Saturday, 12 August 2017

Why What's Happening in Charlottesville TERRIFIES Me...

Photo via Getty Images.


I'll be honest.  I hadn't heard of Charlottesville, before this morning.  The small college city had never entered my radar; I'm thousands of miles away, down in Cornwall, England, after all.

But by now, it's becoming a name that many recognise.  They recognise it from the news.  From the horrific photos of so-called "alt-right" activists, beating those who don't share their twisted views, with the torches they carried as they marched.  From the images of these racist thugs (many of whom claim to balk at being called Nazis) performing Nazi salutes.

So, why were so many "disaffected young white men" marching through Charlottesville, last night?  

Well, it was all part of something called Unite The Right.  This is a gathering of groups whose members all claim that white history is being erased in the United States and that they are persecuted simply for the colour of their skin.

Yes.  America, which has become disturbingly notorious for police killings of black people, is apparently persecuting its white folk.





Now, I'm a white person (1/4 Greek Cypriot, 3/4 very pale white British).  I can tell you, with my hand on my heart, that I have never, ever thought: "Good God, I am so persecuted.  I have no rights.  I have no voice.  And it's all because I'm white."

That's because I know history.  It's because I experience white privilege enough to realise that my skin colour, more often than not, protects me rather than leaves me at risk of persecution.  The need for "White Lives Matter" (as these goons in Charlottesville were chanting) is akin to "Straight Pride," in as much as history has given us a whole heap of reasons why it's just not necessary, whereas the reverse very much is.

But since when have racists listened to reason?

White men, in their 20s and 30s (and some who onlookers suggested may have only been in their teens), therefore swarmed through the University of Virginia campus last night, chanting slogans such as "jews will never replace us!" and claiming to be standing up for the poor, voiceless white man.

Because, you know, white men are the least privileged in society.  They get paid less, they never get top jobs, predominantly white neighbourhoods are often referred to as "no-go areas" and woe betide a white man if he's stopped by the police...

Oh, wait.





Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm sure there are people in America who feel they've never been listened to, just as there are plenty of folk here in the UK who say their voices aren't heard.  And when they're talking about important social issues, such as crime, housing or welfare etc, they have just as much right to be listened to as you or I.  That's what a democracy is; everyone is supposed to be able to have their say.

The trouble is, what a lot of these people want to say, are things that we literally fought two wars against.  It's inciting hatred against a race or religion.  It's claiming white superiority and treating anyone of any other ethnicity as somehow "other" or wrong.  It's talking about those important social issues, but pinning the blame for all social problems on immigration, or "political correctness gone mad."

But here's the thing: political correctness and humanity are two different things.  Over the last few years in particular, the lines between the two have become blurred so that they bleed into one another.  For example, if you say "hang on, don't call all Mexicans rapists," you're told by these alt-right morons that you're "being politically correct,"whilst they praise Donald Trump for "telling it like it is," as though he's being somehow brave by inaccurately labelling every single Mexican a sexual abuser (which is rich coming from him, let's face it).  It's not political correctness to say "no, that's not true," it's simply stating a fact, whilst respecting our fellow humans enough to understand that judging an entire group based on the actions of a few is just as unhelpful as wielding torches and claiming that white people are somehow the ones who are being maligned.  

And I'm not going to sit here and say there aren't problems when people move too far to the political left, either.  Because of course any form of extremism - whatever side you lean towards - causes problems.  But far-right extremism has a long and dangerous history and as I watched the news flooding onto Twitter this morning - far-right, torch-wielding racists, encircling protestors against their hateful rhetoric and using those torches as weapons - I realised why this feels so frightening.

Because it's so brazen, now.  Because these people, who once hid beneath ridiculous white hoods, now show their faces quite happily.  Because their abhorrent views are becoming so commonplace, they no longer feel they have to whisper them, but instead flood social media with them, yell them at rallies and take pride in their hatred.




The use of the Internet and social media has no doubt helped these formerly underground, almost cultish groups to come out into the open.  And, as they reach a wider audience, their language and imagery has been emboldened.  A recent Daily Stormer (an alt-right website) article, even ended with the sickening words:

"We will eventually win this struggle and secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.   It is our destiny.   Next stop: Charlottesville.  Final stop: Auschwitz."

Auschwitz.

Where so many Jews were gassed to death during the Holocaust.  These vultures are taking their "fight" to a place that has come to stand as a permanent reminder that we must never allow fascism or hatred to take us to such a dark place ever again.  And they are going there out of hatred, themselves.  Embodying all that the Nazis stood for, yet speaking as though they are the victims.

