Ricky l jones
Recently, the trial of a number of 2017 âUnite the Rightâ organizers began in Charlottesville, Virginia. Buzzfeed reporter Christopher Miller wrote: “The rally in Charlottesville marked American consciousness: the surly faces of hundreds of neo-Nazis and other white supremacists chanting ‘The Jews will not replace us’.
The tiki torches they carried and the swastikas they sported as they walked through the city. The white crowd stood and beat a young black man who was rushing for his life. The gray Dodge Challenger slammed into a crowd of anti-racist activists, throwing people into the air and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
More from Ricky Jones:Critical opponents of racial theory are not saviors. They are bad guys, and we have to fight
Former President Donald Trump has said of white supremacists and their opponents that there are “very good people” on both sides.
Regardless of the outcome of the trial, the most pressing issue is that Charlottesville is only scratching the surface. The point is that a myriad of manifestations of white nationalism and supremacy have been on the rise in America for some time.
In 2020, the Sothern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and hate crimes, reported that white nationalist hate groups in the United States had increased by 55% during the Trump era. The SPLC study concluded that a âburgeoningâ racist movement continues to be motivated by âa deep fear of demographic changeâ. Simply put, many whites are becoming more and more hostile as America becomes more and more black and brown.
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As was the case when images of dogs attacking black children in 1963 in Birmingham surfaced, the rest of the world is taking note. British newspaper The Guardian noted that 155 white nationalist groups existed in America and were present in most states at the time of the SPLC report. Overwhelmingly, “these groups have been counted separately from Ku Klux Klan groups, racist skinheads, Christian identity groups, and neo-confederate groups, all of which also express some version of white supremacist beliefs.” The number is therefore much greater than 155.
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Very few people would publicly defend these brazenly rooted white supremacist groups in the appropriate circles. We see them coming from miles away. But this is where things get tricky.
The same people and politicians who may not openly embrace the Ku Klux Klan, the Proud Boys or lesser-known racist groups like the Base, the Atomwaffen Division or the Feuerkrieg Division will push legislation very quickly, as has been said. Kentucky Republican State Representative Jennifer Decker “prohibits the teaching of critical theory of race and all of its offspring.”
Be clear, the racists shouting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, unruly citizens disrupting school board meetings and threatening educators, and misleading characterizations of critical race theory across the country are all part of the story. the same – the efforts to maintain white American supremacy.
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The right plays a long, insidious game with American education from kindergarten to college because it understands how important education is as a tool for socialization.
While the law rages on about classroom teaching about race and racism, the point is we need to learn more about them, not less. It is a difficult mission. The right has long attacked the departments of black and ethnic studies in American universities. If they can’t destroy them outright, they fund them and rob them of their faculties to the point where they can no longer function effectively.
In public K-12 school systems, some administrators may talk about curriculum reform but find it difficult to implement it. They often face school boards, parents and communities that do not have the political will to go through with it or that are downright hostile.
There are also other very sophisticated strategies to ensure that white supremacy continues to reign in America. Conservative political organizations are silent, but strong pressure is being deployed to nominate candidates to take charge of school boards nationwide in order to make these already somewhat conservative entities even more.
Peter Montgomery recently wrote in Flux about how ultra-conservative groups like: âThe Leadership Institute, which has trained generations of right-wing activists, is promoting a 20-hour online course to train conservatives in how to come forward for their local school boards to âstop teaching critical race theory before it destroys the fabric of our nationâ.
The Leadership Institute isn’t the only conservative organization working to hijack school boards across the country by using the CRT as a dog whistle to cover up its racism. The strategy is politically astute and very, very dangerous.
They and their accomplices understand that if American education remains as it is, it will continue to strengthen white supremacy. Of course, they don’t call it white supremacy, but it is.
The message here is that you shouldn’t just worry about blatant racists parading shouting, “Jews won’t replace us” or beating blacks in the streets. You better pay attention to the more sophisticated looking to colonize your local school boards and other institutions. Or maybe you can trust them all. As President Trump said, maybe they are all “very good people.”
Columnist Ricky L. Jones is professor and chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville. Visit him at rickyljones.com. This article was first published by on www.courier-journal.com.