The disgusting outpouring of racist fury at the University of Virginia over the weekend is the culmination of our indulging in 160 years of Confederate nostalgia. I’m a southerner and I’ve participated in it firsthand but it is time to face facts – those who created the Confederate power structure and waged war against the United States of America were traitors.
Surviving white separatists and their fellow travelers didn’t take losing the Civil War lying down. They have gone on to scream and rail against every advancement of the American dream to people of color by any means necessary. They are domestic terrorists who bomb churches, shoot up nightclubs and plow vehicles into crowds of their opponents.
It is a false narative that supporters of statues honoring figures of the Confederacy simply want to see history represented fairly and truthfully. No one forgets history simply because there isn’t a statue of it. Also, keep in mind, most of the statues were installed following two waves of reactionary racism – the first at the end of Reconstruction and the rest when the fight to end desegregation began. Furthermore, if merely remembering the past was their goal, they sure as shit wouldn’t be celebrating Nazism.
Glorifying hatred, bigotry, and racism is wrong. It must be resisted and rejected at every turn.
In the already infamous photo of torch-carrying white racists surrounding a statue of Thomas Jefferson, we see buried in the image 3 brave UVA students, terrified, but holding strong behind a hand-painted sign reading “UVA Students Against White Supremacy”, backs up against the statue, surrounded by white thugs. Let them be our guides. – Sarah Schulman
This is not a matter on which reasonable people can disagree. Those we saw carrying Tiki torches in Charlottesville are despicable human beings who espouse an indefensible belief in racial and cultural superiority.
Racism must be combatted everyday by every one of us. White people cannot stand on the sideline, saying and doing nothing. Please – this is the moment where our silence puts us on the side of hate. This is the time when we have to decide which side we stand on and whether we are going to take this nation forward or backward.
Let us prove that this is not who we are as Americans.
I stand against racism. I stand against hate. I stand against bigotry.
I stand for equality. I stand for racial justice.
I stand because #BlackLivesMatter.