This blog has no other choice but to discuss what happened yesterday on Saturday, August 12, 2017. Here is what happened according to CNN:
Counterprotesters met white nationalists and other right-wing groups at the site of Saturday’s “Unite the Right” event hours before the rally was set to start.
Clashes broke out and police began to disperse crowds.
Local officials declared the rally an “unlawful assembly” and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency.
About two hours later, a gray Dodge Challenger rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters killing a 32 year old woman.
For those who may be confused about the alt-right or white nationalism, it is no different than white supremacy. They changed the name to make themselves seem less sinister. To some white nationalism may seem like the antithesis of Black Lives Matter. That would be wrong.
white supremacists or the alt-right as they are rebranding themselves, believe:
The Alternative Right, commonly known as the Alt-Right, is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew “establishment” conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value. Link
The alt right and white nationalists believe this is their country and that no one else should succeed but them.
Black Lives Matter believe:
Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. link
Black Lives Matter want freedom and justice for themselves before they worry about others.
That distinction makes all the difference in the world. Black Lives Matter want the same opportunities and freedoms that whites and other groups have. They do not want it at others expense. white supremacists (the real term not nationalists) want to keep their advantage over other groups. Black Lives Matters believes that all groups can succeed. Their position statement explicitly includes the LGBTQIA community in their mission as well as other marginalized groups. As I read on someones Twitter feed they don’t want people on their knees in order for them to stand tall.
The leader of the white supremacists is a person named Richard Spencer. His idea is that we need to have an all white country. When asked how this could be accomplished he stated, “Look, maybe it will be horribly bloody and terrible. That’s a possibility with everything.” link What makes this scary is that these groups don’t even hide behind hoods. They protest without the use of hoods or identity hiding apparel. This isn’t some group of people way back in our history. This is happening right now in 2017.
This leads us back to the protests in #charlottesville on Saturday, August 12. The protesters for the white supremacists sprayed people with mace, kerosine, carried tiki torches and were giving the nazi salute and shouting nazi slogans. Link This was the fear I had over a year ago when I wrote this blog about how our students and our country would be put in peril with the election of Donald Trump. I am not blaming Trump for this only for emboldening the white supremacists by hiring their people on his staff and giving them every opportunity to believe that he agrees with them. Our citizens alone are to blame for the current state of the nation.
The blame lies fully in our politicians and Americans who voted for Trump and gave the white supremacists the courage to step out of the shadows. Some people said that having Trump elected was good because now we can rip the band-aid off and deal with our racial history and problems. Well, the band-aid wasn’t just ripped off we stuck the knife right back in where it has been for over 400 years.
What is more bothersome than old racists are young racists. An example of this is a picture of a young man who is screaming during this latest debacle. The 20-year-old college student was interviewed and stated, “I did not expect the photo to be shared as much as it was. I understand the photo has a very negative connotation. But I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.” Link When you look like an angry racist and are protesting with an angry racist group what else would he have us believe? Here is where his racism stands out. “As a white nationalist, I care for all people. We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.”
When you look like an angry racist and are protesting with an angry racist group that is attacking people and attempting to set a woman doused with kerosene in a wheel chair on fire what else would you have us believe? Here is where his racism stands out. “As a white nationalist, I care for all people. We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.” That statement is full of racism.
This country was founded and successful by creating the biggest slave trade market in the history of the world. What white people have has come at the expense of every other group that has either been forced in or entered of their own volition. This lack of understanding is what white supremacy is built upon. The idea that we (white people) have worked hard to get where we are. While that may be true we have been running the marathon on flat ground while others have been running up and down mountains.
How can we combat these young racists? What is the next actionable step we can take to remedy this as educators? My idea is to use Andy Vasily’s unit level planning guide. The part of the guide that I want to concentrate on is called the Suggested Related Concepts. This is where the students will be able to bring in their experiences with ethnicity, heritage, and gender. The toughest part will be for me to bring this authentically into the unit. I will keep you updated with my progress in this endeavor.
I would suggest to other educators that you do something in the same vein if you aren’t already. It does not matter what subject you teach. There has to be a way that we can reach and teach the whole child. One positive thing that happened from this was the creation of the #CharlottesvilleCurriculum. There are so many great ideas on what educators can do in their classroom. These suggested concepts will fit easily into social studies, language, art, music, and science. We have to do something to make this world better.
According to Elie Wiesel, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” If we go about our business as usual then we, in turn, are indifferent to hate.