Charlottesville 2017

As is very clear, white nationalism and adjacent ideologies have seen a massive upswing in recent years. Polarization and racist rhetoric from far right politicians are things commonly cited as reasons for this. These have also embolden white supremacists to carry out violent displays of their racism in events such as the “Unite the Right” riot of 2017, which is the focus of this text.

This whole event originally started with the debate over whether to remove a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. On one side, people argued that the statue was a glorification of this country’s dark past with slavery. On the other side, people argued that the statue should stand because it represents southern heritage. This debate was the reason why racists and white nationalists of all varieties descending upon Charlottesville in 2017. Wielding tiki torches and racist iconography, these people displayed their support for the Robert E. Lee statue. The open and unashamed display of this kind of ideology was enough to shake the Charlottesville community to the core. As we know though, this protest quickly escalated into something far worse. The white supremacist protesters became violent towards those voicing their disapproval of them through counter protests. Emboldened by their hate and the shear number of their group, they verbally and physically assaulted counter protesters. This violence reached its peak when a participant of the white supremacist rally rammed his car into the crowd of counter protestors. Although most that were hit by the car had non-life-threatening injuries, one person was not lucky enough to make it out of this ordeal alive. As a result of being hit by the car that rammed into the crowd, a women named Heather Heyer suffered fatal injuries. This tragic death serves to expose how dangerous right wing ideologies can be.

The Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally was successful in doing exactly what the name says. It united far-right and white supremacist individuals into a more organized movement. This is one of the most damaging effects of the event other than the injuries suffered by counter-protesters. Additionally, the event helped in normalizing the racist sentiments of the alt-right. One can see this as more and more groups pop up and display their views. This kind of ideology has also spread amongst conservative politicians and public figures. Prime examples of these are of course Donald Trump, Lauren Boebert, Kanye West, and Alex Jones. This event has had clear and long lasting negative effects on American politics as whole. It has has set this country on an extremely dangerous path. One that must be correct in order to save our democracy and protect already marginalized groups in the country.

How May I Help You – Simon Hermes

In “How May I Help You”, Deepak Singh recounts a two year span of his life that was eye-opening and difficult. In this time period, Singh uproots his life in India and moves over to the United States after marrying an American women. Upon arriving in the United States, Singh learns that it is not what he had been to believe it was by the media and other people. He finds out that the United States is completely different than the Indian culture that he is accustomed to. Additionally, he finds out very quickly that this country is very hostile to people who are immigrants and/or people of color and also those that do not speak perfect English.

Before moving from India to the United States, Singh had completed a highly esteemed Masters’ Degree. One that should have gotten him very high paying job afterwards. Singh soon finds out that degree that he worked so hard for in India will not being accepted by companies in the United States because he has no job experience within America. As result, he is forced into an extremely low paying job despite being highly qualified for something more. This is devastating for him considering the amount of effort and risk he put in to achieving his degree and immigrating to the United States. While at his job, he faces extreme difficulties as a result of his background and his strong accent. He has extreme difficulty communicating with customers in the store, and even admitted to hiding so that he could avoid the uncomfortable interactions that would likely happen. On top of this already unfair situation, Singh experiences a substantial amount of racism at the hands of his co-workers and others. He is targeted with insults and ignorant questions to a point of complete exhaustion. As a result of the low pay that he received from his job, Singh soon experiences issues with poverty and other insecurities. This is all too common for people in Deepak Singh’s situation.

Singh experiences the more ugly and racist side of the United States that isn’t displayed much in American movies and other media. He had an idealized image of what the United States is like as a result of his limited knowledge about the country’s everyday culture. He is forced into a low-paying job, he is brushed aside because of his accent, and he is discriminated against because of this skin color and ethnicity. Singh is slapped in the face by the reality that this country is deeply racist and is extremely unfond of immigrants, especially those that are people of color.

Public In Name Only

Public In Name Only tells the story of the Alexandria Library and its history with racial discrimination. Specifically, it talks about the unequal access that Black Americans had to this library and the valuable information that it holds. Built in 1937, the Alexandria Library was the first public library in the city of Alexandria. The problem is that only White Americans were allowed access to the library despite community members of all races and ethnicities bearing the cost of its construction. Enraged at this injustice, Black Americans in Alexandria decided to fight for their right to access the library’s contents. Leading the charge in this fight was Attorney Samuel Wilbert Tucker, a Black Alexandrian community member. To start his fight for equal access to the library, Tucker went into the library with George Wilson in an attempt to obtain a library card. This was of course denied because both Tucker and Wilson were Black. Having experienced this momentary failure, Tucker decided to pursue legal action by filing a Writ of Mandamus. This, combined with the 1939 sit-in of the Alexandria Library made up the battle for equal access to the library. Although not entirely successful, this battle set a precedent for future civil rights battles of a similar nature.

Southern Stalemate

This excerpt goes into depth on reactions to the grounding breaking court case, Brown v. Board of Education, that ordered the desegregation of public school. More specifically, it focuses on Prince Edward County and how it went to great lengths to resist the court decision. The court decision was met with extreme criticism from the local government and the public alike. After being pressured more and more over time, PEC decided to pull out of public schooling completely. As a result of this, PEC did not have public school education available for their community for five years.

The Virginia Way – Simon Hermes 17.09.2023

The excerpt titled, ” The Virginia Way”, tell the story of the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and how families like Theresa Terry fought against it. Throughout the reading, it is made clear how unpopular the pipeline was among people that live in the area because it would mean having their entire lives uprooted. This was definitely the case for Theresa Terry she would lose her property if the pipeline was built. This was especially devastating to her and her family because the property had been in the family since the Revolutionary War. Terry took extreme measures to protest the construction of the pipeline through her family’s property. Through her efforts, Theresa Terry was able to bring national media attention to the situation and expose the shady conduct of Dominion in the state of Virginia.