On August 12, 2017, racism once again proved its prevalence in the modern United States.
Unite the Right, an alt-right organization, held a rally protesting the removal of Confederate Army commander Robert E. Lee’s statue from Emancipation Park, formerly called Lee Park, in Charlottesville, Virginia. They carried tiki torches and proudly waved Ku Klux Klan and Nazi flags in their march through Charlotteville the night before one of their white supremacist marchers mowed down counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyers. These events rang a disturbingly crisp similarity to those black-and-white photos seen in history books that describe racism, the KKK, and white supremacists as notions of the past.Until this administration, I never thought there would be a day where late-night comedy show hosts were better equipped at producing concise responses against the terror and racism still present in our country than the person holding the position as President of the United States. There may be those who claim that the First Amendment protects these people in their racist motives and waving of the Nazi flag; however, further scrutiny shows this is not true, as “. . . the Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence."
Despite what history textbooks have taught both my generation and most likely this one as well, racism and prejudice are still prevalent in our society and it has not been left in the past. If marches and attacks like the ones in Charlottesville, Virginia and Charleston, North Carolina are indications, we are not finished in this battle for civil rights.
We have to stand strong alongside our peers in this continuous fight for the civil right to live peacefully in a nation that has promised freedom for decades. When people say “I’m not racist, but...,” they are invalidating their argument of them not being racist. We are never going to improve as a nation that boasts freedom if we keep shoving these hateful actions under the metaphorical rug, ignoring them until another horrific attack of hatred happens. We need to continue having discussions about racism.
Despite Trump saying that there was blame to be put on “many sides,” there is only one side of this issue that the United States must be on: the one not supporting neo-Nazis and racists.