Hornell stands with Charlottesville

 

This article was written by Lee Marcus of Arkport, NY

 


In the aftermath of national tragedy, you sometimes feel you have to do something, even if it’s only something symbolic. Many people around the Hornell area felt that way after the tragedy in Charlottesville last weekend, and some forty of us showed up in downtown Hornell on Monday to express our dismay. We held signs we had quickly penned on the way, or even on the hood of a car right there in the parking lot. We made speeches out of our life stories and from the thoughts we had while driving over about the frightening and terrible images we had seen on TV, images of people in Charlottesville with whom we so easily identify. The victims there had been protesting against a hate group who wanted tio “take back their country.” What country was that? The white one.

 

The country that murdered millions of native people, whole tribes of them, to take their land, and has never atoned for those crimes against humanity. The country that hunted down native people in Africa, tore them from their families and their homeland, sold them as commodities, built an economy dependent on their forced, unpaid labor, and tried in every possible way to dehumanize them. Failed in that, but never atoned. That’s the “country” the Neo-Nazis and Alt-Right want back. They have come out of hiding with torches and weapons and parades because they have permission. They finally have a president who’s on their side, or so it seems. They see themselves on the rise.

 

They’re cowards. Like schoolyard bullies, they have only violence on their side. They can’t compete in the marketplace of ideas, because their only idea is that white might is right, and they know that’s stupid.

 

Why did they choose Charlottesville for their display of ignorance and cowardice? Because the people of Charlottesville were doing something smart. They were beginning to atone, in a tiny, symbolic way. Charlottesville decided, through democratic process, to remove from public places the statuary that celebrates white supremacy and depicts Civil War leaders as heroes. Mayor Michael Signer said his city has opted for a truer version of their history. Confederate leaders were men who committed treason against the United States of America, and they lost the war. Since when do patriots celebrate their enemies’ leaders?

 

There will be more Neo-Nazi and white supremacist actions in our country, their leaders full of praise for Donald Trump. We live in difficult times. I want to suggest two things that might help, and I’m speaking now to white people. 1) Let’s go after the roots of white supremacy by learning about its more elusive cousin, white privilege. It’s time. And 2) Let’s turn with open hearts to the leadership of Native American and African American people. They have, by necessity, paid attention all their lives to the currents and undercurrents of hatred in our culture. I think they’re waiting for us to catch up.

 

 

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About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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40 Responses to Hornell stands with Charlottesville

  1. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Between the World and Me —
    by
    Ta-Nehisi-Coates

  2. pystew says:

    (from Wikipedia-–>) Beteeen_the_World_and_Me is a 2015 book written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and published by Spiegel & Grau. It is written as a letter to the author’s teenaged son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being black in the United States. Coates recapitulates the American history and explains to his son the “racist violence that has been woven into American culture.” Coates draws from an abridged, autobiographical account of his youth in Baltimore, detailing the ways in which institutions like the school, the police, and even “the streets” discipline, endanger, and threaten to disembody black men and women. MORE.

  3. cathkestler says:

    Shared this on my timeline. Beautifully written from the heart.

  4. pystew says:

    I am thankful Lee shares her wrtings with us.

  5. k pitcher says:

    Paragraph two is way over the top. Our country is guilty of some shameful things. Every thing cited was normal and commonplace for the era that it occurred
    There is nothing for which “atonement” or “reparations” are owed.
    (For the record, Americans never “hunted down Africans”, Arabs and other Africans performed that duty”)
    As a white person I hold my head high, with out guilt. I treat all others as equals, and will continue to do so. I will continue to disparage any group that holds themselves to be superior to any other group. I will speak out at any and all injustice and call the perpetrators to account.
    What I will not do is take on any responsibility or guilt for anything that has ever occurred or will occur that I had no direct hand in.
    I

  6. whungerford says:

    I see your point but disagree: even though some outrageous historical events occurred before we were born, consequences linger making us all complicit.

  7. Rynstone says:

    All of this violence is leaving law breakers with the impression that they can destroy property and not be held accountable for that.
    Watch this video as the young woman who was inspired by the actions in Charlotteesville, VA destroyed property is arrested in Durham, NC. Sadly the crowd is heard chanting “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand” as she is lead away in handcuffs. This is work of Marxism using black lives matter, antifa and other “progressive” left groups to do their dirty work of destroying America.

    A tyrannical Mayor in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWIiRvGc8W4

  8. Arthur Ahrens says:

    A disgusting post.

