|Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church|
where the Confederate flag still flies from the capitol dome, certainly not in solidarity with the dead but as an emblem of the mindset that killed them. The slaying is no less heinous than the murderous Paris attack in January this year on the staff of Charlie Hebdo.
Then, theocratic fascists massacred a group of cartoonists at work. Now a white fascist slaughters a group of black people at prayer. Unlike the attack in Paris there seems to be a fairly muffled venting of the T word in the public discourse. Racist killer Dylan Roof is being described in news outlets as “quiet and soft-spoken;” called a lot of things, but a terrorist is not the label the media seem eager to stick on him. Chauncey DeVega lays it out:
Black America is disgusted by how media will, as it always does, depict Dylann Roof as a lone shooter with mental health issues, as they humanize him in order to put the murderous violence in some type of context. By comparison, the American corporate news media is not neutral in how it depicts white criminals as compared to blacks, Latinos, Asians, First Nations Peoples, Arabs, or Muslims.
The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the Oldest African Methodist churches of its sort south of Baltimore. It is steeped in Afro-American culture and history, reflecting "the development of religious institutions for African Americans in Charleston". One of the founding members of the church was Denmark Vesey. He was hanged in the 1820s for allegedly organising a slave insurrection in Charleston. The church was subsequently burned, which underscores the point that this is not the first attack on black churches: “hate crimes and terrorist attacks ... have targeted their places of worship for generations.” One of the most notorious was the Ku Klux Klan multiple murder of four black children in the course of a bomb attack on the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a couple of months prior to the assassination of President John F Kennedy. Dylann Roof is Robert Chambliss fast forwarded. A white supremacist terrorist, nothing less.
The racism that so propelled Roof along a trajectory of hatred:
does not come out of a void. He also inherited it from the long-standing and violent presence of the KKK in the United States; he inherited it from a Confederacy of states who intended to maintain an economy on race-based slavery; he inherited it from five centuries of colonialism that built empires upon the backs of Africans in forced diaspora and cultural genocide; he inherited it from systemic racism that continues to lurch through American society in covert ways, in language and collective denial. Dylann Roof is in no way a lone wolf. He is the amalgamation of American racial hatred that is still alive and well.
It is alive and well in the names of black dead: names like Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Walter Lamer Scott.
Although "Dylann Roof and the Kouachi brothers committed the exact same crime"
I doubt very much that we will see the leaders of so called free world marching through the streets, arms linked to war criminals like Bibi Netanyahu, protesting the murder. Yes, it will be condemned but just not as stridently. The Boston shutdown after the marathon attack two years ago seems another time, another place. Maybe the skin colour of those doing the killing makes a difference when these sort of things are being evaluated. Alternatively, maybe the skin colour of those being killed is the determining factor. Whatever it is, black lives matter but not always it seems as much as white lives.