The sins of our fathers: it’s our time to make amends

I equally can’t and can believe this is happening. That today, over halfway through 2017, we’re still arguing over whether people chanting racist slurs and complaining about “white oppression” are wrong or right or Nazis.

Hey, guys — they’re Nazis. It’s simple. When you become a white supremacist, you are buying into the same ideals that rose to power in Germany in the 30s. And when you sit by and look to the side so they can pass you by, when you shrug and say, “Well, freedom of speech…”, when you refuse to condemn because you don’t think we can legislate morality…you are complicit. No, you might not be circling a Black church in Charlottesville or ramming your car into counter-protesters, but you are standing by and doing nothing, and that, my friends, makes you equally responsible.

Listen, I recognize that writing this post might be futile, because people are rarely convinced by logical arguments and whatnot. But at the same time, I have to do it. Because what happened this weekend in Virginia was…disgusting. And what I’m seeing from fellow white people, especially white Christians who have little to fear, is a lot of nothing. No condemnation, no horror, no disgust. Nothing.

Well, that’s wrong. I am seeing something. I’m seeing a shrugging off of responsibility. An attitude that says, I am not like these people, I am not a Nazi, therefore I have nothing to apologize for and well, it’s not my fault so I shouldn’t have to speak out against it.

The internet won’t tell me definitively who said it, but someone once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” And even though I can’t tell you exactly who said it, I can tell you it’s true.

So if you’re a “good man” (er, person) you can’t sit back and do and say nothing. Speaking out against these acts is the bare minimum.

And you know what? Sure, I didn’t personally step out in hate in Charlottesville. But I am a white woman, and it is true that 53 percent of white women in America voted for Trump. It’s also true that he refused to specifically condemn white supremacy, and that the website The Daily Stormer (which I won’t link to because it’s disgusting), took his comments as positive reinforcement of their beliefs, including “God Bless Him” at the end of their rundown of his statement. I mean, when Nazis are saying you’re on their side…you’re on their side.

So there’s that fact: I did not personally vote for Trump, but the majority of white women did. Because white women all benefit from a system of white supremacy. Yes: women as a whole earn 79 percent of what men do. But wait, there’s more! Black women earn 67 cents to the white man’s dollar. Aka, white women, while still earning less than white men, earn more than Black women. There is inequality in this country, and inevitably white people come on top; and while white men benefit the most, white women definitely benefit from a system of white supremacy.

And that’s what I’m apologizing for. No, I didn’t choose to be born white and privileged, able-bodied and straight. But I was. And I live in a country that gives me privileges based on those factors. And the very least I can do is recognize that privilege, apologize for it, and work to equalize the playing field.

White men are scared — why? They’re not in any real danger; unless that’s the danger of losing their advantage.

And no, this is not a post where you can come and “not all white people” or “not all men” me. I’m not here for that.

I’m simply here to say, listen, fellow white people, we’ve been privileged all throughout history. We’ve been afforded and we’ve taken power and advantage where we could, and we’ve downtrodden everyone else. And sure, maybe it wasn’t this current generation of white people who killed and corralled and stole Native American lives and land. Maybe it wasn’t our generation who enslaved Black people and then freed them but kept them subjugated. Maybe it wasn’t this generation who imprisoned Japanese people in internment camps. But it is this generation who is refusing to open our doors to Muslim immigrants and refugees who are forced to leave their own homes out of fear for their lives. It is this generation who is so afraid we’re OK with building a freaking wall just to keep out Mexicans. It is this generation of white people who have benefitted from a history of white supremacy, and it is this generation of white people whose job it is to stand up and say “Enough already, it’s time to equalize.”

Maybe that means minimizing ourselves in order to be equal. Maybe it just means grabbing someone’s hand and helping them along. Either way: do what you have to do to make up for the sins of our fathers.

I mean, guys, come on, this is Biblical! In the book of Daniel, he prays and asks forgiveness not only for his own sins, but for those of his fathers. He says Jerusalem is a reproach because of things past generations had done.

If you won’t take it from me, take it from the mouth of a prophet: until we atone for the wrongs our forefathers wrought upon others, we will also be a reproach.

 

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