Many segments of social media were whipped into frantic frenzy in 2017 when New York Times reporter , Richard Fausset, penned a studiously,profiled about Tony Hovater, a young millennial family man and self-avowed Nazi from New Carlise, Ohio.
A number of people who read the article, (including me), were surprised, shocked and in some instances, outraged by what appeared to be a disturbingly sympathetic or at the very least,https://www.nytimes.com/ 2017/11/25/us/ohio-hovater- white-nationalist.html problematically ambivalent profile of Hovater and his ardent, unabashed White supremacist viewpoints. Reaction was swift across the political, cultural and religious spectrum as well..
Numerous people, among them many New York Times readers, lambasted both Fausset and the Times editorial staff for publishing such an uncritical assessment of a person who harbored/harbors racial and religious hatred (despite his denials) and who strongly advocates for a nation where people are segregated based on racial pigmentation. Racially discreet, Tony Hovater was/is not. For its part, the paper’s editors believed Mr. Fausett’s article had fallen short of NYT standards and the, at the time, suddenly besieged reporter conceded as such.
As a society, we have evolved to a level where views that would have been seen as socially acceptable as late as the 1950s or even early to mid-1960s are no longer embraced by most people ,at least in the public sphere. That being said, we have witnessed blatant changes on this front as the Trump era has continued.. Indeed, the winds of intolerance have been blowing dangerously hard as of late.
However, the truth is that for many of us who are people of color, in particular, Black Americans, we know all too well in our dealings with many White people, even those with generally good intentions, that more often than not, racial attitudes and bias are often bubbling under the surface. The forces of White denial, White fragility and yes, White supremacy tend to rear their troubling heads.
The fact is that more than a few Whites, including some who identify as liberal or progressive, harbor negative, or at the very least ambivalent attitudes about Blacks other non-Whites. What is more troubling is that many liberals (particularly those of the supposedly racially progressive persuasion) are all too willing to overlook, excuse or normalize White supremacy, while at the same time, passionately denying that they possess such attitudes.
These are also the same Whites who do not hesitate to utilize all the advantage that come along with being White, (does the Varsity Blues Scandal come to mind anyone?) https://www.insidehighered. com/admissions/article/2019/ 09/30/admissions-field-still- coming-terms-varsity-blues- scandal , yet are often reluctant to call out or acknowledge deeply embedded systemic and systematic racism that has deeply pernicious effects on the lives of many people of color in this nation in the forms of gentrification, police brutality, subprime lending, subpar educational systems, deplorably inadequate health care, shorter life expectancy and other social maladies.
These are often the same enlightened people who usually remain silent when a relative, neighbor or co-worker makes a disparaging remark about a certain ethnic or religious group. These are the same men and women who read the Times piece, revel in shock and disgust, yet fail to realize that they, themselves, are possibly not too far removed from similar attitudes they rightly chide their more overtly bigoted White brethern. .
The sobering reality is that is it is crucial, in fact , imperative, to acknowledge the fact that White supremacy can be varied and multifaceted. It can be subtle, sly, seductive, reductive and unsuspecting to those possessed with it. White supremacist are:
Keepin’ it real so-to-speak, too many White people, in particular, progressive and liberals, are under the assumption that due to the fact that they do not have a white sheet or hood in their closet, a swastika in their drawer, do not espouse racial or ethnic slurs or would never consider overtly mistreat a person of color, that they are immune from racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other related prejudices. Such a congratulatory, self-righteous mindset can be dangerously misguided.
It would likely behoove some of those who were outraged by what they see as periodic racial , religious and xenophobic injustices to do some deep ruminating and SERIOUS soul searching. Take the time to ask yourself the question, am I that much different? You may or may not like the answer you receive, but the truth is that you will have come to grips with where you stand in regards to your value system. What better gift could you ask for?