From just before our founding in early 2015, there was an evident uptick in anti-immigrant, antisemitic, racially-based violence and rhetoric popularized and normalized by the Trump campaign and burgeoning of the Alt-Right, among others. The truth is, the rate of racially-fueled violent crime has not decreased since the 1960’s, and we are continuing seeing a rise in nationalism and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Large and organized hate groups such as the KKK and its many counter parts still operate and are trying to expand and we see people who previously withheld these beliefs be more likely than ever to seek out and join these organized hate groups. The white nationalist discourse that is becoming popularized is very dangerous as it allows people to hold racist and bigoted ideas, often coupled with positions of power, and has inspired many to act on them as we’ve seen with Dylan Roof, Robert Dear, Jeremy Christian, and James Alex Fields.
While most people may believe that they are not a racist and don’t contribute to racism and oppression in America, by not actively countering the institutionalized and systematic racism enforced by the State you are allowing it to flourish.
Asheville Anti Racism (AAR) is a group of individuals located in Asheville, NC dedicated to smashing fascism, fighting racism and taking down bigotry. We take an active approach to keeping this shit out of our community by maintaining a presence and watching/confronting members in the community head on. Monitoring individuals suspected of perpetuating oppressive behaviors and/or organizing under a platform of bigotry is important because it not only helps stay active & engaged in your community but also can provide important warning sign before an individual could commit serious acts of violence.
Being informed and/or having the courage to step up and speak out about people’s oppressive actions is your responsibility. Remaining silent in these situations allows violence to be perpetuated.
Free speech for fascists?
AAR does not use the state to prevent anyone’s free speech. The right to free speech restricts the state from censoring ideas, it does not stop the public from opposing hateful ideas.
Anti-racists and antifascists have an obligation to deny a platform to bigots so that they can’t spread their message and recruit. Concert venues, meeting halls, radio programs and the like make choices about who to host on a regular basis. These choices have a very real impact on bigoted ideas taking root in one’s community.
Responding to bigoted speech is important. We believe in being proactive when it comes to fascist violence, which means confronting fascist organizing before they have a chance to put their ideas into action, and taking fascist threats seriously. We believe in direct action.
What YOU can do as a business/individual:
- Acknowledge your privilege
- Use your privilege
- Call your community out
- Allow yourself to be called out
- Commit to working on yourself everyday
- Listen to a diversity of marginalized voices
- Educate yourself – do not expect others to explain their oppression for you.
- Visibly display your condemnation of discrimination (you can even use our sticker)
- Refuse to provide goods & services to people who express hateful opinions or actions
- Outwardly condemn any oppressive behavior
Monitoring individuals suspected of perpetuating and/or perpetrating oppressive behaviors is important. It helps stay active & engaged in your community, but could also provide an important warning sign before an individual commits a serious acts of violence.
If you see/suspect someone being oppressive:
The Police – Do not call them. Law enforcement officers work within the framework that uphold the very hierarchical systems that perpetuate white supremacy and bigotry.
-You can start by talking to them about their behavior, if you feel your personal safety won’t be in jeopardy beyond your comfortability.
-Watch their activity.
-Notify the community — Not slander if it’s true.
If you feel as if this is over your head, refer your concerns to AAR. You can always reach us via email at ashevilleantiracism(at)protonmail(dot)com or at ashevilleantiracism(at)riseup(dot)net