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Part 1 – Riots, Racism and Hate…Oh My!!!

“Violence begets violence; hate begets hate; and toughness begets a greater toughness. It is all a descending spiral, and the end is destruction — for everybody. Along the way of life, someone must have enough sense and morality to cut off the chain of hate.” Martin Luther King Jr.

 

HOUSTON- Like the Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, America is slowly walking the yellow brick road that is slowly opening the door to a new kind of Civil War – This time it involves a younger generation of Americans full of Love and Full of Hate.

Americans are in the midst of a historical shift and may be witnessing a pivotal point in race relations in America.

From New York to Indiana to California, numerous demonstrations have been organized since Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia last week while counter protesting a white nationalist rally.

The country is divided along racial lines. From emboldened White Supremacist groups rhetoric and actions carrying guns and torches yelling racial epithets  and threatening violence to the bounce back of melting pot groups of younger Blacks, Jews, Whites and Hispanics stressing Love and sending strong objections to the President Donald Trump and hate groups over racism.

“I think this is a push in the right direction because America has been in denial for decades on the issue of racism and you can’t solve anything until you recognize that a problem exists,” said , President of the Houston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “We have entered a new era cycle of communications and conversation and it is excellent for the whole country to have conversations and dialog on this.”

Vantage Point

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is from Alabama and a former Senator in the South, pointed out that “the spark in Charlottesville—taking down a statue of Robert E. Lee—doesn’t have to do with civil war. People are not debating the Civil War. They’re debating American society and race today.”

As the Justice Department launches a civil-rights investigation into the car-ramming crash Saturday that left a woman dead and nearly 20 injured in Charlottsville, another protest in North Carolina landed a woman and others in trouble with the law.Takiya Fatima Thompson, 22, was charged with two felonies -participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot – and two misdemeanors -disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to property. Thompson was a member of the group and a student at North Carolina Central University “who climbed to the top of the statue to tie a rope around its neck before the crowd tore it down.” The statue was pulled down during a Monday protest in Durham to show solidarity with anti-racist activists in Charlottsville.

 

Racial Warming or Cold War Brewing?

The big question that remain is where are all these protests and acts of civil disobedience taking us and what comes next as both sides are digging in for the long haul and stages are being set for a new Cold War of words and protests and threats between the races from both sides.

“This is our time and this is on our watch,” said Fort Worth Pastor and Southern Christian Leadership Conference Leader Rev. Kyev Tatum Sr. “The question is will our generation answer the bell? In the wake of Charlottesville, we must accept the challenge head on because our times demand it, history requires it, our children deserve it and God is still watching.”

According to Tatum, the goal must move beyond yelling and screaming in the streets or complaining and trolling on social media sites.

“The goal is to collaborate with other like minded people who have the community’s best interest at heart,” he said. “We need all races and regions working together for the general welfare of our country.”

 

Here’s What’s At Stake

It is looking more like America is headed to the brink and for a dark period of ethnic conflict.

An ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more contending ethnic groups. While the source of the conflict may be political, social, economic or religious, the individuals in conflict must expressly fight for their ethnic group’s position within society.

The country has seen a dramatic rise in hate groups and hate group activity in recent years.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are currently 917 hate groups operating in the United States.

The SPLC reports that of those numbers, the number of antigovernment “patriot” groups stood at 663 in 2016; the number of Black separatist groups is listed at 193; and the number of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups stands at 130.

 

Rise of Hate Groups

The SPLC has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since the turn of the century, driven in part by anger over Latino immigration and demographic projections showing that whites will no longer hold majority status in the country by around 2040.

The rise accelerated in 2009, the year President Obama took office, but declined after that, in part because large numbers of extremists were moving to the web and away from on-the-ground activities. In the last two years, in part due to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas, the hate group count has risen again.

Douglas said President Trump is ill equipped to deal with the current friction and fractious relations between races, but at least America is getting a good look at where he really stands on the issue.

“The President has shown that he does not have answers to the hate issues and is not the one to lead us in solving this issue,” he said. “However, he is not hiding his hands and his true opinions are out in the open.”

The SPLC is the premier U.S. non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists – including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, neo-Confederatesracist skinheadsblack separatistsantigovernment militiasChristian Identity adherents and others.

The group currently tracks more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country.

“We are really and truly at a crossroads in American History,”  said Gary Bledsoe, Texas President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “There is an epic battle that is taking place and I urge those in our community to not take the route of Rumplestilskin and place our heads in the sand and watch this take place.  I urge us to be involved because the future of our country, the world and the types of lives our descendants will be accorded are directly at stake.”

Bledsoe said the current situation is being fueled by hatred based on the 2008 election of President Obama (and 2012 re-election) and fears over the dwindling white population percentage of the total population, the angriest voters have taken hold of the election machinery and have not just a place in the White House but a front row view.

“Their America is one with minorities in an inferior status in all ways, with their primary purpose being to serve the White Supremacist Class,” he said. “We see this in the most recent immigration proposal and the President’s inability to properly address hate and hate groups.”

 

 

Texas Reaction

With the threat of clashes growing and spreading like wildfire, what should Black and Hispanic citizens in Texas do and how should Texans should react to what is going on in Charlottesville Va and North Carolina  (pulling down of statues)?

In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has asked top staff members to study whether statues related to the Confederacy should be removed from city property.
The mayor commented about the statues in Houston at a recent City Council meeting after members of the public urged the city to remove some statues from its public spaces because, they said, the statues honor slavery and racism.

Staff members will compile an inventory of the statues and “provide me with recommendations about what steps we need to take,” the mayor said.
“It is my hope that we can, in a very positive and constructive way, move forward,” Mayor Turner added.

Douglas said those statues and tributes to men associated with rebellion and destruction of the Republic must come down.

“This issue is about racist leaders and the Southern states that were committed to destroying the union and country, not about honoring or preserving American history,” he said. “Honoring traitors and people who tried to destroy this country and its union should not be praised or honored.”

He went on to say the issue is not a slippery slope that affects the display of other statues like Martin Luther King Jr. or Jesus Christ.

“Martin Luther King Jr. never tried to destroy America or the principles of American democracy,” he said. “Most people realize this is a serious issue and that we have to do something about this to make it right.”

According to Bledsoe, there is a constructive three-fold and effective way to battle the current challenge.

“We need to vote number one,” Bledsoe said. “ – Secondly we need to let public officials know that we are watching and we should scrutinize the work of all officials without regard to party affiliation or race…-Thirdly we need to constructively work together as minorities and reach out to other minority groups and to white groups to establish common ground and fight this Southern Strategy that has divided our nation, particularly in the South, along racial lines.”He also added the need to write constructive letters to the newspapers, join constructive groups, constructively engage in chats on important websites.“We need to call out racism where we see it,” he said. “ And of course when we see the need to protest injustices we should be part of those protests.  As Frederick Douglass said, power concedes nothing without a demand.

After Charlottesville—and other deadly episodes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria, how fragile is the Union and the Republic?

“The Shift as you call it can go either way, better or worse,” Tatum said. “It appears America is at least ready to say the name white supremacy. I am hope that the shift can bring forgiveness, healing and rebuilding trusted relationships.  I see it happening in Fort Worth for the first time. We are cautiously hopeful.”

By: Darwin Campbell

 

 

 

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