    All of this violence is leaving law breakers with the impression that they can destroy property and not be held accountable for that. ……………….If you are talking about the nazis, the white nationalists, the KKK, I am afraid that you are absolutely right. Trump has given his blessing that even murder is acceptable in their cause.

    As for the rest of your piece…
    This is absolutely great propaganda, worthy of Goebbels.
    The Big Lie and the False Equivalency.
    Marxism = Black Lives Matter = Antifa = Lawbreaking

    Antifa – violent action against fascists. I am against violent action. And I am virulently against fascism. FYI – it was fascists responsible for 3 deaths this weekend. Not antifa. Pay attention.

    Black Lives Matter – I stand with my fellow citizens. If you don’t, shame on you.

    Marxism – and here is the lie. Where is this equivalent to anything?????

    As far as illegally destroying property. Yup, they did that. And I admire them for it. Just as I have always admired the patriots in the Boston Tea Party who ILLEGALLY destroyed Tea in Boston Harbor as a protest against tyranny.
    The destroyed statue glorified a traitor to MY COUNTRY. And was protected by a recently enacted law in anticipation of its removal.
    The statue was an abomination, as was the law.
    Civil disobedience in the face of immoral law is PATRIOTISM. Just as much as the Boston Tea Party was.
    The people who removed it are patriots. Unlike you.

    And now the governor of Virginia is calling for ALL statues that glorify the confederacy. It is time and past.

    The confederates were traitors. Each and every one.

    And I am proud to stand against them, and every single fascist who wants to tear my country apart.

  9. Arthur Ahrens says:

    K pitcher–

    Nothing owed??? Are you kidding me?

    Normal and commonplace? NO. When did Britain end slavery? Long before the US. When did France? Long before the US. You need to brush up on your history.

    Who purchased the human beings that were stolen from their homes? That would be….Americans. Who kept them as slaves? Americans.

    Is there a single treaty between the American Aboriginies and the US government that was upheld by the US? A single one? Nope.

    Have you ever seen the signs celebrating Sullivan’s march? That was ordered by G. Washington. Sullivan destroyed more than 40 Iroquois villages AND their winter crops. No food in the winter = No Iroquois. A clear act of genocide.

    Don’t even get me started on the murderer and Trump’s hero, Andrew Jackson.

    Everything in this country is the result of theft from human beings or slavery of human beings.

    If you own property in NYS, it is property that was stolen from its rightful owners. You are complicit.

    Read your history. Learn the truth.

  10. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Every Republican must sign a censure of the president.

    INCLUDING —Tom Reed NY-23
    http://wapo.st/2wfBkLQ?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.77e2a18588a3

  11. k pitcher says:

    Oh, I know my history! The Iroquois sided with our enemy during the Revolutionary War. Their land and property were sacked as a legitimate war tactic,and by warring against us forfeited their claim to land as any vanquished foe does.
    The Cayugas were paid three times for their land,they just have an unfortunate habit of whatever clan is present claiming to represent the whole nation when that was not the truth. The purchasers were sold land that the sellers had no authority to sell.
    The Natives were used by the British as a shock and terror force committing the kind of atrocities that the British forces were not comfortable with.
    If you feel you must atone for something, I really pity you. Unless you were there, unless you continue to subject people of color there is nothing to repay.
    Should I go back to Europe and seek reparations from the Gauls for taking my ancestral homeland?
    Of course Americans were slaveholders,but not slave hunters. Is there a difference? As a practical matter no. I brought that up because it was an inaccuracy in the OP essay. That kind of exaggeration and rhetoric has helped bring us to the point we are at today. I had erroneously assumed that the Right was the only faction that employed misinformation,exaggeration, and obfuscation, (Fake News) to make their point. I find now that I was sorely mistaken and the Left,(good guys?),have sunk to the same level.

    White Privilege, Yes I won the lottery by being born white, I go through life without being subjected too obstacles that are placed in front of other races. What am I to do,bow my head and shuffle and stammer, not take employment or educational opportunities until every person of color is satisfied with their station?
    No! That would be ludicrous. What I do is to live my life in a manner where I respect all persons,regardless of station or color. I live my life in an honest and upright manner not seeking to take unfair advantage of anyone. I call out hatred and racism when I see it. What more is expected of me?

    This is the human experience, there are no do overs. We must accept history as just that, events of the past. No amount of reparations will right the wrongs committed in the course of events. We will move forward, lessons will be learned, opinions modified or cemented.

