White Supremacy is Still Kicking
Mina Himlie, online publishing coordinator
The Hmong Cultural Center in St. Paul was vandalized with white supremacist graffiti earlier this month. MPR News reported that the center had recently expanded its exhibits and was planning a grand opening for them when the defacement occurred. It will cost $800 to replace the sign which will delay the opening. This vandalism is not only damaging fiscally but also emotionally. It was distressing to see yet another attack on the Asian community, even if no one was physically hurt.
It is a reminder for all that despite social justice movements like Stop Asian Hate and Black Lives Matter, recent FBI data shows the number of hate crimes against both racial groups has risen in 2020 compared to 2019. White supremacy, a product of racism, is clearly still alive and kicking.
It might be easier to ignore racism now that the president is not blatantly condoning white supremacists, but as Augsburg student Xera Britt wrote during class in a Zoom chat, “Trump isn’t the problem, he is a symptom.” He is a symptom of a systemically racist society that breeds white supremacists, and just because he’s out of office doesn’t mean the problem that put him in office in the first place has gone away.
We all watched in horror on January 6, 2021 when there was a literal white supremacist attack on the Capitol. We heard the former president call them “great people.” Now, eight months later, some people are still trying to rewrite the narrative of the attack by saying those charged for crimes committed on that day are “political prisoners.” I hope the number of people who believe that is slim to none, but clearly white supremacists will do anything to uphold and justify the dangerous ideology.
We cannot sit idly now that Trump is out of office or Derek Chauvin was convicted. Asian hate has become more visible. Wins, no matter how small, matter but are not enough. Trump’s staunch supporters are still out there claiming the election was rigged. There are countless police officers guilty of police brutality who have not been convicted or even charged. Recognizing that Asian hate abounds is meaningless if efforts to stop it are not being taken.
It feels like I’ve heard and said this same message over and over again, but I will say it again, and I will keep saying it until real change is made and the phrase “white supremacy is bad” isn’t controversial. I know that means I’ll be saying it for the rest of my life, but that’s something I’m willing to do. That’s something we should all be willing to do.
I’m preaching to the choir. I know that. But it’s our job as fellow human beings to keep the movements for social justice going. To keep saying Black Lives Matter. Stop Asian Hate. No human is illegal. It is our job to support one another when we inevitably get tired and need time to take care of ourselves. Nothing is going to change unless we go out there and change it. And we can’t go out there to change things unless we keep ourselves physically and mentally healthy. White supremacy is still kicking, but so are we.