On Friday, I discovered that one of my so-called friends is a white supremacist.
Like anyone else, I’ve encountered plenty of racists over the years, everything from garden-variety bigots down to card-carrying white nationalists, a disturbing and insidious fact of life in all corners of the world, though arguably a particularly American affliction that’s on the rise. Of late, it seems as if a fresh outbreak occurs every other day.
Many who aspire to inoculate themselves from this terrible disease live with the dull dread of finding out that a friend, loved one or family member is a carrier. Anyone who thinks it can’t happen to them is high on their ‘woke’ ass.
I stumbled upon this information while researching a pro-Confederate group. Honestly, it was a shock to see that one of my Facebook friends ‘liked’ it. Anyone in the press or academics, or who is a Watcher on the Wall monitoring potentially dangerous factions on social media, will tell you that ‘liking’ something does not necessarily equate agreeing with its platform. But based on this individual’s posts, they really like it. Their social footprint was as alt-right as Ted Nugent wrapped in a Confederate flag.
As far as I am aware, this person and I have never encountered one another in the flesh. We’d become friends, as people often do these days, because we have Facebook friends in common—nearly 350, I was stunned to learn.
A low-grade crisis of conscience ensued: What to do? It’d be simple to click ‘unfriend’ and move on with my life as if it never happened. Given that our interactions were entirely limited to a Facebook friendship, it seemed likely that this person (whom I’m not naming ’cause, duh, libel, but due as much to a likely futile, yet persistent hope that they may yet change their beliefs) wouldn’t even notice, or, if they did, would mumble something about the liberal media (guilty as charged this time, hoss) and feel a warped sense of victory at sending me packing.
No, that simply would not do. Obviously I was going to unfriend them, but this person needed to know why. Elsewise, how could they be certain that our severed relationship was due to my rejection of their beliefs, that such beliefs are antithetical to everything this patriot loves about her America?
It seemed no less than my duty to preemptively disabuse them of any misconceptions they could form about the unfriending. As I believe that opinions left unchallenged are much less likely to be changed, I sent my now-former friend the white supremacist the following message:
Hi, _____. I don’t believe we’ve been formally introduced, but thanks for your interest in being my friend. I’m writing to inform you that we can no longer be friends. It has recently come to my attention that you sympathize with the in-state scourge descendant of a national group that not only opposes the removal of Confederate monuments, it’s helmed by white supremacists. This fact, along with your many hateful posts about liberals—whose beliefs in truth, justice and liberty for all I proudly share—has led me to conclude that you are not someone I want to be associated with. Honestly, so different are our views that I doubt you want to be my friend.
I see from your posts that you do not believe yourself racist, just pro-Confederate. Well, let me clue you in on something: To be pro-Confederate is to support a racist cause. We wouldn’t say someone was pro-Nazi but not anti-Semitic, would we?
Racism is wrong, morally and actually. No matter the color of your skin, the name of your god (if any; none is also fine), the sound of your tongue, or the land of your birth, all people are equal. This is fact, not opinion. To believe otherwise is ignorant. Anyone who is unmoved to alter their opinions about other races, nationalities and religions by the brilliance, creativity, poise, perseverance, faith, dedication and love of Nobel prize winners, saints, scientists, captains of industry, world leaders, even Jesus Christ (a Middle Eastern Jew) is willfully ignorant.
I’m telling you this in the slim hope of changing your outlook. After all, if a white Southern woman who descends from Confederate soldiers won’t tell you you’re wrong, who will? I’m not ashamed of where I come from, but I do believe the defeat of my kinsmen’s racist and evil cause in the Civil War was the correct outcome, just as my grandfather’s service with the U.S. Army in the Italian Campaign contributed to the correct outcome in World War II: the defeat of the Nazi regime.
If we were personally acquainted beyond the superficial, I might be willing to go to further lengths to change your mind. As is, this is all I have to say on the matter. I honestly hope it makes a difference.
Oh, and one last thing: Bless your heart.