August 13, 2017
As I watch the events unfolding in Charlottesville, VA, I am horrified at the malicious violence. Coming with shields, baseball bats, homemade pepper spray, and bottles of urine suggests a clear intent to incite and enact violence, and create chaos by “Unite the Right” protestors. The issue being the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a symbol of the city’s confederate past.
Although politics have certainly fueled the divide that we see currently, this is not merely about the political climate, but the legacies that we have inherited – a society fraught with the history of slavery, internment camps, Islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia, and other isms. The current political climate is giving people intolerant of diversity the license to act on these atrocities. It was disheartening to see the police not intervene last night. We have seen such lack of interventions in other instances and a concerted effort to attack people of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, faiths, and sexual and gender identities. The racism that was so carefully camouflaged and denied is repeating itself and rearing its ugly head. We do not live in a post-racial society. The alt-right movement (i.e., Nazis, white supremacists) was never new. But the noticeable embracing of the alt-right movement focused on White nationalism and White oppression is spewing further hate. This has been further reinforced by the vague comments by the current administration about the need to stem the “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” We need to be clear – these were not the actions of “many sides,” but of one.
My heart goes out to the people in Charlottesville – many of whom are our colleagues, family members, students, and friends. I am pained by the hate and bigotry that is creating intense tension and fear. Join me in sending healing thoughts to the community in Charlottesville. Thanks Anneliese for the useful resource (attached) that you have provided. As a Society focused on social justice, lets continue our commitment to non-violent community safety and anti-racist interventions in the communities in which we work and live.
Arpana G. Inman, Ph.D.
President, Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17, American Psychological Association)