  12. Arthur Ahrens says:

    k pitcher
    You state that “That kind of exaggeration and rhetoric has helped bring us to the point we are at today.”

    Precisely! And there is a lot of that kind of exaggeration and rhetoric in your post.

    One example: “Should I go back to Europe and seek reparations from the Gauls for taking my ancestral homeland?”

    Another example: “What am I to do,bow my head and shuffle and stammer, not take employment or educational opportunities until every person of color is satisfied with their station?”

    That one is a real doozy! Talk about exaggeration! But an informative statement nonetheless.

    Glad you are comfy in your bubble of white privilege.
    Please do not denigrate those of us who are not.

  13. whungerford says:

    In light of Trump’s lament over “our beautiful statues.” I have been thinking about Sullivan’s Monument. Is it a tribute to genocide that ought to come down, or a vaulable reminder of our past?

  14. Arthur Ahrens says:

    whungerford —
    Thank you very much for thinking about it.
    The question will take quite a while to settle.
    But thanks for keeping an open mind.

  15. Rynstone says:

    Arthur,
    Perhaps you can provide a link or two as proof that President Trump “has given his blessing that even murder is acceptable in their cause” regarding the white supremacists, the kkk and the neo-nazis. I have seen no footage of Trump doing this.

    Black Lives Matter is a racist group that will not tolerate any other messages like “all lives matter”. The media has portrayed blm incorrectly with the incorrect narrative that began in Ferguson, MO., Hands Up Don’t Shoot”. This absolutely did not happen. Michael Brown did not have his hands up when stopped by the police office. He was in a physical struggle with the police office reaching thru the police car’s window struggling to get control of the police officers gun.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

    antifa is a group that uses fascist tactics to shut down free speech of anybody that has an opposing view as them. The hate group antifa labels these individuals and groups “fascist” and use violence and intimidation to stop free speech.

    All of these groups, antifa, black lives matter, democratic socialist, social justice warriors, neo-nazis, white supremacists and the kkk use many of teh same words and tactics as Marxists.

    Those who wish to sanitize history to make themselves feel better are wrong. Erasing history is never a good thing. Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.

  16. Rynstone says:

    pystew, I posted two comments Thursday that still show up as “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. I can see the post on my page but do not know if others can see these posts. Please advise
    thank you

  17. Arthur Ahrens says:

    A propaganda piece full of lies.
    Read Mitch Landrieu’s speech here:
    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a55218/new-orleans-mayor-speech-confederate-monuments/

    IMHO – The monuments to traitors should have been removed long ago.

  18. Rynstone says:

    Arthur, What part of the Op-Ed do you consider to be part of the “full of lies” ?
    While much of this Op-Ed piece are this person’s opinions Ben Shapiro does cite some specific examples that one could easily “google” to confirm or disprove.
    Many would certainly would not consider Ben Shapiro’s op-ed “propaganda.

    Should we also then remove the statues of General Sherman who used the authority of the United States to pursue a campaign against humanity as his armies raped and pillaged across teh south. These US armies stole the belongings of not only whites but also blacks. They stole horses, mules, cattle, pigs, any crops they wanted and any other food or drink they could get their hands on. What crops these US armies did not use they burned. These US armies destroyed and burned many manufacturing type of facilities for grains and other consumer goods and foods.

    The US armies under General Sherman with the knowledge of President Lincoln killed, raped and pillaged the civilians in the southern states. Does the north or the US owe reparations to the descendants of those civilians murdered or greatly harmed by the United State’s actions?
    When and where does trying to correct history’s mistakes end? How many generations of people are going to be held accountable for actions taken many many generations ago ?
    Why can’t we all live up to the ideals of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
    Why can’t we all be judged on our own accomplishments, actions and words, not the actions and words of those who came many many generations before us? Why do “special interest” and “minority” groups need special protections? Why do we have to take away freedom of speech because others do not agree with it or offended by it? I have read the US Constitution and have yet to find the part that says I have the right not to be offended.

    The irony is that had the Progressive Left hate groups of antifa, black lives matter, sjw’s and the Southern Poverty Law Center not gone to Charlottesville, VA to confront the hate groups of the neo-nazis, the white supremacists and the kkk no main street media would have covered teh event and nobody would have even known that these groups were there protesting the removal of these historical monuments.

