Letter: White nationalism's troubling rise

Posted

To The Editor:

In recent days and months the subject of race and racism in America has taken over news headlines more than ever. This feels incredible, somehow, given that it is 2018 and so very much time has passed since the milestone civil rights marches and legislation of the 1960s. Yet in the current "political" climate, the truth has come out and it turns out that racism is most definitely alive and well in the USA. Most recently, we've got black men being arrested at a Starbucks for asking to use a bathroom without having yet bought a cup of coffee and white people, in a disturbing array of instances, calling the police on black citizens for: moving into their own apartment/cooking out in a park/napping in a college common room where they are a student/leaving an Airbnb while being black. And this, of course, on top of the endless stream of disturbing images of police violence against minority citizens recorded on cell phone videos across the country day after day and throughout the past many years.

On an equally if not more disturbing level, the rise in Nazi and other white supremacist rhetoric and recruiting is a real and true threat to the health and safety of all of us. White supremacist leaflets have been left in schools and college campuses in other areas around the country but yes, also here in Vermont in local libraries. The hatred is real, it is irrational, it is toxic and it is spreading. When one reads in a recent Rolling Stone article of the sad case of four young hate-filled white men and their decline into the dark world of Nazism and the radical white supremacist "underground," it becomes obvious that this is, without a doubt, domestic terrorism. For the federal government, the FBI and local law enforcement not to view it as such is a danger to us all. Young people of certain life situations and psychological profiles are being manipulated and brainwashed on online sites, including public gaming platforms. This online recruiting and indoctrination is exactly what we've previously learned of regarding ISIS and other international terrorist organizations. But when it happens on our own soil and all the members and organizers are white, somehow it is not viewed as terrorism; yet the methods and the goals are the same.

We are in a national crisis on the topic of race, one that challenges our lawmakers, police officers, school administrators and teachers, citizens and activists to step up and do the right thing, the reactive and proactive thing; pass the necessary laws and offer oversight on racial justice and educate our children on the fundamental principles of cultivating respect for people of all colors and religions. We may not have all the answers as to how to combat this growing blight in our nation but awareness is the first step. For more information on the widespread existence and growth of hate groups and radical right militia activity in this nation, the Southern Poverty Law Center is always a great resource, www.splcenter.org.

Additionally, please stay tuned to the local newspapers for press releases about upcoming pro-diversity events in our area or visit MoveOn Manchester on Facebook.

Jonathan Fine

Dorset


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