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Discovering Racism and then Discovering It Anew

Charlottesville awakening

Now, in Charlottesville, Virginia, we’ve seen that ugly face of White America that I got a glimpse of back then in my grandfather, rise up out of the muck in which it had sunk in the years since the Woolworth counter sit-in in Greensboro and other civil rights struggles. It turns out that the ugly reality of racial hatred and white supremacy that characterized the South for centuries never really went away. It reared its head anew with the election of President Barack Obama, whose occupancy of the “White” House stuck in the craw of the nation’s racists from day one and for eight years, and has now burst forth in full fury with the subsequent election of Donald Trump, a man who deliberately used open support for racists as his ticket to the presidency, and continues to back them as president, much as Adolf Hitler used open support and advocacy of vicious anti-semitism, anti-Roma and anti-Communism to fuel his rise to power.

Trump’s election has even unmasked the more deeply buried racism of whites in the North, who at least since the 1960s had kept their ugly bigotry well hidden behind closed doors, even as they supported zoning laws, bank redlining and corrupt real estate agents in keeping housing and schools separate and unequal in states like Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

We’ve come a long way since the days of segregated washrooms and segregated water fountains, though it’s not surprising to me that it would be North Carolina that would kick off the latest ugly fight to keep trans-gendered people from using the washrooms of their choice, instead forcing them to use the washroom appropriate for their gender at birth.

The thing is, what we’re seeing now is a new militancy by those who hope to drag us back to those ugly days of American apartheid.

It’s disturbing to see the nation’s leader defend the ugly white miscreants who so comfortably wear swastikas on their clothes or skin and Nazi helmets or the white “conehead” hoods of the KKK on their heads, marching en masse with torches blazing down American streets. But maybe this “coming out” of racism is a good thing.

Black and brown, yellow and red people have been living with this ugly and frightening racism for all these years, and yet since Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act, we white folks have kind of missed it or closed our eyes to it. We have our minority friends, but they’re mostly too polite to talk about how much they have to worry every time there’s a cop car behind them on the road, or if they’re parents, when they send their kids off to college or just off to school in the morning.

The thugs who descended on Charlottesville armed with guns, spears, clubs and raw hate intent on causing mayhem in the name of White Power have always been among us and have been hurting and threatening our black, brown, yellow and red — and Jewish and Muslim — brothers and sisters all along, working in the shadows, in state legislatures, in city halls, and in Congress.

Now that one of them is in the White House, and that they’ve felt emboldened to come out in the open, we know who they are, and we know what they want. We also know why non-white Americans are so alienated, fearful, angry and impatient with us supposedly “evolved” .white people.

The deadly poison of racism has been exposed. Now it cannot be denied or ignored. It, and its powerful advocates and promoters have to be rooted out and eradicated.



story | by Dr. Radut