All eyes of the world are focused on Charleston, South Carolina, as yet another mass murder has taken place. This time it took place at a setting most people least expected, at a church. The most troubling part is that it was a white male shooting up a black church, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to be exact. A total of nine people were killed, including South Carolina state senator and pastor Clementa Pinckney. As of the writing of this article, the terrorist is still on the loose.
Once again, we are faced with another mass murder involving a white male killer (Dylann Storm Roof). Will this man get the usual sympathetic treatment from the media like his predecessors and considered a singular act of white male violence by a deranged individual? Will this man turn the gun on himself for whatever reason? Will the media shift this tragedy into an inquiry on why black-on-black crime isn’t a more pressing issue? More importantly, will this man get caught, and if so, will he be taken alive or dead at the hands of the police?
(The shooter has been apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina. So that answers two questions.)
But the one question that won’t get asked is what’s going on with white folks, especially cops, and their dislike of black people to the point of killing them? One can never seem to ask such a question without being labeled a racist. However, with such events as the continuous murders and assaults by mostly white police, the constant appropriation of what many whites consider to be black culture, the endless finger-pointing of all things wrong with society directed at black people and the denial that it has any racist implications, one can say that that question is pretty valid.
One of the ways we can examine why this is happening is when we start to turn back the clock and have an honest look at history. However, there are certain people who think that America’s racist history is just that. History. And that said history has no effect on what’s going on today. They will even object that what happened in the past is still going on today in some way, shape or form. After all, terrorism, a term they would not use when it comes to white folks, at the hands of white people was a thing of the past in their opinion. But those of us awaken and living in the real world know that white racism is still around and is here to stay, and no one is safe, not even in a church.
The past and present, particularly when it comes to white terrorism against black churches, are interconnected. In fact, it is inseparable. During the 1990s, there was a series of arson attacks against black churches throughout the Southern United States. During the Civil Rights era, there were terrorist attacks by violently racist whites who considered themselves ‘Christians’. Acts of petty vandalism have been reported sporadically where black churches are often the targeted places. So, it’s a safe bet that the past has a pretty good influence on what happened in Charleston.
Society must consider this mass murder as an act of terrorism. More to the point, society must take a hard and honest look into why white males are acting out violently against groups of people, especially black folks. Otherwise, there will be more acts of terrorism committed by troubled white men because of one of society’s most disturbing pathologies, the profound and blatant ignorance and denial of it all.