This past Saturday, a vast amount of protestors gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, to participate in the “Unite the Right” rally, a rally intended to acknowledge white nationalistic behaviour in America. The rally commenced at noon hour though was promptly disrupted by police officials due to violent interactions between protestors and counter-protestors. The riot was organized by Jason Kessler, a self-proclaimed “pro-white” activist in an attempt to protest the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park in the city. Kessler’s riot welcomed radical groups of white nationalists, specifically neo-nazis and Ku Klux Klan supporters, and thus far three people have been killed and thirty-three people have been injured as a result of the violent clashes occurring during the rally. Twenty-year-old James Alex Fields have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder after driving his car into a group of counter-protestors and killing thirty-two year-old Heather Heyer.
Many individuals have taken to social media to express their outrage regarding the events occurring in Charlottesville. Matt McDermott tweeted “That hundreds of Nazis can take to the streets torches ablaze, with no ramifications, is literally the definition of white privilege” while Darren Schroeder tweeted “Imagine being a WWII vet who stormed Normandy and tore down Nazi banners only to see “patriotic Americans” toting swastikas in 2017″.
I find it difficult to put into words how absolutely horrified and furthermore disgusted I am in regards to the amount of white supremacist activity that continues to thrive in contemporary society. For white individuals to attempt to suggest that they are oppressed or underrepresented in any manner is absolutely ridiculous, in my own opinion, and the extreme to which the riots in Charlottesville have been taken to is inexcusable.
It is comforting to convince oneself that racism is no longer a prevalent force in this world, however this simply fails to be true. Racism is alive and well, and to comprehend the fact that counter-protestors participating in these riots were actually murdered for taking a stand against injustice and discrimination is to recognize the concept that white, nationalistic bigotry is a very real occurrence in contemporary society.