Friday, 19 June 2015

Charleston Shooting: A Reader

A roundup of perspectives, a profile of one of the victims, commentary, and related content,all topped off with a listing of the victims of the Charleston shooting. Again, I attempt to keep my voice asn those of other whites minimal.

Cynthia Hurd
Susie Jackson
Tywanza Sanders
Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
Myra Thompson
Ethel Lance
Rev. Daniel Simmons

A friend of accused Charleston church shooter claims that the suspect had spoken about how he was angered by the uproar over the Trayvon Martin shooting and “wanted something to spark up the race war again.” Joey Meek recalled how Roof, 21, spoke about how he wanted segregation reinstated. “He said that he thought of the in general as a race was bringing down the white race,” Meek said. “He never said the n-word, he never made racial slurs, he never targeted a specific black person. He never did any of that so it was just pretty much a shock,” Meek said.

A note that the terrorist knew whom he was seeking to kill. "A relative of one of the nine people killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, said a survivor of the massacre told her the shooter entered the church asking to see the Rev. Clementa Pinckney. 'They showed him where he was and Clementa, being the kind-spirited person that he is, he had him [the shooter, identified as suspect Dylann Roof] sit next to him,' Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of the church's slain pastor, told ABC News today after speaking with one of the survivors who was in the church.

Charleston Shooting Victim Clementa Pinckney's Chilling Speech about Walter Scott
Adam Geller and Seanna Adcox, Associated Press (The Grio)
18 June 2015

"Clem was a well-spoken young man. He never raised his voice. He emulated, I guess we would say, the pastors that he came in contact with. He said he had a calling to help people. ... We take him as our little boy, even though he became…such a humble young man. You know you couldn’t help but love him. It hurts. It hurts."
-retired Rev. Thomas E. McClary

American Muslims Have a Race Problem
Zeba Khan, Al Jazeera
16 June 2015
Immigrants from the Middle East hail from a region whose slave trade commoditized at least 10 million Africans, particularly women, over millennia. Saudi Arabia and Yemen abolished slavery only in 1962, and today, there are frequent reports of abuse and exploitation of African and Asian domestic workers throughout the region.

Black Girl Dangerous wrote the following reaction validly lashing out at whites, who among others things have been trying to keep the spotlight on themselves and other whites.

Mia McKenzie is a writer who studied at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a black feminist whose work has won awards such as the Lambda Literary Award

'Things Fall Apart': On Mother Emanuel and White Terrorism
Kirsten West Savali, The Root
29 June 2015

We are a nation sick with racism, refusing to seek comprehensive treatment, and black people are disproportionately suffering because of it.

On the run and armed, the threat Roof posed wasn’t ‘perceived,’ as is the excuse typically given when innocent and unarmed black people are gunned down around the country by thugs with badges -- or men whose whiteness grants them the same freedom and authority to kill with impunity. Still, he was quietly captured 200 miles away in Shelby, North Carolina and escorted to a plane that transported him back to Charleston without a blonde hair on his head out of place. As usual, killing while white affords you protection and the presumption of innocence, while existing while black gets you killed.

True to form, a mainstream media complex crafted to perpetuate white supremacy has quoted family members describing Roof as “quiet and soft spoken” and his sadistic smile has been described by media as “baby-faced.” Just as insulting, Republican Governor Nikki Haley pulled out her best version of white tears as she led law enforcement on a victory lap for capturing the racist killer.

Let’s be clear: Haley’s commitment to flying a flag drenched in the blood, sweat and tears of enslaved Africans, and her stance that state hate crime legislation is not needed, proves that she doesn’t give a damn about the souls of black folks. To paraphrase Audre Lorde, her guilt does not serve us and she’s better off saving her tears for someone else, possibly the hypocritical white Christians who screamed #IAmCharlie in support of Islamophobic free speech, but have yet to declare #IAmCharleston.

The infestation of racism will continue to gnaw relentlessly at this country’s foundation—unnoticed by those not living within its margins and crevices—until things fall apart and it all comes down.

White Terrorism Is as Old as America
Brit Bennett, New York Times
19 June 2015

Media outlets have been reluctant to classify the Charleston shooting as terrorism, despite how eerily it echoes our country’s history of terrorism. American-bred terrorism originated in order to restrict the movement and freedom of newly liberated black Americans who, for the first time, began to gain an element of political power. The Ku Klux Klan Act, which would in part, lawmakers hoped, suppress the Klan through the use of military force, was one of America’s first pieces of antiterrorism legislation. When it became federal law in 1871, nine South Carolina counties were placed under martial law, and scores of people were arrested.

This is the privilege of whiteness: While a terrorist may be white, his violence is never based in his whiteness. A white terrorist has unique, complicated motives that we will never comprehend. He can be a disturbed loner or a monster. He is either mentally ill or pure evil. The white terrorist exists solely as a dyad of extremes: Either he is humanized to the point of sympathy or he is so monstrous that he almost becomes mythological. Either way, he is never indicative of anything larger about whiteness, nor is he ever a garden-variety racist. He represents nothing but himself. A white terrorist is anything that frames him as an anomaly and separates him from the long, storied history of white terrorism.

In America’s contemporary imagination, terrorism is foreign and brown. Those terrorists do not have complex motivations. We do not urge one another to reserve judgment until we search through their Facebook histories or interview their friends. We do not trot out psychologists to analyze their mental states. We know immediately why they kill. But a white terrorist is an enigma. A white terrorist has no history, no context, no origin. He is forever unknowable. His very existence is unspeakable. We see him, but we pretend we cannot. He is a ghost floating in the night.

Brit Bennett is a writer whose debut novel, “The Mothers,” is forthcoming from Riverhead Books.

1. White Topeka, Kan. Residents Find KKK Flyers on Their Property
Nigel Roberts, The Root
19 June 2015

2. Va. Man Threatens Richmond Churchgoers: ‘I’m Gonna Kill All You and All You Are Gonna Get Killed Tonight’
Breanna Edwards, The Root
19 June 2015

3. Inside the Mind of Dylann Roof: Alleged Racist Manifesto Reveals Deep Hatred of Blacks
Lynette Holloway, The Root
20 June 2015

A 2,000-word screed believed to be written by Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old accused shooter in the Charleston, S. C., church massacre, are the ramblings of a man with a deep-seated hatred toward blacks. The manifesto was discovered at through a Reverse Whois lookup on and is registered to Roof, Gawker reports.

"I have no choice," the author writes. "I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet (sic). Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me."

Lynnette Holloway is a journalist and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.


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