‘Today is a Good Day to Deny’: The American Right Wing Refusal to Face Facts

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.

Image is nine photographs of the idividuals murdered in Charleston. The women are on the sides, the men down the middle.
The nine people murdered in Emmanuel AME Church. Via Ophelia Benson.

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.

 

Image shows the South Carolina capitol with the Confederate flag flying. I've added a red circle with a line through it over the flag.
This is a shameful thing to have flying anywhere, much less a statehouse. Take it down. Original image by Eyeliam. No symbol added by moi.
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‘Today is a Good Day to Deny’: The American Right Wing Refusal to Face Facts
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9 thoughts on “‘Today is a Good Day to Deny’: The American Right Wing Refusal to Face Facts

  1. rq
    1

    Thank you for putting the victims front and centre like that, and for not putting up anymore pictures of the murderer. Who should, by all indications, also face a charge of domestic terrorism:

    According to the FBI’s website, political motivation isn’t the only defining factor for domestic terrorism. Activities with the following characteristics are considered domestic terrorism:

    Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

    Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and

    Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.;

    These are the names of the dead:
    Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
    Reverend Clementa Pinckney
    Cynthia Hurd
    Tywanza Sanders
    Myra Thompson
    Ethel Lee Lance
    Rev. Daniel L. Simmons
    Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor
    Susie Jackson

  2. rq
    2

    Just one thing I want to add:

    We all have to be willing to step up, take responsibility, and make the necessary changes when they tell us what the problem is.

    I think they have been telling us, for a very long time, what the problem is. And we haven’t been listening. Not just in USAmerica, but in Canada, and elsewhere around the world. I think right now, there should be far less pressure on black people and other people of colour to continue to explain to us, white folk, what the problem is, and more of white folk stepping up and educating themselves and standing up against those racist jokes just a little more – the same way men should be doing with sexism, for starters, with short phrases like ‘not cool’ or simply not laughing.
    I think people of colour have been more than doing their share of education and attempted outreach, and we white people have been doing far too little to accept it. And I mean for realz accept it, not just on an official, superficial level.
    So yes, listen to black people, listen to them, listen to the ones working and protesting and living today, and listen to those who have done so in the past. But don’t demand an education, don’t demand to be heard, don’t demand that they centre the education around you and what makes you comfortable. Because very little of it will make you feel comfortable, truth be told. But it’s up to us white people to call out other white people, and to stand up to other white people, in ways that they would ignore and diminish from black people.
    And when black people speak, shut the fuck up. And listen.

  3. 3

    The other day, someone said to me, “I’m not a racist, but we have a (insert n-word) for president.”

    Excuse me, but yes you are a racist.

    Scalia’s claim that we as a nation have moved beyond racism is astounding.

  4. 6

    Okay, there is one point I’ll add if I may. Thankyou Dana Hunter for showing us the nine faces that should be everywhere and should be thought about most after the Charleston massacre – the faces of those murdered for skin colour and luck of birth who did nothing to deserve their cruel end.

    We keep seeing the racist scumbag mass murderers face and hearing his words in the media. Okay. There’s reason for that I guess.

    But let’s never forget the people who were lost because of it and their nine separate human lives and their wishes and dreams and hopes and existences as individual, worthwhile I think good people too. Let’s remember them and remember them well and clearly and think of them and their families. Then remember they were killed for nothing, no good reason only for a pathetic cowardly douchebags racist hate.

    PS. Is it just me or could the exact arguments be used for flying the Nazi swastika flag as the confederate one and yet who defend doing that and not find it political suicide yet how many defend the (let’s call it what it is) pro-slavery, KKK and racism flag?

    I’m not the first or only one saying this either :

    http://aattp.org/own-it-right-wing-racists-and-terrorists-the-american-swastika/

    Tear down that flag and the hate and bigotry that rides in with it!

    (I know, I know, Godwin’s law – but, dammit, again, I think this case does merit that comparison and hold true regardless.)

  5. 8

    Sorry that’s powerful stuff and in some ways so damn depressing and confronting. Applies to so much extrapolated to other things and places too. Be warned.

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