The date is April 21, 2018 and Nazis have invaded Newnan, Georgia. They didn’t come from the far side of the moon. They didn’t arrive by boat or plane from a secret base in Argentina where many believe they hid after the war. They woke up, got out of bed and drove to Greenville Street Park where they held a rally. The National Socialist Movement is a neo-Nazi group.(Smith) Their devious agenda is simple. Protect the white race at all costs and oppose everyone else. Why would they carry this weak mindset for so long? Simply put, they weren’t taught not to do so. The National Socialist Movement isn’t the only hate group in America. There is also the Ku Klux Klan. Founded in the year 1866 back in Tennessee, they are one of America’s oldest hate groups.(Foner 468). These groups along with a list of others are domestic terrorist groups. The FBI defines domestic terrorism as “Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S. based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” (What We Investigate).
The disturbing part of these groups are the people themselves. They all have lives outside of these dark affiliations. They have jobs such as secretaries, doctors, lawyers, and even policemen. The last occupation is unnerving considering policemen wear a badge and take an oath to serve and protect. That isn’t always the case. With smartphones coming into play in the past 10 years, citizens have been able to document their encounters with law enforcement. Racial profiling comes into strong consideration. Now was the person pulled over because they committed a crime or because they were black? While handcuffed, were they kicked in the head because they were struggling, or because the color of their skin?. This is America’s dark history that is still relevant today. People with racist beliefs and allegiances are alive and well. They’re still in positions of power dictating what happens in our society to their liking. What can we do about it? Can we protest peacefully? Enter the Black Lives Matter movement. The establishment has wrongfully attempted to label them as a hate group. Their message is to promote their peaceful existence. They don’t want their people falsely arrested or brutalized by the police anymore. Black mothers are tired of burying their sons who were shot by police while they were unarmed. To bring this tragic issue to the spotlight, professional athletes began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. These athletes wanted to protest peacefully while making a noticeable statement that would draw attention to their noble cause. Spearheading this movement was quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Even while taking a knee the establishment doesn’t want their cause to succeed. During a speech in September of 2017, president Donald Trump was quoted as saying, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!”(Trump Attacks NFL Anthem Protesters). Yet nowhere in the US code dictates that people must stand for the flag, it only states they should. (law.cornell.edu)
Now how do we solve the issue of racism in America? Well we can’t. Not just yet. Segregation in the United States ended in the 1960’s. That means many people who were high school students during that time are still alive today. They’re in their 70s and late 60s. This means their narrow views were able to pass on to their children as well as grandchildren. You can’t stop an idea though. You can dilute it. Most white racist groups align themselves with the KKK or the Nazi party. In Germany post World War II, they’ve been able to dissolve it a great deal. They’ve done this through a process called denazification. They acknowledge the Holocaust existed and strive to rid themselves of anything Nazi related. But why aren’t we doing this here in the US?
We are protected by the first amendment. A powerful amendment that gives us free speech. It is defined as “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (law.cornell.edu). Yet some phrases are deemed illegal already here such as shouting, “FIRE” in a crowded theater to incite a panic filled response. Another phrase that could land you in a world of trouble would be to make a statement against the president’s well being as “I want to assassinate the president.”
The thing that these two statements have in common are harm. Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater could cause great bodily harm to moviegoers and they rush out with the high probability of trampling over another. Saying you want to hurt the president is straightforward. He is deemed to be the highest figurehead in the country. Today you can still say the word “N—-R” with no penalty. Just as the Holocaust is part of Germany’s dark past, slavery is part of the United States’. So why is a word that has no positive context allowed? It was a word used by slave masters and the like to inflict pain amongst the African American population. In Germany, things related to Nazi Germany such as the swastika and SS logos are prohibited. In the United States, you are still allowed to wear KKK robes. Why are robes of a group that hunted down and hung blacks allowed? There is a difference between freedom of speech and wearing articles of clothing that are made to elicit of negative response. What purpose do these Ku Klux Klan robes serve with their patch emblem shown? You are also allowed to wear Nazi clothing. The Nazis were a regime that our veterans fought hard against. They lost their lives to help end their rule and today in our country they still exist. In their country of origin, they are not allowed to exist. In Germany, giving the Nazi salute is also illegal. That’s how dedicated they are to exterminating their propaganda. Why do we allow ourselves to be subjected to hate and fear on American soil by a group we fought against? With all of this information, a glimmer of hope can be possible. The United States needs its own version of denazification. A new Amendment making it illegal to wear these specific labels of hate. Some may argue that white nationalists would only find new symbols to fly for their cause. This may be but these are symbols worldwide that are known to represent hate. In doing so, you eliminate something they stand for. Something evil that they’ve used as a weapon of fear. In doing so you strip them of their purpose. You give future generations a chance to be taught that the person next to you is no different regardless of their skin color. You empower African Americans and other people of color to live their lives freely. The slate of racism has a shot at being wiped clean. A white 5 year old boy growing up in the deep south who may be taught to respect a swastika instead could be taught to respect his fellow black classmates as people.
“36 U.S. Code ss301-National Anthem.” Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/36/301.
“First Amendment.” Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History. Fifth Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005, New York, NY.
Smith, Maegan. “Neo-Nazi Rally In Newnan Met With Counter-Protests.”Wabe, 21 April 2018, www.wabe.org/photos-neo-nazi-rally-newnan-met-counter-protests/.
“Trump Attacks NFL Anthem Protesters.” YouTube, uploaded by Guardian News, 23, September 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=kQ2bY__amkg.
“What We Investigate.” FBI, www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism.