So the day before the Unite the Right rally, I posted on my Facebook page that I was tired and was going to log off for a bit. It wasn’t just that rally that had worn me down, it was a ton of smaller things leading up to it. For some reason, antisemitism has been a growing presence in my life, as well as the country at large. Not new, mind you, just growing more visible. Last week I had a few derogatory terms leveled at me and my kind by dint of being Jewish. Prior to that I had some implicitly antisemitic and racist arguments used against me in a casual but professionally oriented group online. And those are from nominally left-leaning social circles. Suffice it to say things have been rough.
When the Unite the Right rally or, if we’re being honest, Neo-Nazi riot, started to take shape I saw what was to come a mile away. I decided that maybe it was time to take a break from things online so as not to break myself. I’m here, writing this, so clearly that didn’t last long.
insert Nazi riot
The reaction post-Charlottesville has been mixed to put it mildly. There’s been a lot of decrying of the Alt-Right, some strong turns toward finally acknowledging them as the Neo-Nazis they have always been, and shows of solidarity. There have also been hollow words of support, and even implied support of the Neo-Nazis from the highest office in this land.
Ugh, Trump. If I’m talking about shit going on, odds are I have to talk about him. So yeah. This isn’t just the America he promised, it’s the same method he personally championed. The dehumanizing of the other, the calls for physical violence, it’s all his personal, no speech writer, words. Even now, in the wake of the first domestic terror attack under his watch, he goes so far as to carefully avoid blaming the terrorists and spreads the blame to their victims.
Trump didn’t invent this, but he fought for it.
So let’s talk about the fight against.
Just like I had said about myself the day before the riot, there’s a lot of minority burnout going on across this great(ly tumultuous) country. Everyone seems angry at the Neo-Nazis (except the Neo-Nazis themselves), and a lot of people want to do something. Or at least see something done. The word on the street is that white people need to do things. And by that, I don’t mean check to see how they’re doing with their minority friends. I mean get on the front lines. Because while everyone has a duty as a human to fight these pieces of shit Nazis, white people have a duty to be on the front lines. It’s not fair to look next to you and make sure there’s a brown, black, or Jewish person right next to you. You do not expect an oppressed person to go head to head against their oppressor. You use your elevated position to protect them.
But who’s responsible? Even in the few short days since the riot, I’ve seen white people already start to hesitate. “Why are there so many posts about white people? It’s alienating”, “I’m tired of being white”, “But they’re not part of my culture”. Some reactions seem to convey that there are a number of white people who are just discovering this level of racism. I had one person actually go off on me about how I was a just playing “anti-Fascist” hipster when I pushed back against his use of “hypothetical Nazis”, telling him how some of us had been dealing with Nazi hate for decades already. The allies are already getting restless.
The deal I present to you is this: if it would be possible for you to join these neo-Klan and Neo-Nazis, were you hypothetically inclined, then it’s up to you to fight them.
Let’s be honest with ourselves; they aren’t going to listen to uppity black folk, slippery Jews, or lazy Mexicans. They only listen to “real people”, white people. THAT is your “white power”. That is a power white people have whether they want it or not, whether they are tired or not, whether they are offended or not. So wield it for good. Jews and POC will (continue to) fight, but white people have a racial power we don’t. I won’t call it a privilege here because if we’re being honest, it’s human rights. It’s not an elevation above the standard, it’s the ability to live AT the standard.
If you’re mad that it’s a race thing, don’t complain about being white. Fight the Nazis that made this a race thing and dragged you into it on their behalf. Men, women, young, old, they don’t care. If you look like them and aren’t actively speaking out against them then you appear to be one of their numbers, and they have been playing this up for years. They know that. They know that their anger pushes them and tires everyone else out, and they count on that fact in their fight. Sorry not sorry, but you’re in this too. And I know that coming in late is a blessing and a curse. On the bright side, you’re newer and fresher to the fight than those of us who’ve been dragged in since the beginnings. On the down side, you may not have the experience to fight this, or even talk about it. Either way, welcome to the fight.
Okay, that’s said. I’m now going to avoid the sight of burning torches, swastikas, hammers smashing magen David, chants of “Jew will not replace us” and “Next stop Auschwitz” for a while. I’ll probably be reading the #comicshatenazis tag, taking in a Broadway show, or watching really shit TV.