Charlottesville: Words Matter

Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“Hate” is a powerful bullet of a word that carries the force of all destructive emotions behind it, unless it’s used as a euphemism in place of racism, as Donald Trump did in his statement on Charlottesville this weekend: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Here, the word fails to communicate truth. There was a group of white Americans who gathered to promote hatred, bigotry and violence on one side; there was a group of Americans who gathered in protest of this hatred, bigotry and violence on the other. Donald Trump’s words fail those who fight injustice. His words will fail to open the eyes of anyone who may not have previously wanted to see that racism exists. Religious intolerance exists. Xenophobia exists. Homophobia exists. Transphobia exists. Yes in America. Yes in 2017.

Euphemisms are employed to avoid conflict and confrontation. If it was “white nationalists” who gathered at Emancipation Park to protest the removal of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee’s statue, who was it that carried torches and held up Nazi flags and walked beside former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke as violence broke out?

White supremacists.

Who was it that slammed a car into a group of counter-protesters?

A terrorist.

Refusal to label white supremacists their due name for the sake of — I’m not sure what, keeping the peace? Not causing a disruption? Appealing to both sides? — only bolsters their cause. Silence is just as deafening. It sends a message that there’s no “right” side to take, that there’s no need for action or vocality if it’s disruptive or inconvenient. It enables apathy and breeds ignorance. It lets white supremacists so far off the hook that Neo-Nazis interpreted Trump’s statement as being in support of their cause. There is no being democratic or even-handed when it comes to white supremacy.

“On Saturday,” wrote New Jersey Senator Cory Booker in an Instagram-shared statement, “President Trump demonstrated a hateful hypocrisy in failing to name the Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, Alt-Right hate for what it is: not only the cause of the horrific violence in Virgina, but the evil enemy of our Nation’s hope and promise.”

Swipe for the full statement.

A post shared by Cory Booker (@corybooker) on

“It is up to us to do more than just look upon the violence and hate on display in Virginia with disapproval,” Senator Cory Booker said in slide two of the above post. In slide three: “Condemnation is expected. Anger is understood. But only hope, work, sacrifice and struggle will yield progress. The focus should not just be about what ‘they’ did in Virgina, but what we will do if we are to advance our nation toward greater justice.”

Indifference and inaction are complicity. Take a stand.

Below, resources to help you do so.
– Search by zip code to find a Charlottesville solidarity gathering near you
– Donate to the Charlottesville branch of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Donate to help Virginia youths injured in the rally
– Donate to support Alexis and Noelle Morris, who were both injured during the rally
– Donate to help cover medical expenses for anti-racist protesters who have been injured, both here and here
– Donate to the Black Lives Matter branch in Charlottesville
– Donate to the Black Student alliance at University of Virginia
– Donate to the Hillel branch at University of Virginia
Email the only synagogue in Charlottesville and tell them you’d like to donate
– Donate to help Deandre Harris, whose skull was cracked open by white domestic terrorists
Call your representatives if they haven’t condemned what’s happening in Charlottesville
– Make a donation to Charlottesville Pride, which supports the LGBTQ population in Charlottesville
Search Facebook for vigils near you
Donate to Southern Poverty Law Center to help felt the alt-right through legal advocacy
Donate to Charlottesville NAACP
The New York Times put together a guide on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Listen to the Times’ podcast, ‘The Daily’, to learn more as well
– Donate to the Minority Rights Coalition at University of Virginia
– Check out this list of resources organized by UVA faculty, spanning everything from counseling to finding scholarships for students from under-served groups.

If you have more to add, please share them in the comments below. We will update the list periodically.

For more posts on Man Repeller about how to channel your energy into activism, start with these five steps. A longer list of resources can be found here

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond is a writer, creative consultant, and Man Repeller alumnus living in New York City.

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