Racism hides behind veneer of conservatism

Published 2:21 pm Thursday, October 1, 2020

It’s striking to open my hometown paper and read letters to the editor that are rife with unoriginal propaganda and regurgitated talking points so filled with dog whistles and name-calling, all the while claiming a moral high ground that actually erodes with every hate-laden sentence.

What kind of “upstanding” person promotes racist violence (“All Lives Splatter”) under the banner of a conservative ideal? What kind of “good Danville citizen” displays a caricature of a sitting Senator that is both misogynistic and racist?

The idea of a radical terrorist organization actively attacking people in the streets is just ridiculous fear-mongering and couldn’t be further from the truth. Not once have Danville businesses had to board up windows for fear of violence. Shame on you for trying to weaponize chalk.

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I value the First Amendment and am proud to see young tax-paying citizens organize themselves, protest peacefully, and demand better from their leadership, local businesses, schools, and law enforcement.

Seeing these community members who want better for Danville be disrespected by petulant adults spewing far-right extremist double talk calls to mind the days of white mobs spitting on school children during integration. That was only two generations ago, and so it is not surprising that today such racist rhetoric is being falsely categorized as conservative.

I’ve known conservatives — people who would never spew such vile, explicit, sexist, and anti-Black sentiment.

Any description of this great country that lists all of its best attributes and none of its horrors — past or present — is at worst a lie, at best simply incomplete. No matter how you twist the statistics, we can’t claim to be the freest country in the world without admitting that we have the largest prison population in the world along with a justice system that disproportionately disenfranchises men and women of color.

We have systematically criminalized poverty, addiction, and undereducation all the while affording privileges to citizens who benefitted from the oppression of Black and brown folks. It may be hard to see the flaws if you are white, male, own your own home or business, inherited property, had a parent co-sign for your starter loan, or even gift you the cash for the down payment on your house, car, or wrote a check for your college tuition.

It may be even harder if you didn’t have those privileges of capital but only the protection of white skin.

Stop the ridiculous lies about Democrats fomenting lawlessness and anarchy. Today’s Democrats are closer to the center than in years past.

I’m a registered independent. You don’t have to be radical to take a good look around and want change, to want it to be better for others; you just have to be a good person.

The societal ills that Danville citizens are protesting are treatable and can be solved if we better examine how our resources are allocated, how our policies are shaped and enacted, how our communities can be more equitable.

Of course, “all lives” should matter, but as it stands, Black lives are not treated with the same respect and dignity as other members of the community, especially Black women.

The recent grand jury response to Breonna Taylor’s death proves that. If you celebrated that decision you are part of the problem. That is what Black Lives Matter demands.

Equitable treatment. Dignity. The same as those lives that already matter to this society. If such “radical” change threatens you rather than gives you hope, you’re already on the wrong side of history.

The far right is just as imperfect as the far left, and the outdated two-party system has created a perpetually gridlocked partisan climate and reduced our country to a bunch of Hatfields and McCoys.

Danville can be much better than that. Danville can be a model for the state as it was in the past. We can again be a place for firsts if we stop shielding racists behind a false curtain of conservatism and actually listen to what this community needs and make it better, together.

Frank X Walker