Archive: 10/2017

Thoughts on Charlottesville

by A’Jamal Rashad Byndon

Since the skin-head and white supremacy incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, there has been a heightened awareness—particularly on social media—of the pain and suffering people of color have experienced from racism. And yet these Facebook and thoughtful blog comments demonstrate that many Americans lack the skills to have healthy conversations and dialogues about racial issues. In talking with colleagues, I’m continually amazed at how many are unable to articulate coherent ideas and concepts about the level of racism, prejudice, bias and white supremacy still present in this country. Some suffer from a level of white fragility where they really don’t know where to start. Others want to make those concepts of racism, prejudice and bias synonymous when in fact each term can carry different meanings based on the situation. For still others, watching this hideous behavior being so blatantly and shamelessly played out in the national media makes them want to fold their hands and disengage from reality. None of these reactions are surprising to people of color—we’ve witnessed this behavior all of our lives. But those who have buried their heads in the color-blind sand must either begin facing the reality of racism now—or expect to continue being confronted with it over and over again in the future… because, after Charlottesville, there’s no schmoozing over what’s going on.

These thoughts are being juxtaposed with the images of Klansmen, Nazis and white supremacists marching in the streets of the Charlottesville. It is ironic to see these white supremacists with “Tiki”-brand mosquito repellant torches—bamboo torches that are identified with the peaceful Hawaiian culture. But for anyone laboring under the illusion that the overt display of racism had been relegated to the distant past, we now know that the kind of hate we saw exhibited in Charlottesville can be found in any town, village or city in the United States. Even in the White House.

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