PROVIDENCE, RI - Whether it were by an active or passive effort, I have succeeded in keeping my voice largely uninvolved from the stream of rhetoric deluging the internet in the wake of the events that occurred in Charlottesville.
Even my own personal social media accounts have remained rather dormant, or at least lacking in any content relevant to the tragedy that struck Virginia this second weekend in August. Yet as every day passed, a terror burning as bright as a torch steadily filled my insides; there felt something unpleasant in my silence.
Speaking on it meant fully acknowledging it, breathing life into a story that I was afraid to take as more than fiction. Truth be told, I still want nothing more than to shut my eyes and pretend as if this wasn’t happening. However, I understand that would be a privilege long since ripped away from me and anyone who looks like me.
With either mouth or eyes unopened, one only contributes to a sort of fallacious legitimacy, rooted only in its lack of opposition. To be voiceless would be to succumb to the fate oppression has long since been fighting to enforce. I could remain silent no longer; even if this letter fails to reach those who need to be reading it most, it is one more voice joining the chorus of those who understand: what happened at Charlottesville is not and will never be okay Let me be clear in that I am not saying anything profound; racism is not new, nor is the declaration of its repugnance. Hate and discrimination are ancient beasts, preying on this nation since its conception, feeding upon the subjugation of one race and the obliteration of another.
Yet these historical connections still seem lost on people. Even amongst a wealth of writers and theorists far more articulate than myself, all attempting to explicate the problematic nature of race, discrimination, and oppression, folks still cling to an unblemished guild of what they feel their history is. A confederate flag becomes a symbol of legacy, and a pointed hood that of power.
Their resistance to accept the past upon which their power so precariously rests reveals that the lesson they require will never come from a history book; not from any Dr. King, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, or Kimberle Krenshaw. Simply put, there is no way to teach an individual how to be a good person. Despite Trump’s poorly supported defense of the alt-right, or the mass of faceless persons that took to the internet to supply their own justifications, there is absolutely no moral ground upon which any vindication can rest.
The marchers in Charlottesville were terrorists, nazis, and white supremacists, adhering not to logic but their own inflated sense of entitlement. Their lack of empathy for others and their own lust for unopposed power is, among other things, a stark reminder that the civil rights era never ended. Whereas I once found the challenge of reasoning with the unreasonable to be a daunting one, I must now hold it as a source of inspiration.
The growing severity of this country’s current state will act as an innervating pressure, strengthening my resolution through the fear, worry, and sorrow. This country belongs as much to me as it does to anyone else; I am black, I am unapologetic, and I am here to stay.
This piece was published originally by College Reaction on Collegereaction.com