SRtRC Honorary President, Shaka Hislop, comments on Charlottesville

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”- Heather Heyer’s final Facebook post.

It was only a couple of months ago I sat here writing about the car attacks in London, attacks which brought a swift and harsh critique by the US President. And now we here in the US are still sifting through the damage and the fall out of the car attack at the Charlottesville riots. An attack which left one dead, Heather Heyer, and yet brought a soft and snivelling response from President Trump. The President then offered a second which was stalled and scripted, and then on Tuesday evening amazingly doubled-down on his first dog-whistle statement.

As much as the immediate difference in the assailant’s points to the contrasting response of President Trump, I will keep my core message the same. We, on either side of the political divide need to be more empathetic, more mindful, more understanding. But let’s not get the issues here confused. This is not about accepted politics. This is about the rise and encouragement of Nazism. An ideology the U.K. and U.S. fought in a war to defeat! This is about a belief that one race, the white race, is supreme to all others. How can the President, any President, not be firm and decisive in his condemnation? The ambiguity of President Trump’s statements has emboldened the far right; both Richard Spencer, leader of the alt-right movement, and ex-KKK leader David Duke have pointed to the President’s statements as supportive of their cause, and thanked him for his rhetoric. Other white supremacist leaders have simply proclaimed “victory”. 

It is always hard to witness and talk about the loss of life. It is dangerous for us to stand idly by and do nothing. But people look to their political leaders for moral direction, and when our leaders fail us in this way we can sometimes feel lost and giddy. As I steady myself I remain convinced that the world, we as a people, are moving towards a world of equality, of acceptance, of love, of harmony. I don't need a President or a Prime Minister or anyone else, to point me in the right direction. We at Show Racism the Red Card sure don't and nor should you. As we remain steadfast in our commitment to a better world, informed discussion will light the spark in others. Encourage it, it's what we’ve always done.