This was one of my posts on an online forum for social workers, and thought it might be good to share as a blog post on here as well:
For me, undoubtedly, what happened at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC is an instance of a anti-black racist hate crime, an instance of white supremacist domestic terrorism.I kind of naively thought that in politics and media it’d be discussed as such. But of course, that is naiveté in considering all other such instances in the country’s recent history. Still, it’s hard for me to not feel disappointed and upset by a lot of the popular discourse around the news.
As is now the norm for me – which in itself a disappointing thing – I found some solace in the “fake” news shows on Comedy Central. I especially liked the panel that discussed the topic on Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. I still really love that the show often has panels in which it’s all people of color discussing an issue. In this panel in particular one person said that in addition to this being a hate crime, it was an assassination of an elected representative of United States, referring to the fact that a Democratic Congressman was among the victims of the shooting. Jon Stewart on Daily Show decided not to do any jokes and just keep it real, highlighting the political reality that America will spend trillions of dollars and sacrifice thousands of American soldiers to invade other countries if that fits in with the narrative of keeping American safe from foreigners, but isn’t willing to do jackshit when the terrorism happens at home and the terrorists are white Americans. There are influential people working so hard behind the scenes and on the scene so that the public will ignore and be ignorant of Americans themselves destroying America. Instead, despite Dylan Roof having stated out of his own mouth that he wants to kill black people, somehow Fox News and political leaders such as Rick Santorum are making this out to be an instance of an “attack on faith[Protestant Christianity].
I saw a tweet on my feed today that comically and so astutely highlighted this bizarre effort:
White Killer: I am a racist. This was racially motivated.
Media: Whoa there, buddy. We don’t have all the facts yet. Give us time.
I thought POTUS had some powerful remarks about this though I’m not sure it was necessary to add to the discourse the politics of gun control and gun violence. I mean, President Obama’s not wrong when he says that this kind of violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries and definitely not with this frequency, but by raising this point in this instance, it also has kind of meant that the leftwing media such as Mother Jones and MSNBC can get back to their original programming of talking about gun violence.
I feel there’s a lack of highlighting by the leaders the need to undo racism in this country. In fact, there is a deliberate effort by them to keep this country as racist it is. Lindsey Graham for example is defending how Confederate flag should not be removed from state and city capitols.
It’s frustrating that so many can’t just say something like what someone like Bernie Sanders has said about the event, that “The Charleston church killings are a tragic reminder of the ugly stain of racism that still taints our nation. This senseless violence fills me with outrage, disgust, and a deep, deep sadness. The hateful killing of nine people praying inside a church is a horrific reminder that, while we have made significant progress in advancing civil rights in this country, we are far from eradicating racism.”
This is such an initial basic step, not anywhere close to having a discourse about what we need to do as a nation, how we as a nation get to healing, get to undo racism, spread more mass love. Nope, before we can get there, we can’t seem to even say what was a racist action was a racist action. Racism is so covert nowadays that even when it takes front and center stage, people still look at it like it’s something that can be kept hush hush about.