Nobody needs to say it. We all feel the darkness that we're teetering at the edge of. It isn't about Charlottesville, because that incident didn't happen overnight. It was birthed out of an environment of archaic thinking; from the breeding ground of white privilege and superiority. In a way, nothing has really changed at all, except that people are getting braver about what they reveal in the light. And what we saw in Charlottesville was big and bold and effectually frightening.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (a civil rights advocacy group), there are 917 active hate groups operating across the country in our current year. 917! That may surprise some people, but it somehow didn't really surprise me. Just because slavery is illegal and there is desegregation does NOT mean the ideology of white supremacy was laid to rest alongside of discriminatory laws.
It's easy to ignore racism when we can say we've had a black president, and it's much harder to recognize racism when it isn't wearing a hood and traipsing across the lawns of minorities. We've moved from a violent and explicit prejudice, to a covert, subtle, nuanced form of separatism and prejudice that is much easier to deny, to ignore, and is therefore unequivocally more dangerous. Charlottesville isn't shocking, or atypical thinking, it is a more radical form of what a lot of people already believe in their hearts.
It's mortifying to see that our country seemingly digresses to outdated and inhumane thinking, but the silver lining can be that this radical exhibition of hatred can wake the rest of the country up. It can stimulate introspection and conversations and confessions that I don't think have ever happened. It's terrifying to have a light shine so brightly on our country's skeletons, but it creates an incriminating distinction between what is light and what is dark.
The light doesn't just show the ugly, it also embodies hope. A hope that we can stop denying and ignoring injustice, that we can realize our biases, question our beliefs, and challenge our hearts to love deeper than we have in the past. We all receive and reflect light differently. We can use this moment of truth to point us in the right direction - to turn from our horrendous mistakes, and to create a healthy pattern of light for those that come after.