner table. It is imperative for the actual future of our country that we as white people recognize how dangerous apathy and apolitical positions can be. We will never understand what our black, Muslim, Jewish, etc. brothers and sisters encounter in their daily lives yet we must make it our mission as Americans to do our very best to be on their side. We have no idea what it’s like to fear deportation, rejection, bigotry, physical and mental attacks, and at worst, death simply for being who we are. We have absolutely no idea what that’s like. And because we cannot truly empathize with the oppressed, we must open our minds and listen to what the oppressed are telling us.
There is no space for using the “both sides” argument anymore. What Donald Trump said in his press conference immediately following the events in Charlottesville equated non-violent, anti-racism protesters with violent Ku Klux Klan white supremacists. The two are not equal in any way, shape, or form, and this argument is dangerous and flat-out wrong. If you continue to support Donald Trump and his administration from this point on, you are aligning yourself with the racists, the bigots, the white supremacists, and the Nazis. I have said this from the very beginning, although then it seemed quite harsh and it ostracized people that I love. But at this point, it must be said and it must be defended. I can no longer give you the benefit of the doubt if you give it to Donald Trump. There is no space for you on the right side of justice if you refuse to acknowledge your privilege, to get involved and speak up for what is right, and to stand with your fellow minority citizens. So often we talk about what we would have done during the Civil Rights Movement, during Nazi Germany, during the Civil War, and so on. Where do you stand today: with the white supremacists and the vile, racist regime of Donald Trump, or on the right side of history? What will you tell those who come after you into this world about where you stood at this vital moment in our history? What will you tell yourself as you try to sleep at night? The choice is yours, but the right choice is clear.