The recent events of Charlottesville, Virginia were horrific and disheartening to witness a sea of White nationalists from across the U.S.A come in protest for the removal of confederate monuments. Although the majority of nationalist participants were White men, let us not forget the major role of White women of the movement .
As a Black woman and an American living abroad, I can't say I was shocked by those images of White supremacists plastered across television and on the internet for the world see. The culture of White supremacy and hate groups alike have been the fabric of American society for over 100 years. America's dirty laundry. America's worst-kept secret.
The same dirty laundry where no matter how many times Americans try to wash it, the stains remain, and Americans are reminded of this each and every time an unarmed Black person is killed by police without consequence. Whether it's socially acceptable-- the celebration of Columbus Day (covert) or socially unacceptable-- display of a swastika (overt) -- regardless, the 'promise of America' doesn't provide an equitable path for all and minorities have always had to carve out a means to exist within the socio-economic structure. White supremacy doesn't exist in a vacuum, it's also systemic as seen within housing and hiring discrimination, mass incarceration, etc.
Lets not pretend that the protest of Charlottesville is about preserving the monuments because it's a part of American history. No, those monuments were mass produced during two major periods of American history as a resistance to civil rights for minorities.
So where does America go from here? How does it heal the country tensions with an unqualified, ill-equipped, President who sympathetises with the underbelly of America? For the first time in American history, White supremacist identify with a sitting-President and believe that he champions their cause.
Here's my recommendation:
- We need White America (non-nationalists) to lead the charge. Use their privilege and resources to not only join the movements such as Black Lives Matter, Human Rights Campaign but most IMPORTANTLY influence policy.
- Minorities need to empower one another in a different forms. Don't stop marching but use the tools of this era to advance the movement. Continue to build and support resistance coalitions online.
- Support minority owned banks, businesses, invest in minority areas. Use the prescription of gentrification and build poorer communities. Don't just move away once you have achieved financial success. If you should choose to move, also invest in properties/businesses in the same neighborhoods and give opportunities to others.
- Take part in local government. From city-council level to state and governor levels.
- Finally- VOTE OUT the Trump administration. If members of the Republican party do not want to hold their Party leader accountable for his actions--vote them out! Although the problem didn't start with Trump, his influence isn't helping advance progress.