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Overcoming Charlottesville. Following the racial tension in Charlottesville, Va, our nation must move forward more unified than ever before.

Bethlehem Daniel, Ad/Business Editor

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I pride myself on being an American. As the child of immigrants who came to the United States in search of a better life for their kids, I am continuously reminded of how lucky I am to live in a country where we value the concept of equality and opportunity for all. However, we all know that this ideal is far from its implementation into reality. Growing up in Carmel, I have had people question my intelligence, income level and behavior due to my race. But, as a whole, these events have been anomalies within my childhood, brief glimpses into an issue that persists more frequently in different parts of the nation that I have been spared from as the Carmel community sheltered me from one of the most profoundly regressive facets of our society.

This alienation from race relations, though, is only a temporary remedy for freeing ourselves from the issue, as not only our past, but recent events have shown us. Three years ago, the shooting of Michael Brown instigated not only protests in Ferguson, Mo. and throughout the United States, but also instigated the development of the landmark Black Lives Matter movement. A mere month ago, the “Unite the Right Rally” that occurred on the campus at the University of Virginia in protest of the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee shook our nation to its core once again. One would think we had reached the point in our nation’s history where taking down a statue that represents bigotry, hatred and disarray would be a given, but sadly, even decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, our nation continues to be regressive in this regard. In fact, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2016 nearly 1,503 Confederate “place names and other symbols in public spaces” continue to exist throughout the United States in a study that the center identified as “far from comprehensive.” Ironically, “far from comprehensive” is also a term that can be used to describe our current attitude toward addressing this issue.

Although the president of Washington and Lee University, Will Dudley, may believe that General Lee was “a Christian saint that embodied the moral greatness of the Old South,” the rest of our nation, besides nationalists that sympathize with Dudley, is moving in the right direction towards addressing race relations. Whether it’s the 10 day march from Charlottesville to Washington D.C. scheduled to start two weeks after the rally or the rapid removal of Confederate statues throughout the United States following the incident, our nation is gradually moving toward the right direction. However, we must stray away from a temporary remedy following racial conflict and work toward instigating discussion between all Americans to address this issue in the long-term. After all, we are all human, and it is about time we started acting like it.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Bethlehem Daniel at [email protected]

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