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Racist USA: Hate has no place in America

Morgan Cathey and Timothy Schneider

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On Aug. 12, a “Unite the Right” rally was held in Charlottesville, Va., to protest the removal of a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee. The event was called one of the largest white supremacist events in U.S. history. A state of emergency was declared when protesters and counter-demonstrators clashed. Additionally, Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured when a car plowed into anti-racist protesters.

Morgan Cathey: In the 1960s, the KKK was protesting civil rights, and black people were rightfully scared to walk the streets alone. Roughly 50 years later, black people still have a reason to look over their shoulders and watch their backs. Because nowadays, KKK members don’t wear hoods. Whether it’s the police, the cashier at a supermarket, or the next-door neighbor, racism still lives in our towns; racism still lives in America.

Timothy Schneider: While the 1960s were a time of high racial tension in America, from the time the original 13 colonies were formed to the day someone is reading this paper, the United States has been a cesspool of racism. In April 2011, future president, Donald J. Trump said, “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.” On April 28, 2016, the KKK endorsed Trump for President.

MC: It confuses me that people are surprised by the recent spike of activity by hate groups. How could you be surprised when our country is being led by Donald Trump? In a 1990 interview, Trump’s then wife, Ivana Trump, told her lawyer, Michael Kennedy, that Donald kept a book of Adolf Hitler’s speeches by his bed at night. Just in case you need a reminder, Adolf Hitler was the original leader of the Nazi Party, the same party that was at the front of the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville.

TS: I’m continually asked by people of all ethnicities, why is it that I “make everything about race”? After Heather Heyer was murdered, it’s clear that race and racism are still a huge problem in our society.

MC: Yes, and it has also hit closer to home. Since the rally, the city of Muskegon has become a place of active racism. There have accounts of vandalism in the form of racial slurs, accounts of the noose that was hung outside an elementary school with a largely black population.

TS: By the time this article is released so much more will have happened. Rallies against hate have brought out thousands in cities across the United States, but the white supremacists aren’t gone. They’re still living in Charlottesville, in Boston, and here in Norton Shores. I heard that a black couple was walking near Ladd’s liquor store and was terrorized by a group of people in white hoods mimicking KKK.

MC: One other thing is that people continue to fight about statues, which is what started the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville. Many racist people say the statutes need to stay in place because they’re a piece of history and would be forgotten if they were to be removed. This is wrong. How could keeping the statues be only about preserving history if there are Confederate statues in Arizona, which did not become a state until 47 years after the Civil War ended.

TS: But people just don’t get it. A group of white teenage boys who go to Shores created an Instagram account titled, “Long Live The Confederacy.” Naturally, I screenshot the account and posted about it because the world needs to know who supports racism. At the very least, black people need to know. The picture has been repeatedly removed, but I’m not violating any Instagram guidelines. It goes to show that even when people want to be racist in public they still want some sort of white hood to pull over their face. Matthew Guterl, a professor of African and American studies at Brown University who studies race in the aftermath of the Civil War says, “Wearing the (Confederate) flag or celebrating it, putting it on your car window or coffee table in your house, it’s a reminder to everyone, to every guest, to every person who sees it, black or white, that you are a stakeholder in the Confederate history of the South, and therefore the defense of slavery and racial prejudice.”

MC: The fact that Heather Heyer had to die for America to realize that our country has a race issue is a major problem. It’s time to sit down and have a conversation about racism.

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Racist USA: Hate has no place in America