I thought the racists were out in the open after Barack Obama was elected president, but it seems every day that there is something about a Klan rally, skinhead meeting, White supremacist march, or an Alt Right leader’s demands, in the news and being discussed via social media. That’s what having a bigot in the White House will do to a country. Race relations have definitely stepped backward rather than forward, and I fear it’s only going to get much worse over the next few years.
What’s the deal with Charlottesville? According to CNN – Outraged by the city’s plans to remove the trace of its Confederate past, alt-right activists and Ku Klux Klan members have come to the city in recent months. The city has become ground zero for white nationalists, neo-Confederates and alt-right activists from across the country protesting the removal of Confederate monuments.
In April, the city council voted to remove the Lee statue but is on hold pending litigation. Two city parks that were named after Confederate generals were renamed, including Emancipation Park, the site of Saturday’s rally.
There have been requests by certain organizations to have such symbols of ‘hate’ – the Confederate flag, statues of Confederate Civil War generals and soldiers, and other icons that many Americans, and not just Southern Whites, hold dear – removed from public spaces. I am not troubled by this rebel paraphernalia any more than I am bothered by swastikas, inverted crosses, and black trench coats. Words like Dixie or antebellum, and phrases such as ‘cotton picking’ don’t bother me. I either have a thicker skin than most or I am simply more mature than most Americans, who seem to allow the pettiest thing to affect them. Why should a park named after a Confederate general bother me?
A “Unite The Right” rally will take place today in Charlottesville, a town of around 47,000 people dominated by the University of Virginia, where my cousin had a full scholarship which he blew out of his ass (now he works as a chef rather than in sports medicine, his former major). Thousands of White Nationalists from around the country are expected to attend the event, which is the response to a plan by the city to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee from a park that once was named after him. (It is now called Emancipation Park.)
Late Friday night, several hundred torch-bearing men and women marched on the main quadrangle of the University of Virginia’s grounds, shouting, “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.” They walked around the Rotunda, the university’s signature building, and to a statue of Thomas Jefferson, where a group of counterprotesters were gathered, and a brawl ensued. At least one person was led away in handcuffs by the police.
Eugene Williams, 89, a former head of the local N.A.A.C.P., served sweet tea on the front porch of his house on Ridge Street one day this week and recalled the days when he was not allowed to dine at local restaurants. He favors keeping the Lee statue because he wants people to remember the Jim Crow era. “This statue has a lesson to teach us,” he said. – NY Times
The King Center, founded by civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow Coretta Scott King, tweeted that “racism never left America.” – NBC News
|The statue in a disfigured state|