The Cowardice of Racists

The unfortunate and tragic events of Charlottesville revealed again that white supremacists live in their hatred but are wont to expose themselves as such.

Charlottesville was different from white hate activities in the past where participants terrorized people of color usually at night, brandishing torches and covering themselves with white sheets so nobody could see who they were.

The participants on Friday night and Saturday were bold and let their faces be shown, partially because they feel empowered and emboldened by the current US president.

But the cowardice pushed through in the violence they committed. Being violent is an easy way out. Trying to kill what you do not understand is an act of cowardice because it keeps one from doing the work of being a human being. It is easy to proclaim hatred for something which one has objectified because it forms Buber’s  classic I-it relationship. Such relationships are not “relationships” in the classic sense at all, but rather creates an environment where the object is considered to be non-human and therefore, not worth the time to getting to know and understand.

If I do not regard you as a human being, I cannot empathize with you…and I will not.

That is a cowardly way to live because it gives an excuse for not examining one’s own feelings, and why they are as they are. Racists almost never come face to face with themselves and are therefore capable of destroying the “objects” of their hatred with not a whisk of emotion. That’s why racists in our history were able to lynch black people on, say, a Saturday night and go to church and either take or distribute Holy Communion. In their minds, there is no disconnect. They cannot acknowledge that they are wrong because they do not believe they are wrong.

This was evident in the “statement” given by the president. There was absolutely no compassion, no passion, no anger, no rage – nothing – as he uttered his prepared statement. This from a man who has publicly flogged his attorney general and the former head of the FBI; this from a man who nearly blew his top when acts of terrorism were committed in other countries. But on this occasion, the president was bland and disconnected from the pain and the terror displayed by angry white men who say they are on the road to making America “great again.”

He could show no passion because he has no passion when it comes to racism. His actions to date have indicated that he believes in white supremacy, and the policies coming from his administration indicate that he wants to put it back into its rightful place.

He was being “politically correct” to the likes of David Duke in his statement. He does not want to lose the support of whites who, like him, believe in white supremacy.

And so he buckled under the pressure. He gave a perfunctory statement and seemed uncomfortable doing so. He showed that he is more afraid of the David Dukes of the world than he is of a man like Kim Jong Un or Vladimir Putin. He did not, could not dare to threaten his white supremacist supporters, keeping true to his tradition of threatening and bullying people with whom he disagrees or who disappoint him.

He agrees with what was done yesterday. And they did not disappoint him.

It is ironic that many of this president’s supporters say they like him because he “tells it like it is.” They say he is “strong,” I guess equating bullying with being strong.

But he doesn’t have the strength to “tell it like it is” when it comes to racism. Few racists do. The white nationalist culture is a tough one and will excommunicate those who fall out of line, if the stories I’ve heard about what happens to those who “defect” are true.

The president showed the cowardly underbelly of the sickness called white supremacy.

He is not strong at all, but as a leader, is about as weak as they come.

A candid observation …


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