In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, several voices have been thrown into a mixture of discussion of what the First Amendment of the US Constitution means and what the current Whitehouse Administration stands for. What happened in Charlottesville was a physical demonstration of the ongoing racial war in America.
What happened should be classified as a terrorist attack. White terrorists have ideologies and principles that derive from the KKK and the Nazis. With the current “Black Lives Matter” movement , what the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville seemed to be fighting for was their right to keep their position as the supreme race. With groups like these, it is clear that most white citizens want to maintain the socioeconomic and political status that they have built for the black and other colored citizens to be oppressed by. It used to be the “All Lives Matter “ statement that tried to dissipate the “Black Lives Matter” movement, now with recent rally, White Supremacists have begun to chant “White Lives Matter”. What is happening in the US is clearly a racial war provoked by these White terrorists or Supremacists.
Of course, we always have that one person who says “Not all police” or “Not all white people”, etc. Well of course, not all, but there is an overwhelming majority. Luckily, there are a few that use their status as a privileged being to elevate awareness for situations like these. After the events in Charlottesville, many celebrities took to Twitter to voice their anger and appall with the situation and condemn President elect Donald Trump for his incapability to unify the nation in the time of need. One of the celebrities who used their platform was Lady Gaga. Following the events, Lady Gaga tweeted out “I pray a true leader will rise to expel hatred from America. This is not US! This is Anti-American” She then asks “For the Black Community, tell us ways the non-racist white community who loves u can do better to help influence the country? #HowWeDoBetter” By creating this hashtag, thousands of twitter uses replied sharing advice and spreading knowledge on how individuals can end racism and anti-blackness. This is how you raise awareness. This is how you use a platform to spread awareness. This is how you use your privilege as a white citizen to help black citizens.
Being “woke” is not the latest trend, it is not something you become because you bought a shirt that has “WOKE” printed in bold letters on the front, it is a constant state of mind in which you are always aware of the social and political happenings of today’s world and how it affects people who are oppressed. Being white means they will never fully empathize with the struggles of being colored-especially since this race has created the system of oppression and other concepts such as stereotypes and colorism. However, they can use their platform to shed light on issues that the media tends to not cover or misconstrue.
White artists, like Lady Gaga need to use their voice, privilege, and platform more to get people to not only talk about the current injustices . but also how to dispel racism and anti blackness within their own communities.
By Anika Shakir