I hope it’s only in America that a young white man can walk into a historic black church, tell the black people inside he’s there to kill them because they’re black, murder nine black people, tell the police he murdered them because they’re black, and publish a manifesto explaining he’s killing black people because they’re black… and end up with right wing blowhards claiming the crime has nothing to do with racism. People, if racism can’t be defined in part as “murdering a bunch of people because they’re black,” it’s time we strike the sapiens from our species’ name. We’re in no way wise if we can’t recognize the blatant racism that drove this horrific crime.
For anyone who’s still thinking Fox News is a legitimate news channel, and voting for Republicans is a sensible thing to do, I hope this clued them in that they’re completely wrong on both counts. And it’s utterly disgusting to see this tragedy appropriated by conservative Christians desperate to pretend they’re persecuted. I don’t know that disgust is a strong enough word for what I’m feeling when I hear them spew that shit. How heartless, how self-absorbed, how fucking sociopathic do you have to be to take this crime against black people and make it all about your pasty white self? People bleating about how this was an attack on Christians needs to turn over the keys and find a different civilization to live in. I hear Saudi Arabia shares some of their values.
If you thought you were living in a post-racial America, I hope that the asshole who killed nine black people who warmly invited his white supremacist self to join their worship services has disabused you of that notion. We’re pretty fucking far from post-racial. Just because we managed to elect one single biracial dude after 43 lily white dudes to the highest office in the land doesn’t mean we’ve done diddly shit about our deep and abiding problems with racism in this country. If anything, we’ve gotten worse. An entire chunk of our political spectrum is now so narcissistic that they think everything is about their white Christian selves, including racially motivated murder of black folk. They’re not even trying to pretend to care about the plight of racial minorities anymore. They want so much to be martyrs that they climb over other people’s corpses to proclaim their victimhood. It’s really quite breathtaking.
If there’s any solution to this, part of it has to be finding some means to convince angry white folk that the world doesn’t, in fact, revolve around them. Nor should it. And every single one of us has to admit we live in a racist society, and have done for so long that we ourselves are, in fact, at least a little bit racist. Every single one of us has to confront that within ourselves, and change it. All of us have the responsibility to listen to people of color when they explain to us what society looks like from their perspective. We all have to be willing to step up, take responsibility, and make the necessary changes when they tell us what the problem is.
With that in mind, Samantha Field has collected a good number of non-white voices speaking out about Charleston. Listen to them. And the next time some far-right dumbshit starts spouting off about how this crime wasn’t about race, tell them to shut up and read Samantha’s links, and the murderer’s manifesto, and then do the hard, brave work of facing actual reality.
It’s going to take all of us to build a society in which murders like those at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church no longer happen. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Maybe we can start by tearing down this flag.