In light of recent events in Charlottesville, VA, I feel I need to respond and get some thoughts out there.
First of all, white nationalism is disgusting.
White nationalism is disgusting and the terrorism that has occurred in Charlottesville is appalling.
Second, I’m a middle-class white male.
I’m a middle-class white male, former pastor who grew up in a small middle-American town. I live in the suburbs where there is no rioting, no protests in the streets and everyone generally wears a smile. I’m insulated. I’m protected. I’m lifted up.
I’m blinded. I’m blinded by privilege. I’m blinded by whiteness. I’m blinded by ignorance.
I will admit that when I read and watch stories of what happened in Charlottesville, I’m intellectually angry and sad. I know that this shouldn’t be happening. That is very different from feeling it. I have to work to feel it. I believe I have worked, and I believe I have felt some of it. Never all of it.
The gist of what I want to say is that I don’t get it. I don’t understand.
The State of Things
That said, I am saddened by the state of things. I used to think “division” was our problem. I think division is what white men can point to. I don’t think anyone else points to division.
I now think that hate is our problem. Hate has targeted and attacked specific groups of people who look different than those doing the hating. Hate marched with torches lit in the streets of Charlottesville. This is not the way forward. Hate is not the way forward.
Hate ultimately comes from fear and insecurity. Hate comes from those who feel threatened. When white men have been ahead for so long, when true equality is spoken of, it feels like a step backwards. It feels like persecution. It is not. To white males: we all win when we stand on a level playing field.
As a white man, I may have to “lose” something in order to level that field. I’m more than okay with that. I see the long game. Short-term, white male, perceived losses enable true equality. We all gain with true equality. We could finally stand together and march forward into the future.
Hate divides. Hate pits us against one another. Hate doesn’t help anyone.
Humanity is better than that.
Humanity wins when we come together.
Humanity wins when we can all have opportunity.
Humanity wins when we can combine and use our different strengths and perspectives.
Humanity wins when black Americans have systems that work for and not against them.
Humanity wins when the LGBT community can be LGBT without scorn or shame.
Humanity wins when refugees can find safety and security and new homes.
Humanity wins when women have the same opportunities and compensation.
Humanity wins when the disabled are seen as powerful and able and a benefit to society.
Humanity wins when we are all empowered.
Hate ultimately never wins.
We will move forward. We will do it together.