Hate must not stand

Staff and Lily Antor

This past Saturday, white nationalists again protested in Charlottesville, North Carolina, carrying torches and rallying around a statue of Robert E. Lee. A decorated war general and slave owner, Lee’s legacy, like our nation’s past, is troubled, and the contradictions that formed the foundations for our early nation are coming back to visit us again. They’ll keep coming back, too, unless OUR generation is the one to stop it.

Fifty-four years after the “I Have A Dream” speech, race is still a prevalent issue in our society. If we don’t acknowledge it, then we will not be able to make any progress towards a goal of a world without racism. Every fight against oppression starts at the personal level, and we should be challenging racism here at our school and in our community. To do this, we must firmly establish some universal truths. First, racial supremacy is vile and disgusting. You don’t have the right to be moved to violence or intimidation simply by someone else’s existence.  The fact that people think they are superior to others due to the amount of melanin they have in their skin is outrageous and unacceptable. Second, we’re all equal, regardless of race, religion or any other factors. These factors give us individuality and humanity, they’re not a way to determine someone’s value or potential. We all are made of the same basic cells, tissues and organs, and events ranging from WWII to the Civil Rights Movement the recent shooting in Las Vegas prove that we all bleed the same. We are all equal, and it’s time people realize that. Enough is enough.

Where do these attitudes come from? Uneducation? Lack of communication and discussion? Fear of the unknown? A leader who gives us permission by example to bully others? Wherever they come from, we can’t deny that they’re not just in Charlottesville, they’re here, too. We hear non-black people saying the n-word, people mimicking the accents of people who are not U.S. born, enforcing cultural stereotypes, unfairly judging others over their skin tone, or even cracking “jokes” that make fun of others for their race. The fact that this behavior is normalized is dangerous, and the fact that it’s here is frightening.

Confederate statues like the one white nationalists surrounded in Charlottesville represent a time in our history that is dark and ominous; a time that nobody should want to repeat. The fact is that our current reality is little more than this time in history: white supremacy is an epidemic. Before we start talking about things like whether or not these statutes should be removed or remain, we’ve got work to do right here. Rather than spewing more blame and more hatred into the world, right now we need to focus on ensuring that racism – systematic, prejudicial, and otherwise – is no longer an issue that we avoid simply because it’s uncomfortable. We must learn from the horrors that occurred in Charlottesville and recognize that we must become more inclusive and understanding people. It’s time to take a stand and make a change in order to create a better tomorrow. This is our generation, this is our time. Let’s get started.