The vicious, hateful and senseless violence that took place in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend is a sad reminder of how racially divided we really are. After having a black man occupy the White House for 8 years, the creation of more black millionaires than ever before and what appeared to be more racial tolerance all around, Ku Klux Klan members made it clear that racism is very much alive and well.
And not the covert kind of racism, but the kind that gets people killed. James Alex Fields Jr., 20, believed to be the driver of a car that plowed into a crowd of counter protestors, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at the scene of a crash that resulted in a death. Three people died and at least 34 were injured in Charlottesville.
Decades ago, Klan members waited until night to terrorize black folks. And even then, they always showed up with hood-covered faces. Today, racists are brazen enough to walk up to people they don’t like in broad daylight and with news cameras rolling, and assault them. They don’t seem to care at all who sees them; some even hope they will be seen.
I don’t have any statistics on the average income of these hate group members, but I would suspect that many are uneducated low to medium wage earners. They are the very people who need to hang on to the Obamacare that Trump so desperately wants to eliminate.
And, if my hypothesis is correct, they are working people who need their jobs. This is where their dirty deeds could come back to haunt them. As MSNBC host Rachel Maddow noted, this brand of white supremacists is not afraid to show their face on camera, and this boldness is playing into the hands of law enforcement.
It’s no secret that since the dawn of the Internet, employers have used social media to spy on current or potential employees. Attorneys, insurance companies and law enforcement agencies use sites to gather information when building a case. Posts that verbally attack or make fun of others aren’t just for laughs in a public forum. They are potential pieces of evidence that could land people in jail.
Faces of the Charlottesville hate mongers are now forever recorded in time, and some of the people caught on video will eventually have to answer to neighbors, relatives, church members, and employers. Friends will want to know why they were in Charlottesville, standing next to others cursing at peope and holding lanterns. They are not going to have a valid answer for their behavior when folks begin to recognize them from the news. Their secret racism will be exposed.
There are some, however, who do not care who knows about their hatred and bigotry. Some even try to justify it and say it’s God’s will. And this willingness to be openly racist is what hate group organizers really want. Like ISIS, domestic terrorists love media attention, and they’ll do anything to get it. Group leaders hope recruits will be rejected by their families and friends. Being shunned by loved ones, recruits are more likely to form strong bonds with terrorist groups. This is exactly what happens to many of our young people when they end up in gangs.
Now that Trump is president, racists feel safe enough to come out of hiding. The KKK hood is off and they are willing to be seen for who they are. But we all know there’s no way to control who sees you once the video is rolling. So keep on smiling for the cameras, KKK, because there are many more who do care when innocent people are hurt. They are watching, and they will come for you.