HATE CRIME? Terrorism By Any Other Name Is Still Terrorism

(Opinion) The world wakes up once again to a terrorist assault on American soil. Indeed, the United States is on the edge of upheaval over this callous act.

But this is not terrorist act that would be acknowledged as such. It will be simply called a Hate Crime, a code word harking back to a time of politically correct historical reckoning in the United States. While there is no doubt that the assailant who sat with the gathering for an hour before opening fire did indeed harbor massive amounts of hate in his heart, terrorism by another name is still terrorism.

Social media being as it is, my first inkling of this travesty came via Facebook. I didnt even click on the link. Instead, Donny Hathaway was placed in heavy rotation and I just meditated in my office chair until I began sobbing uncontrollably.

It was an emotional purge.

Crying over the news isnt something that I make a habit of doing or I would have shriveled up like a raisin from dehydration long ago with the deaths of Eric Garner, John Crawford, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley and Walter Scott occurring at a virtual rapid fire pace. 

The tears are how my body purges itself of volatile anger.  To that end, I dont cry very much because I dont get THAT angry very much. As a Black man in America I have been taught not to get too angry as said emotion can cost me my job via a misconstruing, cost me my freedom via a miscommunication or cost me my life via a misunderstanding.

But today, they can miss me with all of that. 

Usually the emotions fade overnight and I awake in the morning and look at my life and think Im alright. Im good and go about my day.  But this morning I awake to visual confirmation of the assailant as well as additional information about the site of the shooting.

Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded by the great Denmark Vessey and Morris Brown in 1818. It is the oldest American church south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Emanuel AME pastor Clementa Pinckney, who was the youngest person ever to be elected State Senator in South Carolina history, was killed along eight other parishioners during Bible Study in a horrific shooting. Pinckney was one of several pastors who held rallies and offered spiritual counseling in the wake of Walter Scott his murder, and a subsequent attempt at framing him, by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.

These actions appear to be yet another war call from an increasingly vocal, alleged white supremacist minority to terrorize the American populous of African descent into being more cowed and bullied than some already are. It doesnt take a genius to see the immediate result will be increased dependency upon state and federal law enforcement for the protection of Blacks. The same state and federal law enforcement officials responsible for killing untold numbers of Blacks under suspicious circumstances over the past 100 years or so. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

Another foreseeable result is more vomit-inducing instances of Stockholm Syndrome within the African American middle-class as well. Theyll figure out a way to deflect this into being Black peoples fault. Im not big on guarantees, but I guarantee that.

Whether this clearly racially-motivated violence perpetrated on the parishioners of a living piece of African history in America was an assassination or a terrorist act, the message that is being sent is clear. We hate you, we want you gone, we will act on it, and theres nothing you can do about it.

The designation of the shooting as an act of terrorism will invoke a different response than simply calling it a hate crime.

Yes, the wording does matter.

Nine Black deaths at the hands of a white assailant, and the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning is Rev. Al Sharpton telling Black people to be calm. My first inclination was to toss my TV out the fifth floor window, go outside to stomp it to pieces, then set those pieces on fire. So infuriatingly obvious what this mans mandate is. Forever telling Black people to be calm when he needs start telling White folks to calm down.  

Ive never heard of Blacks committing shootings of this magnitude at any location, at any point, even in the most gangster of situations. Nine lives taken away in one fell swoop. And again it is people of African descent who need to calm down? Lord have mercy.

So I turn the channel to find that yet another church shooting has occurred. This one was in Memphis, Tennessee at St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church on Pendleton Ave. No one was injured during the incident, but the message being sent is quite clear.

If these are the opening shots of a renewed offensive against Blacks in America then this is a situation that no amount of protesting is going to solve unless said marching has something to do with Black folks right to defend themselves by any means necessary in a land that is increasingly poisonous to them and whose rulers appear unwilling or unable to prevent them from being wantonly slaughtered.

Let’s get one thing straight- white supremacy has never gone anywhere. Don’t fool yourself into ever believing that. Doing so promotes complacency and a state of malaise. As these actions clearly show, Blacks in America can no longer afford either of those luxuries. 

This morning, Thursday June 18th, police arrested the suspect in the Charleston shooting, 21-year-old Dylann Roof of Lexington, South Carolina; he was apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina. According to KTLA 5, Roof is pictured wearing a jacket adorned with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and nearby Rhodesia, a former British colony that was ruled by a white minority until 1980. This further fuels the belief that Roof was acting on white supremacist ideology upon committing this heinous act. 

There are unsubstantiated stories out of South Carolina saying Roof stood up after an hour of praying with the congregation and said “I have to do it. You rape our women, you kill our people” before opening fire. It is also said that he reloaded several times. Evil, cowardly, racist, horrific. You can use any adjective to describe it but it’s obvious what it was and what it will always be.


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