The times are unfolding before our very eyes. America has long been the media capital of the world. Ever since the invention of Morse code by Samuel Morse in 1835, the ability to transmit ideas over great distances has shaped the nation. Today, the functional predecessors of Morse code are transmitting hate and a country of depressed and entitled individuals are eating up every negative lie that is transmitted.
When recalling the deaths of nine African-American parishioners at the hands of a young white supremacist, it is difficult to contain the emotions that automatically well up inside of my chest. According to police reports, the parishioners even worshiped with their killer prior him slaying them all.
To me, this particular paradigm has manifested itself throughout American history. From the creation of the Memorial Day holiday by former slaves to pay their respects to the Union dead, to to the anointed eloquence of Dr. Martin Luther King, right up through the grace under fire displayed by President Barack H. Obama throughout his tenure, black folks in America have always conducted themselves as the most gracious, most thankful and most forgiving.
When the families of the victims of the Charleston terrorist attack began speaking of forgiveness for Dylann Roof, it made me cringe. I had seen it before on too many occasions, when black life is treated as so much institutional fodder by mainstream sensibilities.
Every time a black body lies cold at the hands of one who, at best displayed apathy for the life extinguished and at worst hated it passionately, a family member or spokesperson will inevitably get on camera or the radio and express forgiveness for the assailants. It makes me cringe because such forgiveness is always reserved for those who clearly have a complete disregard for human life in general, black life in particular.
Noticeably, the calls for forgiveness become muted when an assailant is black, no matter the race of the victim.
The San Diego shooting was a horrific affair in which a 49-year-old Peter Selis opened fire at a swimming pool, killing Monique Clark and injuring six others. Though one of the shooting victims was later identified as a white woman, the racial component is glaring even though the San Diego Police Department is going out of their way to say racism was not involved. This is despite the assailant reportedly telling a white guest that he could either leave or die.
Last week, Second Lt. Richard Collins was attacked and killed by 22 year old Sean Urbanski on the campus of the University of Maryland just days before he was scheduled to walk at his graduation ceremony at Bowie State University.
Photos of his cap and gown draped across the empty chair that he would have sat in are a somber reminder of swelling, seething, festering racism that permeates the consciousness of an overwhelming majority of individuals in America.
Most people who have experienced overt racism can tell you that it rears it head anywhere white fragility manifests in the presence of those they have disdain for.
Just days ago in Portland, three men were stabbed, two fatally, coming to the defense of three Muslim women who were being verbally assaulted.
53 year old Ricky John Best and 23 year old Taliesin Myrddn Namkai Meche, as well as 21 year old Micah David-Cole Fletcher were heroes who jumped to the defense of those without the ability to defend themselves. Their valor and sacrifice is not unlike that which was taught to us in grade school when American idealism is defined. But what often goes unsaid is how deeply-rooted radical racism is and always has been in this country.
The assailant, identified as 35 year old Jeremy Joseph Christian, is a convicted felon and has been identified as a white supremacist.
America is not and will never be post racial because racism is at the very heart of its charter. Perhaps this is part of the reason why we’re seeing a resurgence of white supremacy.
“Most white supremacists do not belong to organized hate groups, but rather participate in the white supremacist movement as unaffiliated individuals.”
In other words, while many Americans may believe that white supremacists are spawned from a somewhat cohesive group of societal outcasts living on the fringes – not unlike a terrorist cell, emboldened and inspired by a racially apathetic president and radicalized in seedy chat rooms and message boards – the truth is much worse.
It’s all cultural and that makes it much harder to root out because the authorities will always be sympathetic to white nationalists and white supremacists. If you doubt that, ask Dylann Roof about his post-shooting spree trip to Burger King and get back at me. Hell, acard-carrying racist named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is Attorney General of the United States!
Even though the CIA and FBI have never declared a “war on white supremacy”, any would-be effort designed at dismantling these groups, or prosecuting individuals for the disseminating racist propaganda for the purpose of recruiting, would need a total institutional upheaval for success. But what does a anti-white supremacist initiative look like in a country with white supremacy idioms embedded in its DNA?
These dreaded happenstances that see radicalized and mentally unstable individuals take up arms against their fellow countryman for something as simple as skin color will shock and appall any decent person. But we’d be naive to believe that the feelings that spurned the aforementioned attacks were some sort of behavior that isn’t in line with American ideals.
It seems like the news is virtually teeming with racist rants from individuals who seemingly cannot stomach the idea of an America that is anything but white.
The only cure to radicalized racism is education, which is in direct contrast to one of its most powerful catalysts; ignorance. Stubborn, festering, institutionally-coddled and American ignorance.