    In closing, there is a very important reason the Germans did not destroy the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Research this and learn the reason for this decision. Those that do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. We have uninformed and uneducated members making up these hate groups on both sides.
    Violence should never be tolerated from any groups. Unfortunately far too many left hate groups know they get good media coverage when they resort to violence and destruction.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea

  19. Arthur Ahrens says:

    K pitcher

    I found a portion of your post disturbing, and needed to consider my reply.

    The Sullivan campaign caused death of thousands of Iroquois by famine and freezing. This would have included women and children as well as warriors. Non combatants. Survivors dispersed to other areas. As a result of the deaths and dispersion, the Iroquois nation ceased to exist.. Their vacant land was soon settled by whites.

    This fits the definition of genocide which is “the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. ”

    You state that “Their land and property were sacked as a legitimate war tactic,and by warring against us forfeited their claim to land as any vanquished foe does.” and “The Natives were used by the British as a shock and terror force committing the kind of atrocities that the British forces were not comfortable with.” You seem unmoved by the atrocity.

    Calling genocide a legitimate war tactic…well, words fail here.

    Justifying the death of thousands by starvation and cold by saying they were a vanquished for…I weep.

    As I said, a very disturbing post.

  20. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Perhaps you remember your insult levied against me today?

    Here’s a portion of it “you are so closed minded it is impossible to have an open and honest discuss or debate with you.” WOW. You sure told me!

    You will forgive me if I forego any further discussion.

  21. Arthur Ahrens says:

    When CEOs who were a part of the Strategic and Policy Forum voted to disband it after Trump’s Charlottesville comments, Trump beat them to the punch by ending the forum.

    At the same time, facing many resignations, again due to his frightening Charlottesville comments, Trump disbanded the President’s Manufacturing Advisory Council.

    Anticipating recruitment problems due to his toxicity, Trump scrapped plans for an infrastructure advisory council.

    But there has not been one resignation from the Evangelical Executive Advisory Board. That would be the board that is composed of self-styled moral leaders.

    Do they not see anything wrong with his comments? Or do they lack the moral courage needed to oppose him?

  22. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Trump’s trotted out his fractured fairy tale involving terrorists, pigs’ blood and Pershing.
    It would be funny if it was your dotty uncle.
    But he is the President of the US for pity sakes.

    Here is a REAL quote from Pershing:
    “A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.”

  23. Arthur Ahrens says:

    This so-called seeker of truth who has an interest in honest and open discussion uses tried and true propaganda techniques and references right wing sources that have no problem employing them either.

    The big lie — The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Used liberally in this post.

    False equivalence — a logical fallacy in which two opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. Used liberally in this post.

    Whataboutism — A propaganda technique formerly used by the Soviet Union in its dealings with the Western world, and subsequently used as a form of propaganda in post-Soviet Russia. When criticisms were leveled at the Soviet Union, the Soviet response would be “What about…” followed by an event in the Western world. Used liberally in this post

    Readers should be aware that the writer is pushing right wing propaganda while protesting he is searching for truth.

  24. Arthur Ahrens says:

    New York City megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard announced Friday that he had stepped down from the unofficial board of evangelical advisers to Trump.
    The rest of the religious leaders remain.

  25. Arthur Ahrens says:

    ALL MEMBERS of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned yesterday.

    Full Text of Resignation Letter (this should go on Reed’s Facebook Page)

    Dear Mr. President:

    Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville. The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions. We are members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The Committee was created in 1982 under President Reagan to advise the White House on cultural issues. We were hopeful that continuing to serve in the PCAH would allow us to focus on the important work the committee does with your federal partners and the private sector to address, initiate, and support key policies and programs in the arts and humanities for all Americans. Effective immediately, please accept our resignation from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

    Elevating any group that threatens and discriminates on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, orientation, background, or identity is un-American. We have fought slavery, segregation, and internment. We must learn from our rich and often painful history. The unified fabric of America is made by patriotic individuals from backgrounds as vast as the nation is strong. In our service to the American people, we have experienced this first-hand as we traveled and built the Turnaround Arts education program, now in many urban and rural schools across the country from Florida to Wisconsin.

