White Supremacy Takes its Mask Off
Last week on the in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia racial tensions came to a head as the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally, one of the largest in recent US history clashed with anti-racist and anti-fascist protestors. Initially just a rally to protest against a proposal to remove the statue of Robert E Lee, things turned violent when James Fields rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protestors, injuring 19 people and killing Heather Heyer. The events happening in Charlottesville are another example of America’s racist underbelly showing itself for the whole world to see, something which has become a recurring theme of President Donald’s Trump time in office so far.
The US President himself has once again found himself mired in controversy for his response to these events. At first, he condemned “hate and violence” on both sides, two days later he singled white supremacy as the problem but soon after he went back to blaming “both sides”. Demonstrating that he is settled in his opinion that there is a moral equivalence between anti-fascism and white supremacy. The unfortunate reality is that this isn’t a fringe opinion, vast swathes of Americans think in the same way President Trump does; if this weren’t the case, he wouldn’t be in the White House today.
David Duke, Former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan validated the President’s words on twitter, praising his “honesty & courage to tell the truth”, a sentiment no doubt shared by many white supremacists. The outspoken and emboldened nature of white nationalist behaviour in the last seven months have proved that white supremacy, the foundational ideology of the United States is very much alive; those who claimed that the Obama presidency was proof of a “post-racial” America have been made to eat their words.
If we contrast USA with a country like Germany, where laws against Nazi propaganda are so strong video games with the swastika symbol are censored or even outright banned, it becomes clear that Germany is ashamed of its bigotry, whereas the United States celebrates theirs. The nation built on the genocide of one race and the enslavement of another instead opts to put up monuments to, name schools and universities after and venerate in many other ways the persons who championed the historical evils that have occurred throughout US history.
Whether it’s the lack of clean water in Flint, the Dakota access Pipeline being laid through sacred indigenous peoples’ land, or the “Muslim” travel ban; the USA continues to prove that it holds the lives of people of colour in very different regard from those who are white. The racism which fuelled slavery, indigenous genocide, Jim Crow and segregation has been nurtured within the bosom of US Policy for hundreds of years, this is still the case in 2017 and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.