Today and over the past 24 hours we’ve witnessed the acceptance of racist hatred in Charlottesville Virginia. Last night in an open display of hatred white supremacists marched through a university campus with lit torches in a blatant act of intimidation towards anyone they consider unamerican. Today we seen another white supremacist March which was always going to end in violence, and ultimately ended in the loss of life.
The President has clearly refused to condemn white supremacist terror and even after his initial statement he refused to offer condolences to one of those killed and the many who were injured. His comments will be interpreted by the extreme right as tacit acceptance. He is very much aware and indeed was reminded by white supremacist leaders that he enjoys their support. This President is not known for tact or diplomacy when condemning anyone from North Korea, Muslims, Mexicans and even the media when he disagrees with them, yet he has refused to call white supremacists out on their actions. The fact he was elected says a lot about white America.
The burning torches last night were symbolic of the KKK. The car driving in to an anti racist protest a vivid reminder of the incident in Ardoyne when a young woman was injured in the same way for very similar reasons.
We also have hatred in this country on the grounds of national identity, sexuality, gender, racism and women’s healthcare rights. It is no exaggeration to call this out as hatred, neither is it wrong to draw comparisons with the events in Charlottesville. The burning torches here are terrorist flags, bonfires, parades, attacks on people motivated by hate/ elitism/fear/ignorance and while not all bonfires or parades are wrong, or are designed to intimidate or cause trouble, those that are should be deemed unacceptable by government and the community. Racist attacks, obstructing and intimidating women/girls from accessing healthcare should also be unacceptable by any normal community or government. Homophobic hate crimes including incitement should also be treated for what they are and should have no place in a normal society.
Unfortunately we too have political leaders who have excused if not promoted discrimination and intimidation on all the grounds outlined above. We have our very own Trump in the form of Arlene Foster, who had the audacity to say she feels hurt when referred to as homophobic. She justified this comment by saying her opposition to marriage equality did not mean she hated Gay people. Arlenes comment may have had some credibility if as DUP party leader she took action against those members of her party who clearly are homophobic. To continue to allow Edwin Poots who illegally banned Gay men to donate blood, to remain in the party she leads, she is endorsing his views. By allowing Sammy Wilson to refer to Gay People as Poofs & Queers without any sanction, she endorses his views. By refusing to expel Jim Wells who has made so many hate speeches against the LGBT+ Community she endorses his views. She is there party leader and these are not comments of the distant past, though they’ve changed little. They are bang up to date views still being expressed by recently elected senior politicians and they promote hate and misplaced moral superiority.
Most of us are outraged at what happened and is happening in America today. Most of us are equally outraged by the hatred and discrimination that takes place here and many people are challenging it on a daily basis. More of us need too, just because we’ve got used to it, we should never miss an opportunity to challenge it. We have supremacists of our own and they have support for political expediency.