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The Fascist Protest in Charlottesville, VA: A Message for White America

First, I do not hate White people. I do view with disdain their collective actions/oppression of African Americans in the past. I also am strongly opposed to the beliefs of the KKK, Neo-Nazis, Fascists, and other groups that align with them. But, this essay is not about that, not exactly. Racism and bigotry are part of the American fabric. They have been around and have thrived since the beginnings of this country starting with the massacre of Native Americans. Globally, they have even earlier roots. This is an attempt to look at the larger issues that provoked the protest in Charlottesville.

The protest in Charlottesville was a long time coming. The rage seen in Charlottesville has been percolating since the election of President Obama. For many reasons, I love President Obama. I love the idea of him and the former first family. So, this is not about him. It is about the environment created around him, with the election of the first Black president. When President Obama was elected President, it was decreed that America had entered a post-racial era. That was, now obviously, not true. But, it caused the whole country to go into denial, particularly White people. No election of one man could eliminate centuries of hatred and bigotry. But, denial did happen and the sentiments of the group of Whites who continued to feel that they were superior because of their race were minimized and ignored. This fueled their hatred.

Media coverage of the protest showed that the Alt-Right (White Supremacist) protesters were mainly young White men. With Trump in office and their representatives in the White House, some commentators wondered why they were angry and why they said they are taking back their country. This event was not about economics. It was about White men feeling marginalized and their supremacy, their White privilege, slipping away.

I do not like blaming media for everything, but, in this case, it contributed to fueling the rage of these White people. It celebrated the end of racism by showing inter-racial couples and mixed families at every opportunity. A majority of commercial ads that air include Black men with White wives or partners. The inter-racial couples in the ads are not middle eastern men with White females; they are not Latino men with White women; and, they are not Chinese or Japanese men with White women. In almost all cases, they are African American men with White women. Further the children of these relationships appear everywhere. For these White men, this is tantamount to pouring salt into an open wound.

I am not saying that people cannot marry or partner with anyone they chose. I am saying that ignoring a longtime taboo, Black men with White women, is stupid and dangerous. It is wiping this view in the faces of White supremacists. No wonder they are enraged. Black men in these ads are continuing to let media use them as studs. White women are continuing to allow themselves to be used as commodities. The worlds of White supremacists are being turned upside down. As a Black woman looking at this phenomenon from the outside, I can understand the rage of these White men. Black women have, for a long time, resented Black men, especially the handsome and powerful ones, choosing White women over them; and, the aggressiveness of White women seeking to pair with wealthy African American virile men.

Progressive Whites and media must realize that change does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process where you must bring people along with you, not slap them in the face or ignore their views. I knew when I kept hearing statements about America soon becoming a majority minority country and seeing the images of mixed couples on TV, there would be a White backlash. The removal of Robert E. Lee’s statute was an excuse, not the issue. What happened in Charlottesville is not the end (e.g., Seattle, Washington). The protest is a reflection of the Trump era. Different strategies are needed to address Whites’ fear and rage. The cognitive dissonance of White supremacists and the rage that it engenders must be addressed thoughtfully, not with a hammer. Am I blaming Progressives? No. But, we must see the whole picture to adequately address it. What should we do?

First, we have to get the chaos out of the White House. Trump and his cronies (Banner, Sessions et al.) must go. The sitting Republicans must find their patriotism and impeach Trump, not only for the Russia scandal, but also for his many violations of the Emollient Clause of the Constitution. Presidents are supposed to unify the country and represent all Americans, not just a few.

After these bold steps are taken, we must begin to rebuild the systems and rights that have been and are being destroyed, including the right to vote. Institutional racism must be addressed and systems put in place to ameliorate it.
White people, you must stop the denial and educate yourselves. You must begin to have honest discussions about racism and bigotry, and begin to engage the groups that espouse White supremacy and hatred. Remember, they are organizing young people at this time. Their hatred is despicable but they are human beings and they are fearful of their future, for the future of the White race. Frank discussions about diversity and its benefits to White people must occur. African Americans are willing to work with you, but first you must shed the veil of denial.

We, as Americans, cannot continue to do our own thing without considering its possible impact and/or consequences. Science tells us that for every action, there is an equal opposite reaction. Let’s begin.

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