The focus of most UU commentary online this week was last weekend’s events in Charlottesville.
The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt wrote, “If you didn’t know that the recurrent, relentless scourge facing this nation is white supremacy, now you know.”
If you didn’t know that our most recent UU General Assembly rightly focused on the structures and habits that support white supremacy, even in our own beloved faith tradition, now you know.
If you didn’t know that for every visible Nazi and white supremacist, there have always been others waiting to emerge, now you know.
And if you didn’t know that this is just the beginning of their attempts to spark a renewed reign of terror in the United States, now you know. (Facebook, August 13)
Kim Hampton issued a challenge: “I need you to do some reflection, my white liberal friends.”
How many of you, in your heart of hearts, believe that the Civil War was fought over state’s rights?
How many of you, in your heart of hearts, believe that slavery was dying out at the time the Civil War started?
How many of you, in your heart of hearts, believe that slavery was an inefficient economic system?
How many of you, in your heart of hearts, believe that the Civil War could have been avoided?
How many of you, in your heart of hearts, believe that there were Black Confederates? (East of Midnight, August 17)
The Rev. Carlton E. Smith, who was one of the clergy protesting in Charlottesville, wrote that “Brutal force and threats of violence are essential to holding white supremacy in place. . . . And we still here.”
And we never not gon be here.
We never gon stop showing up for ourselves and for all humankind.
So for those whose happiness depends on our misery
They ain never gon be happy. (Facebook, August 12)
The Rev. Dr. Meredith Garmon reflected on childhood years in the South, and his experience of Confederate monuments.
These aren’t war memorials. They are expressions of backlash against Reconstruction. They were erected during the time when the KKK and lynchings were resurgent, and they were unambiguously intended to affirm the supremacy of white people against a threatening possibility of racial equality. (The Liberal Pulpit, August 17)
The Rev. Chris Buice noted that this is not a time for false peacemaking.
By temperament, I am a peacemaker not a polarizer. However, there are times when we need to ask ourselves the question made famous by an old labor organizing song, “Which side are you on?” (The Tao of Tennessee, August 16)
Jackie Cason shared a vivid metaphor of the infection of American white supremacy.
I keep seeing the image of pus, filling an infected wound that has been stitched closed. . . .
Racism is the deep wound of the United States, one that cannot be stitched closed. The pain is great. I hope that one day the flesh of our nation will heal because we treat the wound properly and are able to eradicate the belief that skin color or language make a person's value better or worse. But I really don't have the answers or the cure. I'm just saying the wound is deep, and infected, and is causing great pain and suffering. (Facebook, August 12)
The Rev. Meg Riley urged white people, including white UUs, to remember that the white nationalists in Charlottesville “are our families.”
These are our children. I watched an interview of a young blonde boy, probably 18 years old, saying he was there ‘for fun’ just the way I’ve heard it said my own grandfather described why he went, at 16, to the white militia’s massacre of black people and destruction of their businesses in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898. “What’s fun about it?” the interviewer asks this young blonde man, and he says, “ I dunno. It just feels good to yell out that White Lives Matter.” And I wonder what else is going on in his life, and I want to sit down and talk to him the way I would to my own child about what got him to this place and where and how he might find a way to a different kind of fun and mattering in the world. These are our children. (Quest for Meaning, August 13)
Carey McDonald had more than a few questions about what happened in Charlottesville.
If you’re a white person and you say you feel threatened, does that give you license to do… anything?
What does it feel like to spit on black and brown people and raise a Nazi salute on Saturday, and then go back to your accounting job on Monday? Is it better than or not quite as good as tailgating the big game? (Medium, August 15)
The Rev. Lisa Bovee–Kemper wrote about “the false equivalency of the antifa/anarchist movements and the alt-right/overt white supremacists.”
Antifa is neither as bad as nor even comparable to the white supremacists we see taking to the streets. Often the street medics and other helpers in an action come out of the antifa or anarchist groups. I want to see non-violent tactics and calm counter-protests because it is what is comfortable to me. But I don't get to dictate what everyone else does. The more time I spend in the Resistance, the more I understand how all kinds of tactics are necessary to force change. I am no longer a pacifist. . . .
This Resistance will be accomplished by pacifists, nonviolent activists, the black bloc, anarchists, people of color, feminists, queers, students, elders, native people, educators, law enforcement, clergy & people of faith, youth & young adults, public servants & soldiers... It will be accomplished by boomers and millennials, and yes, even gen xers... and I can only hope it will be accomplished by members of ALL political parties. (Facebook, August 16)
John Beckett shared ten things he needed to say about Charlottesville, including that “No, Antifa is not just as bad.”
I’m not particularly fond of Antifa – too many of them are looking for a fight. But if anyone thinks the white supremacists just wanted to march peacefully and then go home, you haven’t been paying attention. Listen to their words – they wanted to make people afraid. They’re bullies and the only thing they understand is force.
When you say they’re both the same, you’re assuming that street violence is the worst that can happen. It isn’t. If the Klan and Nazis win, we get segregation, Jim Crow, death camps, and ovens. If Antifa wins, we get… no fascists.
I know which side I’m on. (Under the Ancient Oaks, August 16)
Chris Crass also urged those resisting the Trump agenda to be united, despite their differences.
Any minute you spend debating that the antifa, that the right wing created term,”alt-left”, is violent too, is a minute spent supporting Trump and the ultra-right. The world is uniting against Trump and the ultra-right’s racism. Do not give Trump life support by giving any space, any room to “well the antifa…” unless it is “well the antifa are a critical component of an overall uniting of humanity against white supremacy, against the white supremacy of Trump and the neo-nazis, of the entire Trump agenda.” (The Anarres Project, August 16)
Preparing for rallies in her own new hometown, the Rev. Vanessa Southern prayed for courage and clarity.
It will take all the creative genius we keepers of the larger flame have, to figure out how to steer through all of this ugliness, group fear, and dive back into the American Experiment, forever reborn to itself. Forever stumbling, determinedly forward.
May God and all the ways the holy moves in the world, and Courage and Clarity, however they comes to us, and Love, that we trust will triumph in the end—may they rain down upon us. (Facebook, August 16)
The Rev. Amy Shaw wrote that, “If you are not fighting against them, you are fighting for them.”
In a rabid grizzly’s den, no one argues politics. If they are smart, they work together to kill the mindless monster threatening them all. If they refuse to work together, they are eaten one by one.
The rabid animal is in front of you, carrying a tiki torch and waving a swastika flag.
There are no spectator seats this time. (Facebook, August 16)