At the Charlottesville protests, the hoods were off. No identities were hidden. Everything was out in the open for anyone and everyone to see.
The white supremacists that dared to march for what they perceive as their holy racial cause feared no consequence. These men and women believed they could strut into their workplace on Monday and instill fear into the hearts and minds of their LGBTQ+ coworkers, coworkers of color, and Jewish coworkers.
This signifies a turning point in America.
How We Got Here
We are not post-racial. We are not post anything: we live in a nation where our leader, President Donald J. Trump, refuses to call these torch wielding, confederate idolizing, un-American neo-Nazis what they are: white domestic terrorists.
As a black Jewish woman, it terrifies me that President Trump can’t stand up against white supremacy and terror. There is no longer any fear or shame associated with the ideology of white supremacy.
When people ask how this could happen, they come from a position of privilege. How could this possibly not have happened? How did you not see this coming when Tamir Rice, a twelve year-old child, was shot for carrying a BB gun in an open carry state? How did Philando Castille getting shot–after telling officers in advance that he had a licensed weapon on his person–not give it away? Did Sam DuBose getting shot in the head while unarmed not show you that this was happening?
When a movement called “Black Lives Matter” exists, and the right treats them as a terror group rather than a group with valid concerns about disproportionate black death, how can we ask ourselves how this happened? When the political Left has allies speaking over the concerns of people of color, rather than truly advocating for them, how can we ask how this is possible?
The truth is that we did this to ourselves. No one is innocent.
Overcoming The Fear
Two weeks later, I am still afraid. For the first time in my life, my identity as a black, Jewish, Republican woman makes me feel unsafe. White supremacists have the gall to walk around with swastikas and confederate flags. They have no fear, saying I am less than them based on my religion and my ethnic heritage.
What happens if this continues? Will they resort to violence, attacking those who are different? Will we see an American Kristallnacht? Should I be fearful of my fellow Americans?
Where do we go from here? What is there left to do? It seems that after the outrage, there is always a lack of action.
How do we defeat an ideology, and not an army? We win through education, prevention, and truth. Foster conversations. Listen to what people of color, LGBTQ+ community members, and Jewish individuals have to say. Don’t sit at brunch, sipping your mimosa, tweeting about your #allyship as if that would somehow absolve you of your lack of action.
A lack of action is exactly how this happened, and we can’t afford that now. Take action for Anne Frank, for Rosa Parks, for Harvey Milk, for Jews, for people of color, for the LGBTQ+ community. We must secure a better future for our children, and for generations to come.