I’m not surprised at the hatred and bigotry that poured from some white people in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s in them. It’s got to come out.

Robert E. Lee — the Confederate Army commander who surrendered unconditionally to Union Cmdr. Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, at the Appomattox, Va., Courthouse — was the leader of a treasonous rebellion against the United States of America. He is not a hero! He died a traitor, a man without a country, whose citizenship had been stripped from him. It was 110 years after his death, that the U.S. Congress restored his citizenship. A traitor. Not a hero. It was his monument that the racist marchers were in Charlottesville to “defend.”

I am surprised that well meaning white people stepped forward and risked (and in the case of one innocent victim) and lost life at the hands of avowed Ku Kluxers, neo-Nazis, skinheads, fascists, and various other ne’er-do-wells who went “locked and loaded,” determined to inflict bodily harm, which they did. You see, Virginia is an “open carry” state, which means, as they announced, that these organized and trained “mobs” meant to harm other human lives.

The well-meaning clergy, and gentle folks who went to stand against the white hate, had no idea how prepared the haters were. They had military-grade masks, body armor, in matching uniforms, so that in the fog of battle, the haters in military gear, would be able to recognize others who are on their “team.” Those victims were like little lambs headed for the slaughter.

First among those innocent victims is Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old martyr. A young neo-Nazi murderer who attacked the anti-racist protesters driving a car at high speed into the crowd slaughtered her.

It’s a good thing, in my opinion, that white people are seriously taking on the challenge to confront the white supremacists, who have been given a go-signal by the election of President Donald J. Trump who is a racist, real-estate hustler, just like his daddy was. White people have some major “issues” to work out when it comes to white folks, living in peace and harmony with others who are not white. There is this compulsion, this need by white folks to dominate and rule those who are not white.

Now that white folks are fully engaged in this conversation, with big-time Republicans (who I thought were hope-to-die-bigots) condemning the POTUS for a tepid statement condemning hateful activities “from many sides,” I think black folks should politely excuse themselves from the conversation. Let the “crackers” and the “snowflakes” have at it. Hatred is bound to lose.

But silly black folks — even as the neo-cons are now battling other white folks — are watching and planning to engage as the even sillier Democrat Party is shifting to the right, planning to invest its blood and treasure in the pursuit of those white, working-class voters who chose The Donald (and all this chaos and confusion) in last November’s election. The Dems call their plan “A Better Deal.”

That’s a losing strategy, and it sounds like something that a milquetoast leader like Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his new BFF sidekick Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would come up with. No. What would win for the Dems is a robust plan to uplift the black and the worst off in the society, targeting the wealthy who do not need any more tax give backs in order to thrive.

Black folks should take advantage of the white feuding, get together in private consultations, and devise a strategy that benefits black folks. Never mind considering what white objections might be if black folks were to form a “Reparations Party,” whose goal would be to win reparations — that 40 acres and a mule that was promised, but then denied to the slaves when President Andrew Johnson vetoed the legislation, giving the confiscated land from treasonous Southern plantation owners back to them, and giving the freedmen, the back of the hand.

I know that there are some good and decent white folks in America. I just don’t want to have to waste time trying to figure out who are the good guys, and who are the villains. I would rather work to decide among black folks alone, what’s best for black folks. Something happens and the nature of the conversation changes, when black folks talk about their needs, their ambitions, absent from white folks.

So, let the white folks work out their problems among themselves: will they follow, or will they repudiate the white supremacists in their midst. As for me, I believe black folks need unity, first and foremost. Unity and strength among black folks is all that’s needed to withstand white hatred at this time.

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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