    Speaking truth to power is never easy, Mr. President. But it is our role as commissioners on the PCAH to do so. Art is about inclusion. The Humanities include a vibrant free press. You have attacked both. You released a budget which eliminates arts and culture agencies. You have threatened nuclear war while gutting diplomacy funding. The Administration pulled out of the Paris agreement, filed an amicus brief undermining the Civil Rights Act, and attacked our brave trans service members. You have subverted equal protections, and are committed to banning Muslims and refugee women & children from our great country. This does not unify the nation we all love. We know the importance of open and free dialogue through our work in the cultural diplomacy realm, most recently with the first-ever US Government arts and culture delegation to Cuba, a country without the same First Amendment protections we enjoy here. Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed.

    Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions. We took a patriotic oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.

  26. Rynstone says:

    The truth will come out. Will the main street media be honest enough to print it and expose it?

    http://truthuncensored.net/charlottesville-police-come-forward-told-stand-ignite-race-war-video/

    The Governor of VA should order an investigation by the State Police and FBI.

  27. Rynstone says:

    CNN Commentator Calls for Washington/Jefferson Statues to Come Down

  28. Arthur Ahrens says:

    A garbage meme being propagated by the usual far right fake news outlets.
    Can be safely ignored.

  29. Arthur Ahrens says:

    LOL
    A TV pundit voiced an opinion.
    I am SO offended!

  30. Arthur Ahrens says:

    The piece is hilarious:
    Some items of note:
    The alleged cop has come forward but is unnamed. And a FOX reporter backs up the anonymous claims. LOL
    Some quotes from the article:
    “Before landing the Charlottesville mayor job he previously worked closely with Podesta at the Center of American Progress and worked with him again on Barack Obama’s State Department Transition Team.”
    And another:
    “George Soros, Obama, Podesta, Hillary Clinton and company, are pulling out all the stops to create division through chaos and destruction for one purpose – to destroy President Donald Trump.”
    And another, for the ages:
    “Crowds of paid protesters and useful psychopaths are being sent into pitched battle against one another to sour the mood of the nation and further divide us all.”

    Useful psycopaths. Wow.
    I am shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU that the radical left led by Clinton Soros and Obama neglected to recruit zombies to fight the Nazis.
    LOL

  31. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Junk. ignore

  32. Arthur Ahrens says:

    When the statues commemorating traitors to the Union come down, here’s something that should be put up instead:

    The confederate flag — the symbol of LOSERS since May 10, 1865

  33. Arthur Ahrens says:

    This just pointed out to me:

    The first words of each paragraph:
    Reproach
    Elevating
    Speaking
    Ignoring
    Supremacy
    Thank You (which I had inadvertently omitted)

    Read the first letter of each word.

    RESIST

    Brilliant!!

  34. Arthur Ahrens says:

    What White Nationalism Gets Right About American History
    By R. DEREK BLACK AUG. 19, 2017

