The events in Charlottesville over the weekend are terrible. But we are already seeing some familiar equivocations and it's time to stop.
1. It's incredibly common to sneer at millennials and those coming up behind them for being weak and wimpy and demanding safe spaces in college. What that ignores of course, is that women students asking for places where they can be among women, students of color asking for places where they can be among other students of color is not wimpiness, it is often self care. Watching folks with flags and torches march on a college campus is just one recent overt example of that.
2. The various social media folks asking to identify the white supremacy marchers proved this, as several students said variations of, oh yeah, that's the guy who was always saying racist and fascist things in history class.
3. This behavior on the part of white supremacists is not new. If this is simply the first time it became clear to you that these ideas about supremacy go hand in hand with the idea that other people don't even deserve life, well, welcome.
4. White supremacy is strong. Ideas of supremacy that are threatened with extinction often become bolder, more violent. There is no historical example of these ideas dying out without people fighting back. Inaction is not an option.
5. That does not mean you can't take time for yourself. That does not mean you have to weigh in on everything that happens.
6. It also means don't let the little stuff slide, but, but, of course, not letting racism slide doesn't mean don't stop arguing with your co-worker/friend/uncle until they agree. Some days, just saying, hey, I'm not going to accept those statements, those "joke" in my presence is enough of a first step.
7. This article had some tips about combatting racism. The other thing to remember is this can be done as an add on to the other things you do already. If you already teach Sunday or Hebrew school, volunteer at a soup kitchen, fold envelopes for your local politician, if your life is already full, no one is saying you need to drop everything at show up at every vigil. You can add this into whatever work you are already doing. American ideals and American reality have always been in conflict, but we can keep working to move them closer together.