Thoughts on Charleston: White Supremacy and Racism

Nine lives were taken in a church a few days ago in Charleston by a wanna-be white supremacist. The victims were black.

The massacre occurred at the Emanuel AME Church one evening during a Bible meeting. The assassin Dylann Roof waited an hour to make his move. He took out his gun and started firing indiscriminately killing six women and three men, one of them was Paster and Senator Clementa Pinckney. After the shooting, Roof managed to flee until he was captured in Shelby, North Carolina.

When asked why he did it? Roof replied that he wanted to start a race war. As it turns out, he was indeed a young white racist who intensely hated black people. Apparently, he planned to do something about it for months, according to a former roommate.

The families and friends of the nine victims publicly forgave Roof for his heinous act of terrorism, and I call it terrorism, because the young man was intent to start some chaos, drama and mayhem fueled by his white supremacist ideals he got from God knows where, probably from conservative media or from a hate site. He had a gun that he obtained and wanted to launch the first attack against a people he despises. And he succeeded in taking out a few lives, but his purpose was short lived somewhat as, with all tragedies, it only brought people, both black and white, closer together, if only temporary.

Sadly, there are still many people, mostly white, who supports Roof’s terrorism against the black community. They harbor the same racist feelings and views as he. Only many of them don’t have the guts to carry out the extent of what he did. Instead, they find other, more cowardly ways to express their white racist mindsets. But it’s still racism no matter how one looks at it, and it still harmful just the same.

dylann-roof-charleston-confederate-flag_640xAgain, I call what Dylann Roof did that fateful night terrorism. But there are still those who are considered ‘officials’ that can not and will not decide on what to call it. One can only guess that it was done by an American white guy on American soil against black people. Instead, they see it as a singular occurrence by a lone wolf with mental problems. They treat it as if it happens once every hundred years or so, purposely ignoring the problem of the angry white male with guns who shoot up and murder as many people as possible before – in most cases – taking themselves out.

Those on the right have a hard time admitting that this was indeed a hate crime. They refuse to see it as such, because it goes against their belief that white racism is a thing of the past. In fact, I would say they are too scared to face the reality that racism is still festering in America, and are even more frightened to face their own as almost all white supremacists and regular racists identify with the right. And I think they know it, but yet, they reject that truth, because it counters their political ideals and faith that racism is no more. Yet, they jump at a chance to prove that black racism is here, and sure enough, there are those who blame the shooting in Charleston on black folks, especially the President himself who is black.

Racism in America is real. The actions of that young man helps to prove that we are far from post-racial as possible. There are white males out there who feel entitled to what he thinks is his, and they are pissed off enough to do whatever it takes to teach the world a lesson that the world is his to own and command. When he doesn’t get what he wants, he feels isolated, betrayed, and wronged, and with access to weapons, he will punish the world. Whoever’s in his crosshairs will feel his wrath. No one is safe, not even white people.

As both black and white people heal each other through this crisis in the community of Charleston, the wound of racism will still be open enough for another terrorist attack to occur somewhere else. Another aggrieved white man will carry out a mass murder due to white privilege being denied in his mind and heart. He will have supporters and “excusers”. People will try to deflect what he did on the state of his mental wellbeing and will ignore, on purpose, the realities of racism, whiteness and gun culture, all of which is part of the American existence and what drives American violence. And it will remain so unless society deals with it’s other pathology. The pathology of denial.