Charlottesville was the tipping point for me. I watched the Vice video which opened with a parade of angry looking white men carrying torches, shouting “Jews will not replace us!” “Blood and Soil!” “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”Here’s the link in case you missed it – https://news.vice.com/story/vice-news-tonight-full-episode-charlottesville-race-and-terror
I will admit that the sinister music playing in the background added to the fear and severe disgust I experienced while watching it and I’m a white Christian. I can only imagine the horror that a minority would feel watching that. I wept for my friends for whom this hate was directed, I wept for all of us. I thought we were further along than this, we are not. The fact that I didn’t realize how bad it is….that is shameful in itself and I own that.
In the days that followed I saw a post on Facebook by an acquaintance. The post used white letters and a black background and asked something like – Has anyone lost sleep over statues in public squares? Not just now, ever?
Now I have stayed out of most of the political fray with the exception of some occasional low level snark. This wasn’t even political in my opinion, he just asked a question. I thought about my reply…it went something like this – “I have not personally lost sleep over a statue in a public square. That said, I can see where having to pass by a statue of someone who died trying to keep slavery intact would be hurtful to a person of color. Imagine being the ancestor of slaves and having to pass that every day on your way to work, school or home. I do lose sleep over the fractured state that our country is in.”
Things declined from there. The man who made the original post went on and on about art and artists and honestly I wasn’t sure if he was joking. And commented. “I’m not sure if you are joking – too soon.” Then I unfollowed him. I did post about my new found love of the unfollow button on my page and signed off to go to bed. Unbeknownst to me, this infuriated the man that made the original post.
The next morning when I logged on I could smell ash and smoke from a night gone terribly wrong on my Facebook page. The comments had been deleted by then but there were some cryptic messages from a few participants in the prior evenings rant. This man made the unfortunate choice to go after me on my own Facebook page. Foolish on his part since he is a local business man. I wasn’t present but a small army of mom friends had my back and held this person accountable. When he tried to attack me personally, they shut him down. When he tried to argue his worldview, he was outed as a sympathizer of white supremacy. Things got ugly quickly despite the fact that I wasn’t even present to argue with him.
Now I suppose I could have just scrolled and rolled on his original post. However, this was after Charlottesville, my tipping point. Silence is complicit and that is no longer an option for me. I’m not sure what my next moves will be – protests, posts, one on one discussions, etc. I do know this though, I will not be silent.
*photo credit to The Boston Globe.