Recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia have brought attention to an old conversation that many (non-black) people have avoided joining until recently. The only difference in this conversation is that now neo-Nazis, KKK members, and white supremacists are no longer hiding behind white cloth in the woods burning crosses. While still cowards, they are now open about their identities and purpose which has been fueled by hateful rhetoric and lack of conviction in condemnation of Donald Trump. In an attempt to bridge the racial divide and heal the wound inflicted by a race war that has been waging on for decades, the president of the United States has instead instigated an already unstable America.
Why is this a problem?
The outcry expressed by Americans on both sides of the aisle was almost loud enough to provide a distraction from the fact that Donald Trump is treating the North Korea conflict as a real life version of Battleship. While so many came together over this divisiveness, Trump waited 48 hours to make an official statement that condemns those groups by name. In fact, in his initial statement, Trump basically vindicates those groups stating “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
By not calling out their names, that statement had no weight. It was a blanket statement expressing what all decent people already knew to be true. It also gave those groups the idea that Trump was supporting them. Andrew Anglin, creator of the Nazi site ‘The Daily Stormer’ states “he didn’t attack us,” he wrote in a blog post on the site. ”(He) implied that there was hate ... on both sides. So he implied the antifa are haters. There was virtually no counter-signaling of us all.” After Trump finally decided to break his silence on the matter, he proceeds with a hollow and rehearsed statement that came across as too little, too late.
Not only did it come across as insincere because of the silence before the speech, he also begins his statement talking about jobs, infrastructure, and economy. Keep in mind he appeared with two Jewish men and an Asian woman. He clearly prioritizes money over human lives. The father of a Jewish daughter and son-in-law, won’t even take the time to immediately disavow the behavior and relation with the groups that were represented at the protests that eventually took the lives of three human beings. To add insult to injury, Donald Trump outwardly defends the alt-right in an off-the-cuff press conference on Tuesday, showing his true personality.
For those that oppose Donald Trump, this is who they knew him to be all along. If anything, this was him symbolically coming out of his own woods while taking off his hood. Trump, if not a white supremacist himself, appeared to be a white supremacist sympathizer. His history has shown this to be possibly true, when considering his Muslim ban and the wall meant to keep out undocumented Latino immigrants, and litany of other racist accusations in his time in the private sector.
Additionally, it is extremely reckless for Donald Trump to rewrite history to serve his own agenda, and the agenda of those that put him in office. It is very public knowledge that uneducated white Americans are the ones that placed Donald Trump in the White House. In fact, roughly 51% percent of uneducated white Americans voted for Trump. It should be no surprise that portions of that same population also rallied for white supremacy in Charlottesville. While that information is readily available, in combination with what recent history has told us about the groups that rallied, people are still in disbelief that this can happen in America. The fact is, we are faced with a very real threat of racism in this country. The president is, however recklessly, addressing foreign threats but is ignoring the threat of domestic terrorism which is a possibility every day.