On Wednesday 17 June a young white man entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church and after asking for the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, sat beside him for an hour or so during the bible study asking questions and getting more agitated and angry as the reverend and the other assembled black people tried to answer his queries. He eventually stood up, pulling out a gun, and proceeded to shoot those around him multiple times, reloading four or five times. He stood over one woman that he spared, presumably to tell what had happened, and verbally poured racist abuse over her before leaving to get in his confederate-flag-decorated car. The vicious murder of nine black people in a Charleston church by Dylann Roof, a white racist gunman, was terrible but some of the reactions to it have been breathtakingly disgusting!
Many of the commentators on this have tried to avoid the glaring fact that this was a racial hate crime and talked at length about laws re gun controls in different American states. Leading this ignoring of the racist elephant in the room was President Barak Obama who used the occasion to say: ” More than 11,000 Americans were killed in 2013 alone. If congress had passed some common sense legislation after Newtown, after a group of children had been gunned down in their own classroom, reforms that 90% of the American people supported … we might still have more Americans with us. We might have stopped one shooter. Some families might still be home. Y’all might have to attend fewer funerals. And we should be strong enough to acknowledge this. We should be able to talk about this issue as citizens without demonizing gun owners, who are mostly law-abiding “. He added later: ” At some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively ,”
Whatever your take on current US gun laws and their connection to crime it is the totally institutionalised racism of the US, especially in those southern states, that America needs “to come to grips with” or at least be honest about.
The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, outdid all the stupidity of the liberal, ‘don’t mention racism or white terror’ clique when he publicly called the massacre a “drug-induced accident“. Roof is an openly white supremacist who bragged that he would shoot black people, told anyone who would listen that he was going to start a race war, drove a car with the confederate flag on it, and wore the flags of apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia on his clothing – any other drug he takes along with the racist bullshit that he obviously ingests in huge quantities is immaterial. Can anyone imagine a Moslem shooting nine white Americans and someone standing up and saying it was a ‘religion induced accident’? The person making the remark would be unlikely to survive and open season would definitely be called on the shooter, no arrest, prison cell or trial would be awaiting him.
At the time of writing this article the Department of Justice has issued no statement re the racist intent of Roof, other than that reported by the Associated Press the day after the terrorist racist executions, when it said: ” The Department of Justice is investigating whether the Charleston church slayings could be a hate crime or domestic terror.”
The only common sense we have heard so far on the mainstream media from America is the voice of Cornell William Brooks, president of the NAACP, who said ” This was not merely a mass shooting. Not merely an incident of gun violence this was a racial hate crime.” He also linked this act of racist genocide with the clinging to a racist, slave-owning past by so many in the southern states and he also said that the confederate flag ” must come down” from the South Carolina state capitol. The Confederacy was set up when the system of legal slavery was endangered, the flag is a symbol of that slavery and of white supremacy, on a par with the Nazi swastika or Ukrainian wolftangel as another hateful declaration of inhumanity and calculated cruelty based on race, nationality and colour.
It is extremely telling that following the hateful slaughter of the nine victims of Roof ,the Confederate flag stayed flying at full mast outside the state house building in Columbia, while state and American flags were flown at half-mast in honour of the nine deceased.
Another public reaction to these racially motivated murders cannot be ignored. Charles Cotton, board member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) stated on a Texas gun forum that Reverend Pinckney was a state senator who had voted against a law allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons without permits. “Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead,” Cotton wrote. ” Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.” This was an almost gleeful last swipe at a deceased political opponent and quite literally blaming the victims for the fact that they were shot dead. He might as well have said that they asked for it by deciding to be black and going to a church in what is now a predominantly white area (Charleston has gone from 50% white to two thirds white since 1980) of town. It is pretty obvious that those around Reverend Pinckney would not carry guns whatever the law, but if Mr Cotton is suggesting that all the black victims of police racial murder should have been allowed to carry guns openly to dissuade policemen from shooting them, or to enable them to shoot at the aggressor in uniform, we can readily agree with that.
Roof will, in the end, be portrayed by US media as a lone madman with a drug habit and an illegal gun. The victims will be forgotten as news items, but the masses of American workers, be they white, black, or of Asian or Central American descent, must not forget. It is not just black lives that are cheap in the US – the lives of all workers are expendable, and the sooner that is realised, along with the fact that socialism is their only salvation, then the sooner we will see real social advances in the US and consequently a lessening of the stranglehold in which the American eagle holds so many nations.