Snickering About the Master’s Tools Will Never…

Every joke about tiki torches dilutes the message that literal Nazis are trying to send us about the future they want for our country. There’s this concept that white supremacy is on the fringes, that it’s an edge case, that white nationalism has nothing to do with the “real” America. White supremacy depends on that rhetoric to survive and grow.

So, if you’re confronted with an actual Nazi/white supremacy/white nationalism/alt-right/racist rally happening with openness and pride, and your primary response is to make a joke about tiki torches or Home Depot or citronella or mosquitoes, you’re part of the problem. You’re diminishing the size and intensity of the wing of hatred that’s been trying to destroy our country before the United States of America even existed. The wing of hatred that believes it was promised a white male future, and is willing to destroy black people, indigenous people, immigrants, people of color, queer people, Jewish people, Muslim people, and disabled people to see that future through.

Yes, belittle Nazis. Yes, mock the teachings of white supremacy. Yes, expose right-wing racism as pathetic and weak. But don’t laugh at their weapons unless you’ve stared one down yourself.

Is a tiki torch not a stick you light on fire? Can you not beat a person with a tiki torch? Commit arson with one? Burn a person’s skin? Use it to illuminate your pasty white face so that, when you’re photographed at a Nazi rally, the entire world can see who you are?

(You can donate to the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP here.)

Written by

Poet and tech writer from Wilmington, NC. @kathleenejones

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