Charlottesville: the end of white supremacy - The Echo News
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Charlottesville: the end of white supremacy

Healing the wounds of the oppressed

Statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park, Charlottesville, VA. (Photograph provided by Wikimedia Commons)

Statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park, Charlottesville, VA. (Photograph provided by Wikimedia Commons)

By Halie Owens | Contributor

As I delve into my sentiments of Charlottesville, I’m going to employ President Haines’ tips for intentional community from Wednesday’s chapel. His five pointers on cultivating an intentional community were to be authentic, to value and support each other, to seek, to understand and affirm, to show grace and mercy and to love each other. My words are authentic, because I value the people on this campus, and in return, I’m asking you to seek to understand and affirm me. We all can give and receive grace and mercy, because we all love one another.

Following Charlottesville, people of color were not surprised that the white supremacy that had been swept under the rug resurfaced. President Trump was initially passive about the underlying issues of the event. David Duke, former Klansman, tweeted, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM (Black Lives Matter) /Antifa.”

To be clear, there is only one side enacting terror, one side not willing to move forward in the progression of this country, and that side is white supremacists. Though this is an opinions piece, trust this is a fact.

I am baffled that Trump supporters continue to delude themselves about the truth of this presidency — that he causes division and isn’t living up to the hype. President Trump took days to say something slightly acceptable, claiming he was “waiting for the facts,” though Heather Heyer’s death was reported that same day. We should expect better, more intentional remarks from our president.

Simply stating that bigotry and racism are wrong isn’t cutting it. We must call the bigots out for what they are: white supremacists, white nationalists, Nazis, instead of sugar coating it with names like alt-right. Explicit condemnation is extremely important to healing the wounds of the oppressed. The wounds of Black Americans are still fresh, some of us scarred every day.

We have not been allowed to heal from our oppression. Americans “never forget” 9/11 or the Holocaust, but let a Black person mention slavery, and we’re expected to get over it. Yet Confederate memorandum is acceptable, because it is deemed historic. What is the history behind these statues, exactly? Do they celebrate the Confederate soldiers of the Civil War era, who fought so hard for slavery that they willed to depart from this great nation? Or the Confederate flag, which was never actually used during the Civil War, but in fact used as a symbol for segregation through the eras of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement.

This “history” is a symbol of division that becomes most prominent after Black success. It is no coincidence that we are experiencing some of the most blatant hate crimes after having our first Black president. The White ego is so fragile that people denounce the man who made this country better and praise the man who tears it apart.

We all can agree with the ideals of the Founding Fathers, despite their own hypocrisy, that we are all created equal, in the image of God. But we are still not treated as such. There should be no memorandum of leaders who have persecuted minority groups in this country.

We should instead memorialize heroes like Cathay Williams, a former slave who posed as a man to serve in the Civil War, or Pontiac, a Native American who helped defend U.S. troops against the British in the Revolutionary War. There are countless others whose heroic stories are unknown to us because history chooses to ignore those who do not come in the package of a straight, white, Christian male.

What makes America great is all the people who indisputably slaved over and bring in revenue and success for this country. It’s time to celebrate the true America, the America for all of us.

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