You’re about to hear a bunch of reflexive and totally fallacious tropes about that pasty genetic malfunction down in Carolina that so hated his own obvious inferiority as a human that he conspired to murder nine people of vastly higher quality. Let’s get them out of the way so we can move right to the heart of the excruciatingly awful discussion that America has been delaying for four centuries.
First, you’ll hear that the murderer acted “alone.” This is an utter and complete lie. That young wretch was proudly photographed with a jacket bearing the flags of pre-Mandela, Apartheid era South Africa as well as pre-liberation Rhodesia, two of the most nakedly evil, racist regimes to have existed in the modern era. No 21-year old comes to admire Rhodesia — a place most Americans could not name as a country — without careful instruction from adults willing to extoll its virtues. That malformed botch of nature did not arrive at racial terrorism alone — he was carefully instructed by elders who planted those ideas in his head and cultivated them with an end in mind. The FBI should be thus treating this as an act of a terror network, no differently than they did with the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston.
Second, you’ll hear about “mental illness” as the main factor instead of the calm, rational, well-resourced, 300-year old social system of white supremacy, the heart of which can be located in South Carolina. Note that there is never, not even one time, a mention of any disorder that appears in the DSM-5 manual of psychiatric illnesses. Nobody will mention how this matches depression with psychotic features. You will not hear a theory of this being a first episode of schizophrenic psychosis, nor will you hear conjecture of this being the end of a long manic phase of bipolar disorder. This is because a carefully planned conspiracy to murder members of another race are not consistent with these mental illnesses, but they are completely consistent with the putrescent depravity of white supremacy. That is the chronic disorder here, not some vague notion of “crazy.”
Third, you’ll hear a vigorous rejection of any suggestion that the recklessly easy availability of firearms has anything to do with these mass murders. The same people who claim that they’re all about “responsible gun ownership” are completely silent every single time these white suburban parents arm up their hateful offspring and turn them loose on an unsuspecting public, from Columbine to Newtown to Charleston. They’ll never start their own dialogue about actually being responsible gun owners, because they never gave a tinker’s cuss about responsibility at all. They’re just hoping to play out their Rambo fantasies one day, and if 10,000 people are murdered per year, including a few mass murders here and there, then in their minds it’s all worth it. So plan on hearing about how men of God should be carrying Uzis.
Finally, you’ll just hear silence as shoulders are shrugged. To avoid the implication that racism remains a murderous disease in this nation, after all the routine talking points are trotted out, you’ll hear nothing. Because for those people seeking to downplay the seriousness of this action, black men swinging from trees was never that big a deal. Whether Northerners or Southerners, the notion that black youths get blown away by the police based on the merest hint of resistance was simply never all that remarkable or important. They’ll say nothing can be done, because a racist America, whether tacit or explicit, was one they always found quite livable — especially since they have never been the ones crushed beneath its boot heel.
What can be done? Do not accept these falsehoods when you hear them — and you will. Challenge them. Ask that additional uncomfortable question. Risk a relationship. Make this time different.
Our souls are at stake.