Dylan Roof’s Death Sentence Is Not Justice

As a Charleston native (who also grew up in an AME church), when I first heard that Dylan Roof would be sentenced to death, I will admit that I felt quite a bit of happiness. But Dylan Roof’s death sentence is not justice. When I first received the news that he would receive the death penalty, I saw it as justice. I only saw it that way because I was so desperate to see justice that I was almost willing to accept anything.

In the silence that I forced upon myself last night, I began to think about why I was so quick to anger today. I began to, once again, feel that the white folx in my community did not support my angered feelings. I have constantly been told that I am not allowed to feel validated in my mistrusted of white people because I am part white. Any time that I begin to talk about POC (people of color) issues, such as the Charleston Church Shooting and the things happening in regards to the Charlotte Uprising/police killings of people of color, I am reminded of my whiteness. However, any other time, I am a black person. It seems that my multi-racial identity is used against me a majority of the time in movement work. This has contributed to my confusion of what I should and what I do identify as in the present.

For those people who are praising Dylan Roof’s sentence, but still continue to deny my identity as a person of color, you are causing me to experience injustice. This is oppression. This is the same dynamic that allowed Dylan Roof to walk into a black church during a bible study and kill people who did absolutely nothing to him. This is the same dynamic that allowed him to walk into processing at the jail in a bulletproof vest and have Burger King brought to him. This is an injustice to the community. These are the moments that we will all remember. We will never forget them.

In order to work towards true justice, we cannot celebrate justice just yet. White folx must begin and continue to work through the systems and/or institutions in which they are allowed to use their privilege. It is not just enough to look at what one person did, and we, then, look at the consequence that one person received. That is exactly what the system wants, and expects, us to do. We must work actively, as POC and accomplices to the betrayal of white supremacy, to fight for justice. That is how we can continue to fight for justice. It’s not about Dylan Roof; it’s about destroying the entirety of white supremacy! That’s what I’ve learned, and accepted, today.

Justice is being a traitor to white supremacy. Justice is betraying capitalism. Justice is combating your [white] privilege. Justice is comradeship, and justice is fighting injustice everywhere. To me, a death penalty isn’t enough anymore. I can’t believe that I ever thought that it would be enough. Justice is intersectionality. True justice is the only future I want to see.

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