Terror in Charleston, S.C.

Charleston, S.C. — 9 U.S. citizens murdered in cold blood and the question remains; is Dylann Roof a domestic terrorist?

To answer this question, I will examine the manifesto written by Dylann Roof.

“I was not raised in a racist home or environment. Living in the South, almost every White person has a small amount of racial awareness, simply beause of the numbers of negroes in this part of the country. But it is a superficial awareness. Growing up, in school, the White and black kids would make racial jokes toward each other, but all they were were jokes. Me and White friends would sometimes would watch things that would make us think that “blacks were the real racists” and other elementary thoughts like this, but there was no real understanding behind it.
The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”

What strikes me as odd is that Dylann claims to have been “awakened” by the Trayvon Martin case. As many are familiar, this case polarized American news media for months and was often framed as “white on black” crime (Zimmerman was Hispanic, not white). This frenzy was furthered by President Barack Obama after issuing statements such as the one quoted below:

“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/19/remarks-president-trayvon-martin

In this speech, Barack Obama draws parallels between his own son, then himself and Trayvon Martin. These words attempt to ingrain in the minds of African Americans that Trayvon Martin represents them as a whole. This alone is frightening and insulting. Barack Obama attempts to cloud the mindset of not only the African American community, but also the citizens of the U.S. by framing this incident through a lens of slavery and oppression, instead of acknowledging that Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman.

Instead of calming the waters during the Trayvon Martin case, Barack Obama and the media created a storm.

Further examples of this can be seen in Ferguson where an African American male charged and was shot by a White Police Officer. This event fit the narrative of the media perfectly; White officer kills African American with his “hands up”. This narrative was later proven to be false, but not before the flames of racism and oppression broiled through society.

Around the same time the events in Ferguson occurred, where an innocent African American male named Eric Garner was murdered on camera by a White police officer. Unfortunately for Eric, he was not young enough nor innocent looking enough to be called Barack Obama’s “son”. The tragic death of Mr. Garner sparked riots throughout NYC and Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to frame this event as another attack on African American society as a whole. One bad white police officer using excessive force on an innocent black man is the symbolism that de Blasio wanted to channel when dealing with race relations.

In the minds of Al Sharpton and Barak Obama, the events that unfolded in Ferguson and in NYC with Eric Garner were ubiquitous. They fit a larger narrative that African Americans were being systemically oppressed by a predominately white society. This is the mindset that inspired another domestic terrorist to seek out and murder 2 NYPD officers. Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Obama could finally breathe a sigh of relief, none of the NYPD Officers were African American.

If you’ve read this far, you may ask why does any of this matter? How do these events relate to Charleston, S.C.?

The manifesto left by Dylann Roof shows an ideology shaped not only by views of a white supremacist, but also by the contradictory tone embraced by the media and our “civil leaders”. It would seem as if the attitudes expressed by Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, de Blasio, and the media have come full circle; from inspiring a shooter to kill 2 NYPD officers, to inspiring a shooter to kill 9 innocent African Americans.

It’s time to have an honest conversation about race in society today; a conversation that allows for middle ground and free thought, a conversation centered around the fact that regardless of our skin color we’re all citizens of the U.S.A., a conversation that doesn’t attempt to characterize the entire African American community by one tragic event, an empowering conversation that attempts to heal and forgive. It’s conversations like these that will be needed in the upcoming weeks to find solace after such a tragic event.