“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” These were, according to several reports, the words of a recent Facebook post by Heather Heyer, killed yesterday in an act of domestic terrorism. White supremacists marched in Charlottesville threatening violence while evoking their Nazi heroes; with torches and fascist salutes, they call for the restoration of regimes of racial terror. “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
“It is disheartening for black folk to see such a vile and despicable replay of history,” writes Michael Eric Dyson. I know that Jews, gays and many other Americans also feel disheartened — we feel our hearts ripped apart when we watch the torches, the Nazi “Heil!” salute, the sickening displays of resentment and anger. Prof. Dyson goes on to say that “facing this unadorned hate tears open wounds from atrocities that we have confronted throughout our history.”
But face it we must, and we must reject the rise of unadorned hate and American style Neo-Nazism. As educators and students, as participants in our local communities and in our national polity, we must confront those who would restore violence and terror as mechanisms for fulfilling their contemptible fantasies of white supremacy.
And we must remember Heather Heyer, whose outrage led to action in Charlottesville, and who lost her life fighting for what she believed. May her memory inspire others and be a blessing to her fellow Americans.