Commentary: Racism Unmasked and Unleashed

KKK and Nazis Clash with Anti-Fascist Supporters in Charlottesville

By: Steven Morris

August 11 and August 12 are two days that have been marked as possibly some of the ugliest and darkest days in our American history.

On those days, there was a gathering of KKK supporters and Neo-Nazis, for a rally titled “Unite the Right”, a rally that was intended to be a protest against the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, a college town that is built around the University of Virginia.

It is difficult to admit that this isn’t the mid-20th century where we are experiencing this. It is today’s world. In our modern year of 2017, we are seeing large gatherings of people who support ideas of hate and discrimination.

The night of August 11, a day before the rally was to be held, hundreds of KKK and Nazi supporters marched with tiki torches, on the campus of University of Virginia surrounding a small group of opposing protesters that were standing around a statue of Thomas Jefferson.

The next day, was the “Unite the Right” rally. However, this didn’t turn out to be a very peaceful rally. Early in the morning, militias were traveling into town with firearms, rally shields, and camouflage attire.

Chants rose from these crowds that were anti-Jewish, anti-black and discriminant to the LGBT community.

Later that day, a 20-year-old neo nazi drove his Dodge Charger into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring 29 and killing one, which can be considered an act of domestic terrorism. He was later caught and charged on several criminal counts, including hit and run.

Many politicians, from both sides of the aisle, denounced these public displays of hate and discrimination. Others denounced it but did not callout or name the KKK and Nazis specifically, like President Donald Trump.

Even though a couple days later, he specifically named both groups, his speech didn’t seem to be that genuine. The first speech he made was the one that stood out.

In it, he noted that there were “violence on many sides.”

In his third statement about the incident, he doubled down on blaming multiple sides by saying, “You had a group on one side and the other, and they came at each other with clubs, and it was vicious and horrible. It was a horrible thing to watch. There is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. You can say what you want. That’s the way it is.”

However, it was the side that was filled with Neo-Nazis and KKK members who carried around firearms, rally shields, multiple weapons and camouflage, that was the side that provoked violence.

We see Trump blaming both sides and sympathizing with the White Supremacists because these same people supported him in the presidential race and were visibly supporting him in Charlottesville, wearing the infamous “Make America Great Again” hats and vocally supporting the president.  

David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, had this to say: “We are determined to take our country back, we are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

People have every right to be scared in this country.

From nuclear threats between North Korea and the US, to the events that happened in Charlottesville, it feels like this country has time traveled back into the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

Yet, according to President Trump, that’s when America was last “great”. Many on the right side of the aisle, feel that way too.

When President Trump was elected, the people who voted for him got their wish: we are living through the times of the mid 20th century again.

According to a Pew Research survey done in March 2016, 75% of Trump supporters “say life for people like them has gotten worse…” in the last 50 years.

When asked about when America was last “great”, Trump responded in a 2016 interview with the New York Times saying the “late 40’s and 50’s”.

We, as a people and as a country, must make it a point not be on the wrong side of history.

There is no room for racism.

There is no room for discrimination.

There is no room for hate.

Those who spread racism, discrimination and hate should be denounced and shamed for their actions and beliefs.

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