Once again, Americans are subjected to hatred and bloodshed because of their identity, the way that they look. The murderous rampage by a young white male in Atlanta which resulted in eight deaths, six of them Asian American women, is reverberating throughout our country and there are calls for an end to Asian bigotry and discrimination and hatred. I think we have it backward.
What we really need to end is white supremacy, a vile and virulent ideology and movement that is killing this country. White supremacy is a Euro-centric belief in the superiority of white people over everyone else. Period. That is the sum total of white supremacy. White supremacists believe that only white people should be citizens, only white people should be allowed to live in the U.S., only white people should be in positions of power, only white people should make decisions for everyone else, only white people should vote and only white people have value.
And remember that just because these misanthropes don’t wear white robes and burn crosses doesn’t mean that they are not dangerous. They are. They are dangerous because they are anti-democratic. They are enemies of our democracy, of our country. They believe with their hearts and souls that people are not created equal. Sadly, as anyone who has studied U.S. history knows, white supremacy has been an intimate part of our country’s founding and development as a nation. It is an old ugly story that has intertwined with our history from the very beginning — and it must be rooted out forever.
And how can we do that? Each one of us has a role to play. To call it out when we hear it, to advocate for equality and democracy whenever we can, to tell people, even people we love, that it is not acceptable, never has been, never will be. How do you recognize white supremacy? When you hear people express ideas of bigotry toward people based on what they consider racial characteristics. That’s it. We all know it when we hear it, when we see it. When somebody calls people who immigrate an “invasion” — that is white supremacy. When someone says they feel more comfortable living in neighborhoods that are white only — that is white supremacy. When someone says that Western culture is the best — that is white supremacy. When someone says that whites are in danger of extinction — that is white supremacy. When someone characterizes a group of people as dirty, as barbaric, as uncivilized, as lazy or criminal — that is white supremacy.
Obviously, all white people are not white supremacists, but all white people benefit from a system based on white supremacy. It needs to stop now.
• Bridget Smith resides in Juneau.