At the Presidential debate this week, President Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacist groups, instead telling them to “stand back and stand by.” It was a terrifying moment in a time when violence motivated by racism is on the rise in America, and it was hailed as a victory by violent white supremacist groups across the country. Refusal to condemn white supremacy is a failure of leadership and a gross dereliction of the President’s duty to Black and brown Americans, especially Black and brown children who deserve the right to grow up knowing they are safe and their lives have value.
The Children’s Defense Fund unabashedly and unequivocally condemns white supremacy in all of its forms. We see clearly that white supremacist violence against Black, brown, Jewish, and Muslim people is a danger to our communities and a danger to our children. White supremacist violence is terrorism and must be condemned in the strongest of terms, and anything short of unambiguous condemnation of the heinous acts and beliefs of white supremacist groups is complicity.
We also know the danger of white supremacy is not restricted to physical violence or to overt racist behavior and hate speech, because it is built into the core of our nation’s laws and policies. It is built into our culture, as well, which tells and teaches white people they are inherently superior to people of color and promotes internalized racism among nonwhite Americans–which is especially damaging to children of color. White supremacy is present in the economic and racial injustice faced by Black and brown families and written into the indignities families living in poverty face as they seek support. White supremacy is written into child welfare policies that disproportionately surveil Black and brown families and that choose to take children away from loving parents rather than providing those parents the support they need. White supremacy shows up in our education system from our textbooks to our discipline and exclusion policies. White supremacy leads to children locked in cages at our borders, to a cradle-to-prison pipeline that jails Black and brown children at a higher rate for the same offenses as white children, and to profound harm to the physical and mental health of children. White supremacy leads to a culture of hate, of distrust, and of violence, both physical and mental. Until we root out these hateful systems, we will all suffer.
We must always be vigilant to acknowledge, condemn, and dismantle white supremacy wherever it exists. We refuse to stand back or stand by as it harms another generation of our kids.