White Supremacy is Our Biggest Threat
While white supremacy is all over the news, it isn’t new. White supremacy has been building for centuries, taking over entire continents through genocide, raping and pillaging and destroying the environment. We have seemingly reached a critical tipping point.
As Colorlines put it, “Though you might have hoped that your children would grow up in a different world from where you came from, the swamp has arisen and racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny are alive and slithering along the ground.” They published an article for how to talk to children about white supremacy in a post-Charlottesville world. They have created a long list dos and don’ts for how to talk to young people of various ages about this topic, and they begin by recommending you “put on your own mask first,” by taking care of yourself.
Although the article is specifically for how to talk to young people, it is an excellent read for all of us. Every member of Congress could benefit from reading more about white supremacy and its affect on all people.
In fact, Congress recently told President Trump to confront the rising threat of terror from white supremacists. Congress passed a joint resolution condemning the deadly “domestic terrorist attack” and other violence perpetrated in August by far-right extremists in Charlottesville, Virginia. The resolution urged the president to reject far right hate groups and “to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.”
Given the fact that Trump actually encouraged acts of violence when he was campaigning for president, it remains to be seen whether he will do anything to stem the attacks we are seeing now.
White supremacists are demanding their right to free speech. But under the US Constitution, free speech does not mean you have a right to give a KKK speech while burning a KKK cross on the property of a black family.
Free speech does not including spewing hate speech while armed or otherwise physically threatening others. We depend on our Supreme Court to continue to clarify free speech, and on our public servants to protect us. But we can’t always count on those things. We have become all too aware of how the police sides with white people and not with people of color.
Police apparently thought it was appropriate to chant “Whose streets? Our streets,” Sunday night while making some arrests during the continued protests over the acquittal of Jason Stockley, who had faced murder charges in the 2011 killing of black motorist Anthony Lamar Smith.
Meanwhile, union organizer Gabriel Kristal says there is a working-class strategy for defeating white supremacy. “To advance anti-racism on the macro scale, we need to collectively engage in popular struggle, rooted in a left platform that is relevant and intuitive for poor and working people. There should be an immediate creation of a hopeful, broad-based mission that is winnable, which will serve to expand the resistance movement and create an organized majority to kill pernicious nationalism, masquerading as populism.” He lays out his strategy in an article here In These Times.
What can we do as individuals? We can educate our selves. We can gather with like-minded people. We can #RESIST.
Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.