As sadness and outrage pours in following the weekend’s bloody rallies in Charlottesville, thinkpieces have cropped up in the wake of the carnage. While opinions over the events remain politically divided as ever, the Gizmodo-operated website The Root called on white allies to social justice to stop whining about being lumped in with white supremacists.
“If you’re tempted to point out that you’re one of the good ones right now… please don’t,” opines Danielle C. Belton. “If you are upset that people of color are upset that their lives and beliefs are under assault by a resurgent, resilient, citronella candle-filled white supremacist movement, empowered by a White House that can’t call a racist a racist because #notallwhite people… please be quiet.”
The writer claims that the only people suffering because of the #UniteTheRight white nationalist rally are people of color, who are “being beaten, misunderstood, and whose feelings are treated indifferently.”
The writer points out that a woman, Heather Heyer, was killed while attending an anti-racism rally when James Alex Fields allegedly drove his car into the crowd. Two police officers also lost their lives in the line of duty when their helicopter crashed. Despite these observations, Belton says that it is wrong for white people to raise any objection to race-hatred directed towards them.
“If the biggest conclusion you drew from black people online being upset at violent, deadly racism was that they didn’t point out that some white people aren’t bad, that most white people are good, that you didn’t own slaves, that some of your best friends are black, that you just want to understand so why won’t these black people explain our history of oppression at the hands of white people to you, you are not helping,” writes Belton. “You are part of the problem.”
Describing Heyer’s death as a “murder by terrorism,” Belton says white people who reject claims of racism are making her death about themselves, detracting from the struggle others face. (Fields was charged on suspicion of second-degree murder.)
“You think we should prioritize your delicate feelings over our loss, our pain and the actual death of a person,” writes Belton. “You are so vain you think this movement is about you. Seriously. What is wrong with you right now? Check your privilege.”
Absent from Belton’s article is any mention of the fact that all three casualties — Heather Heyer, and the two Virginia State Police officers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates — are white.