What is this world they speak of?  Do you live in it?  Because I sure as hell don't.  I know - because my brain cells function correctly - that white people are not about to be erased from history.  I know that we are not being treated like second class citizens on a global scale, the way that so many other cultures have been.  I can see that we are not being demonised or blanket-labelled terrorists (despite the fact that these white scumbags, who are still parading through Charlottesville spouting their nasty crap as I type this, deserve that label entirely).

These mindless, hateful idiots are fighting a war that does not exist.  White people are not being marginalised, enslaved or persecuted.  We are merely living in a multicultural world and the vast majority of people accept the differences among us.  We do not cast hate at those who don't share our skin colour.   We don't tar every member of a community with the same brush when someone from that community commits an atrocity.  The world has - on the whole - moved forwards.

But these people cannot move forwards, because to do so would be to leave their hateful ideology in the past, where it belongs.  And they are emboldened by a President, whose campaign was run amid racial slurs, misogyny and "anti politically-correct" statements.  A president who, at the time of writing, has yet to condemn the white supremacists and their bullying behaviour.

And why would he, when live footage from Charlottesville just now showed David Duke (notorious white supremacist) saying to the camera: "We're determined to take our country back, to fulfil the promises made by Donald Trump.  That's why we voted for him."

Quick question, David:

WHERE ARE YOU TAKING IT BACK FROM?!  IT DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE, YOU UTTER LOUSE.

It's the bit in red, see??!!


It's always the same script.  We need to "take our country back."  Just as American racists have been buoyed by the success of Donald Trump, so the British far-right, boosted by the Brexit result, have been spouting this nonsense.

Our country is our country.  It's just a more multicultural place than it was thirty, forty years ago.  Same goes for America.  Society is mixed to a greater degree than ever before and we have made enormous strides in the fight for equality for all, regardless of gender, sexuality, race or religion.  That these are good things never seem to enter the heads of these thickies with their banners and torches.  In fact, earlier today, I actually saw some white guy on Twitter (I blocked him, so I can't quote directly)say something along the lines of:

"White culture is being erased, when it's white culture that gave us everything good.  Black culture has given society nothing."

Remember that, next time you're listening to... I don't know, most music ever.  



And it's the brazenness of these trolls (because I refuse to call them anything else, when I encounter them online) that I find so disturbing.  The hoodless racists marching through Charlottesville are just a more visual reminder that these people no longer believe that they have to hide their despicable views from the public gaze.  Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism is just casually spoken now, and I find that terrifying.

I also think it is of paramount importance that we, as fellow white people, speak up against this horror.  Lord knows, too many of us (those marching in Charlottesville, for sure) expect Muslims to condemn the actions of terrorists, rather than appreciate that a violent minority group do not represent Islam as a whole.  Just as ISIS falsely claim to be representing Islam, these racism scumbags claim to be defending white people.

Well, I'm white.  And I don't need your defence.  I will never need your defence, because I will never stand alongside you.  I abhor all that you stand for.  You claim to represent me, but I will shout back against you as long as there is still air in my lungs.

We are people.  We are all people, no matter what colour skin we have, or what religion we do or not ascribe to.  Regardless of gender, sexuality or anything else that may separate us, we are all people.  There is no superior race.  How can anyone claim white people are superior, when there's a vile white man in the White House, who openly mocked the disabled and bragged about sexually assaulting women during his presidential campaign?!  Get stuffed.  White people are not superior to anyone.  No race is superior to any other.

Thankfully, if you go onto Twitter and look at the news as it rolls in from Charlottesville right now, the vast majority of people - of all ethnicities - are condemning the racists chanting hateful rhetoric.  But in amongst them, are those who praise their actions.  Those who are proud to describe themselves as "far-right," both in America and over here.  Those who literally carry Swastika flags and wear Adolf Hitler quotes on their clothing.




They are brazen in their hatred.  They no longer need to hide it.

And that should horrify us all enough to ensure that we act to condemn them, once and for all.  To silence them, if possible, or - at the very least - to ensure we push them back into the shadows.  Back into their cowardly hoods.

Because hatred and intolerance have no place in our world.  To see it displayed so brazenly is utterly shameful.











2 comments:

  1. It is such a scary time right now. I do not live in the US (I'm in Canada which is honestly a little too close for comfort) but this is an issue that affects us all. As a white person, never EVER have I thought, wow I am so persecuted. I have no rights. It is baffling to me that anyone - especially white men - are obsessed with becoming victims and using that as a way to fuel hatred and anger. It disgusts me. Thank you for speaking out on this. <3

    the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

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    1. Honestly, every time I see footage of these Nazis marching, brawling and spouting hate, it makes me want to weep. There are just no words for how revolting they are. :-(

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