I must say I am quite disheartened by the inaction on naming the bigotry and calling out those who are inciting violence. Deconstructing privilege is difficult, and stepping up to do the work is equally challenging. Unfortunately, unless we begin to take a stand against the alt-right movement and those who have used this newly legitimized platform for bigotry, these incidents will likely continue to increase. I just finished two terms on the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council, where we were consistently subjected to individuals who believed the hatred toward the confederate flag was unwarranted and could not recognize why people of color and LGBT people had such visceral reactions.
Politics aside, we have a real problem with racism. When I saw the images of torches it stirred a lot of emotions and pain for me, and I know my colleagues, students, patients, and friends of color felt much more than the pain I experienced. I am hopeful conversations with young people are happening to dismantle this awful and backwards moving ideology. It is evident now more than ever that we are not living in a post-racial society and truly never have. Despite any small progress we ever made, this growing White nationalism has the potential to quickly erase any trace of that progress. As I watched and listened to the statement “...hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” it sounds a lot like the “all lives matter” approach and does not name the racism and actions as coming from one side — not many!
I am calling on White colleagues, friends, and students to be more vocal in denouncing these acts of violence and hatred. We need to unite as a community of caring humans and lead the way for creating communities of peace, acceptance, and showing others the importance of embracing the intersecting identities of others. My heart and positive thoughts go out to those in Charlottesville. As a socially responsible practitioner, advocate, and as someone who values social justice work, I will continue being vocal around these issues and hope you will as well.