If you turned on the news or logged onto Facebook this weekend, you most likely heard about the tragedy that ensued in Charlottesville, Virginia. Protests broke out following the announcement of the removal of a Confederate statue, resulting in the largest gathering of white supremacists in decades, including groups such as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) and Neo-Nazis (otherwise known as the “alt-right"). This remains an unfortunate day for the American people as lives were lost and the underlying racism within our country revealed itself.
Parading down the streets and chanting phrases like “white lives matter" and “you can’t replace us," the white-nationalist movement reached a point of not only immense hatred but also of violence as a man deliberately ran over people participating in the counter-protest. Although the perpetrator has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, the fact still remains that there has been a present, but somewhat-concealed mentality of discrimination in our country that is now reaching the surface, prefaced with ongoing issues of hate crimes and police brutality.
The violence demonstrated this past weekend prompted many pacifists to approach the issue with a neutral perspective, claiming that there is violence present on both sides of the issue and we cannot “fight fire with fire" and that we should “make love and not war." Regardless of how peaceful these messages may seem, their application in this sense can yield more negative than positive outcomes. For example, these phrases commonly used by members of this grey area paint love as being synonymous with complicity when in fact the opposite is true. If we really aim to preach love over hate, we cannot sit idly by and allow hateful messages of a bygone belief system to spread throughout our country; instead, we must act to end Nazism and discrimination to the fullest extent possible.
For those who have shied away from politics, claiming it’s “not their cup of tea," now is the time to make the switch. In the age of social media and technology, there is no excuse to be uninformed on the politics that ultimately affect our community. We cannot ignore issues that do not directly pertain to us anymore. We cannot remain neutral for the sake of sparing our Facebook friends from political rants on their timelines. We cannot be complicit with hate and violence.
It’s time to stop allowing the racist comments of our relatives slide. It’s time to stop making excuses for antiquated views. It’s time we stop being a part of the problem, and instead be a part of the solution.