Learn it

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

First of all, “white” isn’t a nation. Disregarding the fact that any nationalism, “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations,” per Merriam-Webster, is a nasty, chauvinistic business, “white nationalism” is still a non-sequitur. The “alt-right” is a euphemism, co-opting the word “alternative” about 25 years after commercial radio did. “Nazis” and “Confederates” are anachronisms. None of those terms accurately describe the angry, privileged people who marched, shouted and chanted in Charlottesville last week. Simply put, there’s just one term to describe those people.

They’re racists.

As you’ve probably heard, one of the faces at the forefront of this gathering of racists was Peter Cvjetanovic, a University of Nevada, Reno student and employee. He’s gotten a lot of local attention the last few days, with old-media interviews and social media degradations.

Many locals are justifiably upset about having a modern face of racism associated with our university, and there are several petitions circulating to get the guy fired and/or expelled. However, the university has made it clear that they don’t see justifiable grounds for that.

But here’s the thing: That dude needs to be taught a lesson.

Several lessons, as a matter fact. Hard lessons. Years worth of lessons. Preferably by an institution of higher learning.

But this can be a community effort. Here, I’ll start. Lesson number one: Racism is wrong. Hating people because they look different from you or because their grandparents lived somewhere different than where your grandparents lived is dumb. Taking pride in other people’s accomplishments just because they kind of look like you is dumb. Refusing to acknowledge that other people have endured unnecessary hardship because of systematic and historical disadvantages is short-sighted.

You want to be a student of history? Great. Start learning.