BY SERIAH SARGENTON
Once again, racism seems to emerge to prominence as the American people witness the “White Nationalists” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on last Saturday. White nationalism and supremacy is no stranger to the American culture. Many citizens refuse to acknowledge that racism still exists in America or pretend to not understand the nature of it.
You would never see a statue of Adolf Hitler in Germany because these countries are not only ashamed of that part of their history, but are genuinely trying to learn from their insensitivity. They recognize these people not as heroes, but as a disgrace to them. Parts of their histories are left in museums and classrooms so that people can learn about the mistakes made in the past, not in public squares where they are glorified by hate groups.
If these countries can do it, why is it that America, a country of free speech and diversity, can’t do the same? The answer seems to be that we as a nation are too ignorant to see past our own mindset for the well being of others.
Our president, Donald Trump, has further helped the worst kind of speech and thoughts protected under the first amendment come into light. Through actions such as attempting to take away the rights of the LGBTQ community, people of color, and minorities, he opened the door to inevitable violence.
Usually there is a counterargument to these topics, but to argue against the fact that the violence committed on the peaceful counter protesters was a form of terrorism would be incorrect. It’s not only the racists committing terrorism, reports say that the statue is terrorism itself in the way it symbolizes hate towards people of color. Though Robert E. Lee may not personally be committing the actions now, his past ideologies make him a perfect idol for these terrorist groups.
Now people of color and minorities have to fear for their lives because of groups such as the Neo-Nazis and KKK who aim to inflict pain on those who they claim to be inferior or are not aligned with their ideologies. You can’t celebrate a loss. People who believe that a statue of a confederate general should be left in public square as a way to commemorate history are showing us how stupid they truly are.
There’s a difference between stupidity and ignorance. Stupidity is best defined as a person who learns the truth and then chooses to still make a wrong decision. Ignorance is the opposite. An ignorant person knows that the decision they are making is wrong, yet they will still continue doing it. Everyone learns about the atrocious actions committed by members of the confederate army, the KKK, and even the German Nazi Party, so it is nerve wracking to think people are willingly choosing to be ignorant and hateful based on color.
To pretend that racism does not exist in modern day society, is to be ignorant. To decide that because you’re not from that time period that you have no reason to care about what is happening now, is to be ignorant. To avoid acknowledging that you, a human being, have more privileges than your fellow person because of your racial attributes is ignorant. To vote for a man who did nothing but promote violence because “he was the lesser of two evils,” was ignorant. Keeping a statue of a man who symbolizes the reason why the confederates lost and excusing white nationalists to commit more hate crimes towards people of color, is ignorant in itself.
Almost 150 years since the confederates lost the civil war, and yet white nationalists and Neo Nazis still exist to remind us just how much we haven’t grown. There was no issue with removing millions of Africans from their homeland and forcing them to assimilate to a culture unknown to them as a way to force people into forgetting the traditions taught to them by their parents and past generations as an attempt to proclaim power.
Yet, when the government decides to make the right decision by removing something that glorifies a negative time in our history, they are being oppressive. You cannot be oppressed if you have privilege. If you’re a middle aged, able-bodied, caucasian, christian male, you have never been oppressed. In fact, you probably never will be. The system was created to help you strive. Don’t complain about an unjust system until you have experienced nearly four hundred years worth of pain like people of color have.