In Our September, 2017 Issue:

OPINION: Charlottesville on my mind


There comes a time when we are forced to face our deep­est, dark­est fears. And it is dur­ing these times that the true nature of our being presents itself. For me, that time came on August 11, with the spec­tre of white nation­al­ists march­ing with torch­lights on the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia campus.

They had fore­gone the pointed white hoods of their fore­bear­ers. Instead, they proudly bared their faces and clenched their fists. I could tell they had raged among them­selves in their “safe space” of the inter­net for far too long. Not anymore.

The clar­ion call of ‘now or never’ had been rung by their lead­ers, Richard Spencer and David Duke. It was time for them to stand up and defend their ver­sion of the United States of Amer­ica — red-​blooded, white-​skinned and blue-​eyed.

Their chant of “White Lives Mat­ter” was heard around the world when they marched. It was met on cam­pus by stu­dents in a counter-​protest. Heated argu­ments led to push­ing and shov­ing, kicks and punches, clouds of pep­per spray.

Their march con­tin­ued through down­town Char­lottesville the fol­low­ing day. The vio­lence esca­lated. Heather Heyer, a Char­lottesville para­le­gal, was there to stand up to hate and dis­crim­i­na­tion. A white nation­al­ist plowed into the crowd of counter-​protesters and killed her.

Where does that path of vio­lence lead us?

One of the great­est oppor­tu­ni­ties afforded to cit­i­zens in a demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety is the abil­ity to speak for, or against, a mat­ter dear to their respec­tive hearts. The abil­ity to voice one’s opin­ions with­out the fear of reper­cus­sions is the ulti­mate free­dom any human can and should prac­tice, in my opinion.

When ratio­nal human beings agree to dis­agree, great con­ver­sa­tions can take place. But in today’s world, in Char­lottesville, that seems like an ide­al­is­tic scenario.

How did we get here? Or, even more impor­tantly, how can we get out of this rut?

The answer, my friends, is not blow­ing in the wind. Not even close. The answer, instead, is right here, among higher minds at Metro State. It’s in the safe space of our col­lege cam­pus where we can dis­cuss and debate all of these ideas. After all, we are at the altar of learn­ing. It befits us to lis­ten, dis­cuss and test all kinds of thoughts and theories.

So, I say if a white nation­al­ist wants to explain to me why his race is supe­rior to all other races of the world, he bet­ter have con­crete facts to back that up. What are the chances he is here on our col­lege cam­pus, itch­ing for a debate? I bet­ter start preparing.

Rai is an Indi­vid­u­al­ized Stud­ies major and Sec­re­tary of the Stu­dent Sen­ate. Views expressed are his own.