The lessons from Charlottesville and Berkeley are the same


I’m going to re-use the photo above to illustrate what seems to be my theme of the moment: don’t be too quick to condemn another point of view, just because they have extremists. Take a good look around. There might be extremists standing next to you, too.

I have spent time, on a variety of blogs, this one and some others (listed next), advocating various points of view this past year or so, most of which come back to the fact that I believe that working white people in this country have felt abandoned in the past thirty years by the Democratic Party, and have found unhealthy expression for their frustrations, either with elements who really don’t give a toss about them (the Republican Party), or with entities who are throughly obnoxious (Trump) or dangerous (racists and white supremacists).

More often than not, I have engendered a response in my blogs, and on my FB Page, which amounts to: who cares; most white people are fascists anyway; look at all those Southerners waving the Confederate battle flag. This was particularly so after Charlottesville.

And then we had Berkeley. And suddenly every last anti-racist and his grandmother is complaining about their people of goodwill being tarred by association with hooded thugs.

Guess what? Welcome to the club. Every political point of view has extremists. It ain’t just Southern white people. I live in Seneca, SC. Before that, Carrboro, NC. Before that, Dallas, Texas. And before that, Clayton, Georgia. I know an awful lot of white working people. And they are not all racist, supremacist, flag-waving, statue-idolaters.

Many. Very many. Are good, decent, hard-working, generous folk, who will happily talk with you, listen to you, even if they do not agree. But these hundreds and thousands of good people are tarred by association with extremists. By the same people who now whine about being similarly tarred by association with black-hooded thugs..

So. If nothing else. Let’s allow Charlottesville and Berkeley to teach us all a lesson. Don’t be so quick to judge other people, when you may have just as nasty a thug standing next to you.

There are good people. And there are extremists. Good people, people of goodwill, can have different points of view. Not right or wrong. Just different. Pay attention to the points of view of the people of goodwill. Separate those views from the extremists. And then condemn the extremists standing next to them – and next to us.

It is only when all people of goodwill are genuinely prepared to listen to other people of goodwill, whether they agree with them or not, that we can even begin to heal the toxic divisions in this country.

Facebook comments are here.


Author: hatenoonegeoff

I am a dual British-American immigrant to the United States. Where I have lived for some 25 years. Mostly in disadvantaged areas of the South. I deplore racism. Dislike all -isms. Advocate against hate and violence. But in a manner that eschews hypocrisy.

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