Last week was a horrific week across the nation. Our hearts grew heavy hearing about two consecutive massing shootings—first in Dayton—and then in El Paso. While the motives behind Dayton are still under investigation, we know that the massacre in El Paso deliberately targeted people of color.
Violent acts of white supremacy and white nationalism are certainly not new to this country. Yet, the scale and consistency of hate-motivated shootings is terrifying, painful, and uniquely fear-producing for people of color and immigrants.
Losing legendary Black writer, Toni Morrison, in the middle of this same week intensified the heartbreak, as we grieved the lives lost at the hands of racism and the passing of a literary icon whose words so powerfully confronted it. We are all reeling from this administration’s relentless terror. It is hauntingly fitting to revisit an essay written by Toni Morrison, titled Making America White Again, written in 2016.
“So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. These people are not so much angry as terrified, with the kind of terror that makes knees tremble.”
Three years since she penned this essay, the violence has escalated and moved far beyond intimidation. People of color are being violently attacked and killed, and it is on all of us—but especially white people—to stand up, take action, and fight against complacency. We must unequivocally reject modern-day terrorism in our country. We must name this for what it is: white supremacist terrorism.
From The Atlantic, “Finally, people of color can no longer shoulder this burden alone. We need all Americans to step up, to stand with those targeted for violence, because hashtags and tweets won’t cut it any longer. The dangerous force of hate is coming for all Americans who are not in its grip; only by standing together can we fight it.”
Toni Morrison helped us know that language can be political and embody resistance, and that we each have the power to fight for and seek justice.