Heroes and Zeros: Heather Heyer vs White Silence

Heather Heyer, White Silence, Racism, White Nationalism

In this edition of Heroes and Zeros, the winner is a martyr who died at the hands of evil people, and the losers are the segment of America who says the evil people are just a figment of our imagination.

Hero – Heather Heyer

What a sad day in America when people fighting the good fight against bigotry are mowed down by one of many hate filled individuals. Heather Heyer, the woman killed by 20-year old white supremacist James Alex Fields, is a hero because she stood against wrong and ultimately, paid with her life.

The events that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va. are on everyone’s mind. As a group of white nationalists rallied at the University of Virginia in protest of the dismantling of a statue of Confederate war hero Robert E. Lee, a group of counter protesters joined them. Heyer, a 32-year old “strong woman” as those close to her described the late activist, didn’t imagine that she wouldn’t make it home that day, but I am sure she knew it was a possibility. Nonetheless she went to make her voice heard, and unfortunately, that voice was silenced because a coward used his car as a weapon of hate.

Heyer’s death is not in vain. She, a white woman, stood as an ally with people of color to protest the ideals and actions of evil men AND women who want to take this country back to one of the most disgraceful times in its history. She understood the importance of using her position in life as a white person to influence change in the right direction. She is a hero not simply because she died, but she is a hero also because understanding the risks, she didn’t cower in the corner and say, “It’s not my problem.” Oh that more white people would realize it is their problem and start doing something.

heather heyer memorial charlottesville

Racism affects all of us in America because as it rears its ugly head, it creates a hostile and dangerous climate for everyone. Indeed, it behooves all members of society to fight against it in order to secure a truly equal, free and balanced future. Heyer didn’t have to die, and although she did, her efforts, support, and words live on.

Heather Heyer’s life ended because she decided to speak up. It won’t always happen that way, but in the sad and heart-wrenching instances when it does, it brings to the forefront of the conversation the very reason she and anyone else who speaks up for justice, do what they do.

RIP Heather Heyer.

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Zero – White Silence

Here lately, I’ve tried to mince my words a bit when speaking about privilege and white supremacy because I thought maybe I speak about them too often. I didn’t want to come off as attack story or obsessive. But as incidents like Charlottesville, Va. continues to happen, there is no way I can remain silent or care about white tears. There is no way I feel any hesitation about calling out white things and white people. The zero this week are all the silent white people who either choose not to speak on these atrocities or who downplay them as sensationalism by the media.

Racism is real in America. White supremacy is real in America. There is no need to sensationalize anything because it’s playing out on television and in social media right before our very eyes. In fact, those who deny or ignore that these things exist, real talk, are probably low-key supporters of the ones speaking up on behalf of white America.

If black people saying this and that about white people offend you as a white person, then that is a red flag to me. If what we say doesn’t apply to you, then there’s no need to get all up in arms and call us names. But if what we say triggers something in you just a little bit, then you need to check yourself because goddamn Becky you might have some racist tendencies at work in your very being that you need to address.

White silence is just as damaging as the denial that bad things exist. Denial diminishes the efforts of those on all fronts who fight to demolish white supremacy, and it dismisses the lives lost and or severely affected by white supremacy. Am I asking you to march? No. Am I saying that you should talk about it all the time on your social media or at the country club? No. What I am saying is that in moments of great travesty, to be silent sends a clear message to those on the front lines. To those most affected by what’s going on. It’s a gross display of privilege because since it’s not your sons or daughters or because you say, “I’m not a racist,” it really doesn’t matter to you.

For turning a blind eye during our country’s most perilous times, silence white people and those that stand in denial that there is a problem are zeros.

Editors Note: To the group calling themselves the #DonaldTrumpMilitia, your threats and fear tactics against us are not working, nor will they ever work. Hiding behind a faceless anonymous identity shows your weakness and shortcomings as a human being and only makes us continue reporting the truth.