Today, we need to call it what it is: Terrorism.
That’s what happened in Charlottesville yesterday. It is rooted in centuries of internalized belief and externalized violence that white people and a myth of a white nation are inherently superior, and all people who we deem not “white,” (a reminder that “white” is a made-up category, though with disastrous effects), especially those with black and brown skin, are not fully human, not fully deserving, and not worthy of full empathy.
“Both sides” is garbage. Worse, it is dangerous fuel on the fire of white supremacy.
There was one side of violence yesterday when a white supremacist drove a car intentionally into a crowd, murdering a person with a name, a family, dreams, and a courageous conviction to be present; and injuring many more with names, families, dreams, and courageous convictions to be present.
There was one side of violence when clergy made themselves present yesterday — as they said, determined to be a presence of truthtelling and greater love — and were then met with brass knuckles and baseball bats.
Folks may not like hearing their friends get angry on Facebook about the consequences of the last election, and that language may be strong. But you know why? Some fear for their very lives. Yesterday, we saw the clearest example of why this is so. Don’t “both sides” that. It’s a dangerous false equivalency.
Speaking out against racialized hatred and violence and standing up to it in self and community defense will never, ever, not for a moment, be a “both sides” situation. White supremacy is the catalyst, the motivation, and the actualization of a wave of terror taking place in our nation.
And in the wake of it, we better ask ourselves some challenging, internal questions.
Above all, in the wake of it, we have the crucial occasion to decide that we will stand definitively alongside the most marginalized people in our nation.
“Both sides” is a great way to deny the reality of that marginalization, while pouring fuel on the lie that it actually belongs to people bearing torches.