Americans have a duty to ensure that the beliefs of these white supremacists are removed from our nation’s future, just like Confederate statues.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — While growing up in upstate South Carolina, an especially conservative part of the American South, I was drawn to the liberal countercultural movement of the 1960s. My favorite history subjects in school were the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War; music by The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix made up my daily soundtrack; and, as an aspiring journalist, Gloria Steinem and Hunter S. Thompson were my role models.
As I stood in a sea of violent white supremacists and counter-protesters Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., I recalled learning about that decades-old nation on edge. And I realized that version of America isn’t distant at all.
The white supremacists who swarmed the quaint college town in Virginia to display their bigotry gathered there to protest the removal of a statue depicting Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The alt-right, self-identifying Nazis and neo-confederates swarmed together to “Unite the Right” and stand up for the South’s overtly racist past.
However, even if the war to end slavery ended close to 150 years ago, I grew up in a part of the South that didn’t drift too far from those racist roots. As a Filipino-American, I remember dramatically standing out at a church playground because I had the audacity to tell white children I supported the Union’s side in the Civil War — rather than the side their families still support.
“Well, my dad says Robert E. Lee and Stonewall…