I was the first openly transgender student at my high school and successfully secured the rights for transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity, room with students of the same gender identity for overnight field trips, and to change their name in the school’s attendance system to reflect their preferred name and gender marker.
Racism and oppression, like domestic terrorism, have deep roots in the United States. As modern Americans confront a seemingly endless barrage of racial violence and terrorism, the language associated with these crimes serves as an important marker of national values and beliefs.
While the response of the president was certainly unprecedented, the inclination to highlight violence on the Left, and especially violence from black Americans, is not. In the mid 1960s, as black activists engaged in a decidedly nonviolent struggle for justice, that same tactic appears.
By his own admission, film creator Gottlieb was able to spend most of his life in Silver Spring shielded from the community’s past that included widespread discrimination in the community’s businesses, public buildings, and housing. Even after completing the film, Gottlieb appears to have learned little about the substantial role racism played in shaping his community.