Thoughts on Charlottesville and White Supremacy Playing on the Main Stage

 

Several days have gone by and I’ve been thinking about how to respond to the horror and explicit discrimination, hatred, and violence shown by white supremacists, white nationalists, the alt-right, KKK, NeoNazis, etc. to people of color and protesters against white supremacy this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia and so many other cities and states around the US over the years. As a white mother and psychologist, I’ve been struggling to figure out what to say and do. I definitely don’t have all of the answers, but I have some important ideas, articles, and links to share.

It is important to teach and model acceptance of people different from others. I will speak up and work harder to combat white supremacy and the ideals where they take root. Beliefs about people and the world starts young and I think the terrifying thing we all saw, beyond the horror and violence, in Charlottesville, is that we are seeing young adults and even toddlers being raised to believe that being white is superior to non-white groups. This is completely and utterly far from the truth. None of us should be shocked about the events, but there is an opportunity to speak out against hate and violence against others and a tremendous opportunity to look within and make sure that each of us is modeling acceptance and kindness to all people for younger generations to see. Children aren’t born with hate. They learn it from their environment and while this is not a surprise to anyone, this means that we can stop hatred and discrimination at its early stages. Emphasize that there is beauty and an appreciation in what makes us all different. We must look at ourselves and see and understand white privilege for what it is.  Please watch Brene Brown’s Facebook live video for an in-depth discussion on this topic. Finally, feeling unaccepted and insecure is what attracts some people to join groups of white extremism. People who have joined these groups have reported feeling a part of something and have a sense of new found identity. Helping children feel secure and loved, not marginalized, is a great start. Please check out the following handout, watch the Jane Elliott’s Blue Eyed-Brown Eyed experiment, and read and share books like Todd Parr’s lovely children’s book that sums up this concept of acceptance and spread the word. Learn about and support groups to fight and speak out against discrimination and violence against others, like the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have to take these horrific events and move forward and grow as a country. The time is now for all of us to make a positive difference to stop hate in its tracks.

Links/References

https://www.splcenter.org/20170814/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide

#resist, #janeelliott, #teachlovenothate

https://www.adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/assets/pdf/education-outreach/How-Do-Children-Learn-Prejudice.pdf

http://www.janeelliott.com/

https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/todd-parr/its-okay-to-be-different/9780316043472/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/life-after-hate-christian-picciolini-white-supremacist-exit-skinhead_us_58fa36cee4b018a9ce5ace1a

http://the1a.org/shows/2017-08-15/what-can-i-do-to-stop-hate-groups

What are you going to do or doing to stand up to white supremacy?  I am interested in your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

Kindly, Kerry

 

 


 

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