At the outset, let’s make one thing clear — not everyone in America is racist. I don’t even think the majority of people are.
But, here’s the thing, when you live in a free society and don’t jail people for their views, you get to hear those views. And the reality that Republicans have been ignoring for decades now, both willfully and unwittingly — is that this country is now, always has been, and probably always will be a racist country. It was built on the backs of slaves and expanded to the Pacific Ocean through the systemic genocide of people who had already been on the continent for centuries. Our country is so fucking racist that me just bringing up these two historically accurate points — that the southern slavery economy buoyed our country and that we wiped out the Natives viciously and inhumanely — will trigger a whole lot of “patriots” out there.
Ignoring America’s racism is also a very favorite pastime of Americans, especially those on the right. If they aren’t ignoring it, they’re either equivocating for it — other countries limit immigration by country of origin or religious practice — or they try to twist reality to the point that Democrats and liberals are the real racists because we (GASP!) believe in a social safety net they say turns black people into slaves to the state. Just don’t ask them if all the millions more white people on welfare are addicted to the government in the same way.
What happened in Charlotte has crystallized something for me — Republicans are so dependent on the White Supremacist Vote that they are willing to say and think the most insanely stupid things ever about slavery. Tucker Carlson, for instance, said on his show this week that since other countries and societies have had a slave trade, somehow that means we should just get over our own. And he’s from the party that loves to pretend they are the end-all, be-all of American moral fiber.
Carlson’s “Two Wrongs Make Us Right” bullshit is just the more intellectual version of Trump’s nonsense about evil on all sides. If a member of AntiFa murders someone with their car, great, arrest them. Convict them. We’re a nation of laws for a reason. But showing up to counterprotest isn’t incitement to violence, and the simple truth is that in Charlottesville, it was the motherfucking Nazis, actual swastika flaunting Nazis, that killed and beat people the worst. To not hammer those white, racist, fucks directly and immediately is to give them cover and normalize their behavior. Trump ended up rationalizing Heather Heyer’s murder for them in that press conference.
And, yes, of course that tangerine twatwaffle eventually ended up condemning white nationalism specifically, but only after his first statement went over like a fart in an elevator. We shouldn’t have to pressure our president to say loudly that white supremacy is bullshit and un-American. But we did. Because right-wingers have convinced their body politic that they have to be allies with neo-Nazis in order to win elections. Oh sure, they don’t say that out loud. Instead, they convince their voters that free speech means letting Nazis run over us in the street.
I’m about as loud and advocate against censorship as you can get. Flags shouldn’t be outlawed. Gatherings, if peaceful and lawful, go the same. It’s a dumb argument to me that the white power fucks had a permit to gather in Charlottesville, but okay. I see the logic in saying they at least went through the effort of getting a permit. Fine. But they still wound up in the streets chanting Nazi slogans, translated into English. That doesn’t make violence against them justified, but sure as fuck justifies a counter-protest.
Perhaps the most telling and infuriating thing about the right’s response to Charlottesville, at least in a lot of corners, is to conflate AntiFa with regular, average Joe Americans protesting the Nazis. First of all, even AntiFa isn’t the same, not even remotely close, to what the white power assholes are. One group wants to wipe out minorities, violently, and the other opposes that group and is willing to defend minorities with deadly force if it comes to that. Any members of AntiFa stepping outside that paradigm and striking first are just as culpable, though, and should be prosecuted.
However, please, Republicans, immediately disabuse yourselves of this hilarious notion that being anti-fascism and pro-fascism are the same. And no, you don’t get to redefine fascism as left wing, either. Nor do you get to call Nazis left-wingers because they were “national socialists.” They were nationalIST socialists, which means they were right-wing. An economy does not a government make, despite what your simplistic views of the world tell you. Besides, Hitler was a piece of shit who lied to everyone to consolidate power. He made socialist promises to the workers, and capitalist promises to business, and he fucked them both over.
But let’s get back to America. And the Republicans’ unwillingness to simply confront America’s racist past. Affirmative Action isn’t reverse racism, you dummies. It’s an attempt to safeguard against actual racism, and given that a Nazi just ran over a woman who was protesting racism, I’d say the argument that racism is dead in America is, well, is there a word beyond “totally butt fucking stupid.” Because that’s what that argument is.
Slavery. Genocide of the natives. Jim Crow. White nationalists, the KKK. Look at all those things and tell me we’re not racist. Then look at how Chinese immigrants were treated. Look at how Mexicans are treated by some now. Everywhere you look there is evidence of how ignorant and racist we are and were.
Tearing down confederate monuments isn’t erasing history. It’s moving it to where it belongs — a museum. And it seems to me after watching everything in Virginia last weekend, that we are in no danger of erasing our history, not by a long shot. Some of us are very willing to not only celebrate our shameful past, but to be proud and defensive of it, while simultaneously denying it.
What a time to be alive and dead inside.