Yesterday, I watched the news about Republicans condemning Trump (not all of them), and I felt a combination of relief and exasperation.
“So this is what it takes for the conservative guardians of the status quo to take a stand against racism,” I thought. Nazis! Honest-to-god Nazis. Nazis and a dead woman. Well, Nazis and a dead white woman.
We progressives have a fight ahead of us, no doubt. It’s a fight that many of us thought was over. A fight against actual Klu Klux Klanners and Skinheads! It’s been a hundred years since “Birth of a Nation” and decades since the KKK organized in public on this level. But they’ve come back, crawling out of the collective id of America where they’ve been hiding out.
I have no doubt we’re going to win this fight. Yes, Trump has made some people (maybe a lot of people) feel like its okay to be openly racist now. Yes, the “alt-right” is on the rise. But I don’t believe for a second that the hood-wearing, torch-carrying kind of racists are ever going to exercise political power in this country again. (Yeah, they used to!) We’re not going to let them this time. The statues are coming down. The hoods are coming off. The racists underneath are being doxxed. And eventually, these intellectual inbreeds are going to crawl back to the internet ghettos where they came from.
Yes, we have a fight ahead of us. But we’re going to win. It’s the fight after this one that I’m worried about.
I worry that, after we beat back the White supremacists, White people will think we’ve beaten White supremacy.
I worry that, in the rush to condemn “White Lives Matter,” more people will embrace “All Lives Matter.”
I worry that, when ugly face of bigotry is finally driven from political office, the country will embrace the handsome face of bigotry.
I worry that, when we are done grieving for the death of a White woman, we will forget the thousands of Black men and women (and trans folk) who continued to be murdered.
I worry that, when there’s no more Nazis to punch, we won’t have the stamina for the more subtle heroism of working to transforming our culture.
I worry that our self-righteousness will blind us to our own complicity in a racist system.
I worry that, when we are done expelling the racist other, we still will not recognize the racism within ourselves.
Yes, we have a fight ahead of us. But after the fight with the Nazis and Klanners is over, we will still have another fight. A harder fight. The fight with ourselves.