    My dad often gave me the advice that white nationalists are not looking to recruit people on the fringes of American culture, but rather the people who start a sentence by saying, “I’m not racist, but …”
    The most effective tactics for white nationalists are to associate American history with themselves and to suggest that the collective efforts to turn away from our white supremacist past are the same as abandoning American culture. My father, the founder of the white nationalist website Stormfront, knew this well. It’s a message that erases people of color and their essential role in American life, but one that also appeals to large numbers of white people who would agree with the statement, “I’m not racist, but I don’t want American history dishonored, and this statue of Robert E. Lee shouldn’t be removed.”
    I was raised by the leaders of the white nationalist movement with a model of American history that described a vigorous white supremacist past and once again I find myself observing events in which I once might have participated before I rejected the white nationalist cause several years ago. After the dramatic, horrible and rightly unnerving events in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend, I had to make separate calls: one to make sure no one in my family who might have attended the rally got hurt, and a second to see if any friends at the University of Virginia had been injured in the crowd of counterprotesters.
    On Tuesday afternoon the president defended the actions of those at the rally, stating, “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” His words marked possibly the most important moment in the history of the modern white nationalist movement. These statements described the marchers as they see themselves — nobly driven by a good cause, even if they are plagued by a few bad apples. He said: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”
    But this protest, contrary to his defense, was advertised unambiguously as a white nationalist rally. The marchers chanted, “Jews will not replace us”; in the days leading up to the event, its organizers called it “a pro-white demonstration”; my godfather, David Duke, attended and said it was meant to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump”; and many attendees flew swastika flags. Whatever else you might say about the rally, they were not trying to deceive anyone.
    Almost by definition, the white nationalist movement over the past 40 years has worked against the political establishment. It was too easy for politicians to condemn the movement — even when there was overlap on policy issues — because it was a liability without enough political force to make the huge cost of associating with it worthwhile. Until Tuesday, I didn’t believe that had changed.
    We have all observed the administration’s decisions over the past several months that aligned with the white nationalist agenda, such as limiting or completely cutting off legal and illegal immigration, especially of Hispanics and Muslims; denigrating black communities as criminal and poor, threatening to unleash an even greater police force on them; and going after affirmative action as antiwhite discrimination. But I had never believed Trump’s administration would have trouble distancing itself from the actual white nationalist movement.
    Yet President Trump stepped in to salvage the message that the rally organizers had originally hoped to project: “George Washington was a slave owner,” he said, and asked, “So will George Washington now lose his status?” Then: “How about Thomas Jefferson?” he asked. “Because he was a major slave owner. Now are we going to take down his statue?” He added: “You’re changing history. You’re changing culture.”
    Until Trump’s comments, few critics seemed to identify the larger relationship the alt-right sees between its beliefs and the ideals of the American founders. Charlottesville is synonymous with Jefferson. The city lies at the foot of Monticello and is the home of the University of Virginia, the school he founded. Over the years I’ve made several pilgrimages to Charlottesville, both when I was a white nationalist and since I renounced the ideology. While we all know that Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, which declared that “all men are created equal,” his writings also offer room for explicitly white nationalist interpretation.
    My father observed many times that the quotation from Jefferson’s autobiography embedded on the Jefferson Memorial is deceptive because it reads, “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these [the Negro] people are to be free.” It does not include the second half of the sentence: “Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.”
    Jefferson’s writings partly inspired the American colonization movement, which encouraged the return of free black people to Africa — a goal that was pursued even by Abraham Lincoln during the first years of the Civil War.
    The most fundamental legislative goal of the white nationalist movement is to limit nonwhite immigration. It is important to remember that such limits were in place during the lifetimes of many current white nationalists; it was the default status until the 1960s. In the 1790s, the first naturalization laws of the United States Congress limited citizenship to a “free white person.”
    Legislation in the 1920s created quotas for immigration based on national origin, which placed severe restrictions on the total number of immigrants and favored northern and western European immigration. It was only with the civil rights movement of the 1960s that the national origin quota system was abolished and Congress fully removed the restriction favoring white immigrants.
    I’m not offering these historical anecdotes to defame the history of the country. I’m not calling for Jefferson’s statue to be removed along with the Confederate memorials. I do, however, think it is essential that we recognize that the white nationalist history embedded in American culture lends itself to white nationalist rallies like the one in Charlottesville. If you want to preserve Confederate memorials, but you don’t work to build monuments to historical black leaders, you share the same cause as the marchers.
    Until Tuesday I believed the organizers of the rally had failed in their goal to make their movement more appealing to average white Americans. The rally superimposed Jefferson’s image on that of a pseudo K.K.K. rally and brought the overlap between Jefferson and white nationalist ideas to mind for anyone looking to find them. But the horrific violence that followed seemed to hurt their cause.
    And then President Trump intervened. His comments supporting the rally gave new purpose to the white nationalist movement, unlike any endorsement it has ever received. Among its followers, being at that rally will become something to brag about, and some people who didn’t want to be associated with extremism will now see the cause as more mainstream. When the president doesn’t provide condemnation that he has been pressed to give, what message does that send but encouragement?
    The United States was founded as a white nationalist country, and that legacy remains today. Things have improved from the radical promotion of white people at the expense of all others, which has persisted for most of our history, yet most of us have not accepted the extent to which white identity guides so much of what we still do. Sometimes it seems that the white nationalists are most honest about the very real foundation of white supremacy upon which our nation was built.
    The president’s words legitimized the worst of our country, and now the white nationalist movement could be poised to grow. To challenge these messages, we need to acknowledge the continuity of white nationalist thought in American history, and the appeal it still holds.
    It is a fringe movement not because its ideas are completely alien to our culture, but because we work constantly to argue against it, expose its inconsistencies and persuade our citizens to counter it. We can no longer count on the country’s leader to do this, so it’s now incumbent upon all of us.

