The debate happening over social media is in regard to the latest violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The debate involves dealing with Nazis, or KKK members, or white supremacists, or white nationalists or the alt-right. However, which name is correct? What do we call these supposed “troubled young white men”? Or, do we call them anything other than what they want to be called?
It is a fine line for those who are against these white supremacists about how exactly to deal with them. As we’ve seen in Charlottesville, many people form counter-protests and call out supremacists for what they are.
In the case of others, however, including our President, condemnation is swift, but perhaps not strong.
President Trump condemns the “bigotry and violence on many sides,” which many of his supporters say is a condemnation of white supremacists, but seems to–very strategically–leave out said white supremacists.
The “I don’t stand with white supremacists but…” crowd, focus on a skewed view of events, where both the counter-protesters are wrong, and the white supremacists are wrong. But, there would probably be no counter-protesters if there were no one to counter-protest.
Others seem to simply think it best to ignore the white supremacists, treating the groups that represent them as a parent would a child.
“If you ignore them, they have no power,” some across social media have said.
White supremacists only have relevance when the media recognizes them. Ignore them and any other group that assembles from hate.
— Eddie Blair (@CoachEddieBlair) August 14, 2017
But, is that really how we should deal with this? Consider that most of these hate groups no longer cover their faces or hide under white hoods, then it really begs the question on whether or not the media’s role, or anyone’s role is as significant as most would point out.
More to the point, ignorance seems to be their strength in this case. As the right wing media is pointing out, when asked if he would pointedly condemn white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the like, President Trump simply walked away. No true condemnation. Which is a validation for white nationalists.
Only two days after the violence did the President finally decide to call out the groups specifically, likely after realizing that even a few people in his base did not truly appreciate his vague sentiments on August 12.
Ignorance is bliss when it comes to these groups, because it allows them to continue to operate. They continue to show up and disrupt even the most progressive of cities. They continue to grow.
It is also worth noting that some rallies and marches need permits from the city in which they are being held. According to the ACLU, in cases where microphones or other sound amplification devices are needed, there may need to be a permit from the city. Or if the rally takes place at a public park or plaza. If people are to call out these groups for their bigotry, so too should they pay close attention to their government officials who may have allowed this to happen on their watch.
So, do Americans point out and shame these groups when they appear? Or are they to be ignored?
Personally, I believe unless they are held accountable at every turn, these so-called nationalists will continue to be an issue. Evidence shows that the white supremacist movement is growing fast, and may continue to grow. Ignorance gives them power.
Here are some articles and informations about White nationalists, white supremacy, and other hate groups. Keep in mind the events of Charlottesville when reading.