Race-hatred is being fanned across the U.S. but also in many other countries. Both right-wing politicians and certain media fuel discontent, repeatedly and incorrectly heaping blame on those who are different. The campaign for Brexit was a flagrant example of a nationalist, isolationist discourse with heavy racist undertones.
This weekend, alt-right groups including the KKK marched armed and unmasked through the university campus in Charlottesville sporting flags with swastikas. A Nazi sympathiser, James Alex Fields Jr., ploughed his car into a group of people protesting the neo-nazi rally. Heather D. Heyer, a paralegal who “was a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised”, was killed and nineteen others injured. Fields is being charged with murder. The tepid response of the authorities and local police has been severely criticised. A.G. Sessions has promised a federal enquiry into the events, but, given his long track record of support for racist policies, it seems unlikely to throw any useful light on the situation.
The world is awash with indignation at Trump’s refusal to condemn the acts of white supremacists. Only two days after the event and under great public pressure did the President read a prepared speech condemning the right-wing organisations that caused the trouble. As Ta-Nehisi Coates explains in his interview on Democracy Now (see below), we should not be surprised at Trump’s position given his life-long adherence to racist positions.
It is not only right-wing politicians that advocate such racist attitudes but also those centrists whose timid response acts as tacit encouragement. The First Amendment in the States, which is used as a shield to condone hateful and damaging discourse, runs foul of another basic tenet of American life: all peoples are equal.
The underlying question here is: how come these people who advocate the exclusion of certain groups of the population supposedly because they are inferior, can march unmasked through the streets of a so-called civilised nation and kill those people who are opposed to them?
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Photo source: Vox, Samuel Corum, Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Brennan Gilmore, Politico | What I Saw in Charlottesville Could Be Just the Beginning
Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept | Donald Trump Has Been a Racist All His Life – And He Isn’t Going to Change After Charlottesville
Owen Jones, The Guardian | Who has fanned the flames of fascism? Our politicians and newspapers