    R. Derek Black is a graduate student in history, focusing on the early Middle Ages.

  35. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Confederate Statues and ‘Our’ History
    New York Times
    By ERIC FONERAUG. 20, 2017

    President Trump’s Thursday morning tweet lamenting that the removal of Confederate statues tears apart “the history and culture of our great country” raises numerous questions, among them: Who is encompassed in that “our”?
    Mr. Trump may not know it, but he has entered a debate that goes back to the founding of the republic. Should American nationality be based on shared values, regardless of race, ethnicity and national origin, or should it rest on “blood and soil,” to quote the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., whom Trump has at least partly embraced?
    Neither Mr. Trump nor the Charlottesville marchers invented the idea that the United States is essentially a country for white persons. The very first naturalization law, enacted in 1790 to establish guidelines for how immigrants could become American citizens, limited the process to “white” persons.
    What about nonwhites born in this country? Before the Civil War, citizenship was largely defined by individual states. Some recognized blacks born within their boundaries as citizens, but many did not. As far as national law was concerned, the question was resolved by the Supreme Court in the infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857. Blacks, wrote Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (a statue of whom was removed from public display in Baltimore this week), were and would always be aliens in America.
    This was the law of the land when the Civil War broke out in 1861. This is the tradition that the Southern Confederacy embodied and sought to preserve and that Mr. Trump, inadvertently or not, identifies with by equating the Confederacy with “our history and culture.”
    Many Americans, of course, rejected this racial definition of American nationality. Foremost among them were abolitionists, male and female, black and white, who put forward an alternative definition, known today as birthright citizenship. Anybody born in the United States, they insisted, was a citizen, and all citizens should enjoy equality before the law. Abolitionists advocated not only the end of slavery, but also the incorporation of the freed people as equal members of American society.
    In the period of Reconstruction that followed the war, this egalitarian vision was, for the first time, written into our laws and Constitution. But the advent of multiracial democracy in the Southern states inspired a wave of terrorist opposition by the Ku Klux Klan and kindred groups, antecedents of the Klansmen and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville. One by one the Reconstruction governments were overthrown, and in the next generation white supremacy again took hold in the South.
    When Mr. Trump identifies statues commemorating Confederate leaders as essential parts of “our” history and culture, he is honoring that dark period. Like all monuments, these statues say a lot more about the time they were erected than the historical era they evoke. The great waves of Confederate monument building took place in the 1890s, as the Confederacy was coming to be idealized as the so-called Lost Cause and the Jim Crow system was being fastened upon the South, and in the 1920s, the height of black disenfranchisement, segregation and lynching. The statues were part of the legitimation of this racist regime and of an exclusionary definition of America.
    The historian Carl Becker wrote that history is what the present chooses to remember about the past. Historical monuments are, among other things, an expression of power — an indication of who has the power to choose how history is remembered in public places.
    If the issue were simply heritage, why are there no statues of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, one of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s key lieutenants? Not because of poor generalship; indeed, Longstreet warned Lee against undertaking Pickett’s Charge, which ended the battle of Gettysburg. Longstreet’s crime came after the Civil War: He endorsed black male suffrage and commanded the Metropolitan Police of New Orleans, which in 1874 engaged in armed combat with white supremacists seeking to seize control of the state government. Longstreet is not a symbol of white supremacy; therefore he was largely ineligible for commemoration by those who long controlled public memory in the South.
    As all historians know, forgetting is as essential to public understandings of history as remembering. Confederate statues do not simply commemorate “our” history, as the president declared. They honor one part of our past. Where are the statues in the former slave states honoring the very large part of the Southern population (beginning with the four million slaves) that sided with the Union rather than the Confederacy? Where are the monuments to the victims of slavery or to the hundreds of black lawmakers who during Reconstruction served in positions ranging from United States senator to justice of the peace to school board official? Excluding blacks from historical recognition has been the other side of the coin of glorifying the Confederacy.
    We have come a long way from the days of the Dred Scott decision. But our public monuments have not kept up. The debate unleashed by Charlottesville is a healthy re-examination of the question “Who is an American?” And “our” history and culture is far more complex, diverse and inclusive than the president appears to realize.

  36. Arthur Ahrens says:

    The quote below sounds quite a lot like some of the detestable posts in this thread.

    “This is only the beginning, believe me – Whitey is done being pushed around by Marxist/Anarchist/Leftist anti-White scum, time for pushback!”
    David Duke Louisiana
    Former leader of the Ku Klux Klan
    Aug. 12, 2017, in a tweet from Charlottesville.

    Marxist=Anarchist=Leftist=anti-White
    I wondered where the tripe originated.

  37. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Why is this awaiting moderation after 4 days?

  38. pystew says:

    Arthur—I have to review the settings. It is suppose to accept comments from people who have been approved once. Sorry about that.

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