A Confused Reaction to Charlottesville: Where Do We Go From Here?

My job is pretty easy when it’s mostly making fun of Donald Trump every week. That guy’s a dope and he pretty much makes fun of himself. Weekends like this past are tough put into words, however. I wish I didn’t have to write about subjects like these, but I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t. So without further ado, here’s America in 2017:

Unless you’ve been under a rock (I know I wish I had been), you’ve heard about the “demonstrations” of free speech and asshole-ry down in Charlottesville, Virginia [1]. Charlottesville was the site of a rally for a conservative, nationalist group called “Unite the Right” on Saturday. The same site has seen several protests recently in response to a plan by local officials to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee from their Emancipation Park. The entire event had several skirmishes between protestors and those protesting the protest, but then some shithead had to prove everyone else right.

One James Fields Jr., a 20 year-old douchebag from Ohio, felt the need the take radicalism into his own hands and drove a car into other cars and protest-protestors, killing a 32 year-old woman from Charlottesville and injuring dozens of others. That little fuck-face is in custody and was denied bail at this hearing Monday. The prick was seen earlier in the day holding signs and standing with Vanguard America, an anti-multicultural group that believes the U.S. should be an exclusively white nation [2]. Should you drive your car into a group of people? No. Should the protestors have people in the road? Technically not. Was the victim doing what she thought was right? Definitely so. Was that stupid kid doing what he thought was right? Unfortunately, yes.

vanguard

Great, got that out of the way. Let’s look at the underlying issues here because it’s more than just one piece of shit and a bunch of pointing fingers.

If people could explain these actions, then it would be much easier to prevent. If the feelings of frustration and angst could be put into words, demonstrations like these wouldn’t need to happen. The problems are more than just people being angry; Why here? Why now? I’ll do my best, but I don’t have a side in this particular fight. I’m just an American thousands of miles away, both physically and culturally, trying to make sense of this.

So why do things like this happen down South? Though racial tensions exist all over, scenes like these and out of hand protests happen in Virginia, South Carolina, or Missouri. Don’t just take it from me when I say that the South has done some pretty awful things over the last few centuries, namely to African-Americans. Whether it’s physical violence or one-sided laws, people of color in the southern states have always been at a disadvantage. It’s easy to see it when it happens in front of your face, but what about when it’s not? What about when it’s black families only being welcome into black neighborhoods, to find that the quality of life isn’t the same as the next town over? What about when their children show up to a new school to find that their school receives less funding and supplies than the white schools? Racism is not just a look or feeling people get, it is part of the system now.

There are also plenty of white Americans living down South in these places. Many of them come from generations of proud Southerners. A fraction of them MAY have participated in the Civil War, but not a majority as they all think. Still, the people that live there develop pride in their states’ heritage and history. I’m proud of living in Massachusetts, I get it. I don’t think we should still be burning witches and hunting whales, but Massachusetts is pretty nice. Southerners take a little further though, even if they have no real historic link. They all have to tout Confederate flags on their pick-up trucks and shoot guns to prove they love ‘Murica (How cliché).

The problem that leads to protests like in Charlottesville is the South’s identity crisis. The centuries of “Southern pride” are being met by new American values and all this change is happening quickly over the last handful of decades. With every new generation, the older are telling the kids about how great their time was instead of teaching them to embrace the new and changing world (Truth be told, our lives are way better than our grandparents). These “back in my day” talks shortly turn into passing biases down to kids, or generational racism. That’s why our country can never move on, we are all just taught to think like our parents.

Racism is a touchy subject for everyone involved. Those that have experienced firsthand are going to feel differently than someone who is as privileged as can be. Some people are taught to accept others or don’t even recognize race (as kids). Some are obnoxiously open about how much they hate people that are different than them. I’m going skip ahead and just say: We are all racists. Sorry, there it is, I said it. Not because we hate others and we think our race is the best, but because we all participate in the system that perpetuates racism and prejudice. Kinda like “don’t hate the player, hate the game,” except for those on the wrong side, it’s not a game. Millions of people in this country are treated differently, passed on for jobs, followed in department stores, endure different interpretations of law, and just yelled at for living because their skin has a different level of melanin. If what you just read makes you angry, I DARE you to do something about it.

I have tried over the last year of writing to avoid articles like these. It’s hard to be funny, which is how I deal with most things, but it’s something that needed to be done. Again, I wish I didn’t have to write about these things, much like you probably wish you didn’t have to read it. That’s America in 2017, though. There are a lot of cool things, but still plenty of things we don’t like today. This is where I preach to be the change you want to see in the world, but not today. For some of us, it’s too late to change the way we are. However, we still have time to instill these changes to our children. Yelling at another adult to think your way isn’t likely to make a difference, but if we set aside what we have been taught and teach our children to be BETTER than us, you never know.  Don’t we all want better lives for our children?

Written By: CJ Wilcox (@CJWilcox7)

1: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/us/charlottesville-virginia-overview.html

2: https://www.adl.org/education/resources/backgrounders/vanguard-america

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed by this writer are solely his own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Couch Guy Sports, affiliates, or other contributors. Yeah, I’m surprised I can get away with it too.

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