Recently, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster echoed the desire of President Trump to refuse immigrants into South Carolina from the six countries mentioned in Trump's travel ban: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia. This comes on the heels of Trump attempting to rescind DACA. It also comes after S.C. gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton expressed pride for the Confederate flag and the Confederacy. It comes after Trump announced plans to take $1 billion from FEMA, which is used to deal with national disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Irma, to build a wall for which he ridiculously promised Mexico would pay. It comes after McMaster refused to reject his membership at an all-white country club after obtaining the position of governor. Frankly, this list, which flies in the face of equality and progress, could go on for a long time.
Many modern conservative policies and philosophies are racially motivated, xenophobic, homophobic, and a bunch of other phobics, like those above. Phobias, though, are irrational by definition making logical discourse challenging. But let's make a wild swing for common sense, nonetheless.
Why be so suddenly supportive of banning immigrants from certain countries? Statistics and facts suggest we should be more afraid of domestic terrorists, namely white-supremacists and the alt-right. How many Iranians have committed acts of terrorism in the United States? The terrorist attacks of 9/11 which, frankly, sparked this great fear of Middle Easterners in the first place. It was the largest foreign terrorist attack to date on American soil. Facts show that 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. Two were from United Arab Emirates, one was from Lebanon and one was from Egypt. Not one of those countries is part of Trump's travel ban or McMaster's list of immigrants he is requesting to be banned from South Carolina. Furthermore, if the vetting process is the main concern, as many conservatives claim, then the entire process needs fixing and no one should be allowed to immigrate until it is fixed.
The Huffington Post reported that of the 201 terrorist incidents that have occurred in the United States between 2008 and 2016, nearly 60 percent were conducted by right-wing extremists including white supremacists and militias. Where is the plea to ban white-supremacists and members of alt-right organizations from interstate travel or the right to own guns without proper vetting? We should be more afraid of domestic right-wing extremists than people from Iran. Which brings me to the word "we."
In regards to racial equality and xenophobia, McMaster stated that he didn't foresee South Carolina removing Confederate monuments in our state and added, "We have been through those issues over the years ... We do things differently."
No, Henry. You and your all-white country club have the luxury of doing things differently. You've "been through those issues" by fighting against racial equality, perpetuating irrational fear of Muslims, and strengthening your "good ol' boy" network. You do things differently by ignoring the systemic racism and prejudice in this state. You do things differently by being privileged enough to equate the fad of protesting to minorities finally finding an opportunity to remove racist monuments and flags in the South.
We, on the other hand, have gotten used to being stared at because of our skin color or our names. We have gotten used to living in a state that honors blatant racism with statues and monuments. We have gotten used to equality being a slow, uphill battle. We have sometimes felt like giving up.
There has been a very distinct rise in racial violence. Children of color are mocked and harassed. U.S. citizens are called terrorists in classrooms because of their ethnic background. The victory of "hope," which we enjoyed over the previous eight years, threatened the classic American establishment and privilege. Ultra conservatives got a glimpse of a world where they might actually share power with a darker-skinned population. It wasn't even a fear of experiencing the oppression that minorities have experienced since the beginning of colonization. It was simply a fear of equality and it sparked an alt-right revolution where burning crosses, swastikas, and skinheads became a legitimate political force that helped Trump win the White House. It is a fear that will guarantee a continuation of South Carolina leaders who see racism as heritage.
This is the systemic oppression that we experience and you trivialize, McMaster. You want to ban immigrants from the Middle East just to spread the xenophobia and feed the new conservative marketing campaign. That is what we have been through and what we continue to go through.
McMaster is a weak, privileged continuation of a kindler, gentler oppression. He preaches phobia. When WE, as a united people of South Carolina, can refuse the phobias that result in racism, walls, and immigration bans, then McMaster can use the word "we." Until then, save that talk for the country club. We aren't hearing it.