Most people who look at the Charleston shooting would say that the shooter’s white power jacket patches, the fact that a historically African American church was the target and the fact that the shooter indicated that the killings were racially motivated would lead one to believe that America’s race problem contributed to this terrible situation.
That is what a reasonable person would deduce from the facts given, but if the internet has taught us anything, it’s that we live among many unreasonable people.
People on Twitter and other parts of the internet have been quick to say that, yes, this was a terrible thing that happened, but why do we have to make it about race?
Some have even claimed that reading race into the situation is completely wrong since this was obviously an attack against Christians, given that the shooting took place in a church. This isn’t the opinion of a small fringe either; talking heads on Fox’s Fox & Friends said this morning that it was “extraordinary [that] they called it a hate crime.” The hashtag #Notallwhites, a spin-off of #NotAllMen in response to feminist complaints, has sprung up to distance the shooter from his race, even though it is pivotal to understanding why this happened.
The reason people are hesitant to call this a matter of race or are quick to shift the focus of the story is because they don’t want to face that there is a race problem in our country. They don't want to admit that there is a problem with institutionalized racism in the United States.
If the Charleston shooter wanted to kill a shitload of black people, why didn't he just go work for Planned Parenthood? #CharlestonShooting— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 18, 2015
Who would shoot Christians praying in a church? A Muslim. Biggest bang for the buck plan included racial division to gain max attention.— John Galt (@JohnGGalt) June 18, 2015
I don't care how many black people are shot dead I'm still for gun rights. #CharlestonShooting— The Sassy Mom (@MotherSassiest) June 18, 2015
People want to deflect from the race issue. It's tough to deal with and people generally don't like thinking of themselves or a group that they are a part of causing a problem. Sadly, ignoring the problem is the worst thing that people can do.
Openly racist posters at the white power forum Stormfront were even faster to distance themselves from the shooter, which doesn't make much sense until you consider that they view white people as the oppressed group and don't' want to admit that African Americans face hardships because they are the underdog.
"I totally understand how he felt, but it does nothing but hurt the cause," said one Stormfront poster with the name "Kerryman."
"He had no motive, he is completely nuts," wrote poster eyzwydopen.
On the Stormfront's affiliate blog The Daily Stormer, the writer chanced that he was autistic because he was described as"'quiet and soft-spoken,' which is a characteristic of autism." Ignoring that this displays a total lack of understanding of autism in even the most basic of ways, it's another self-professed racist that wants to push this incident away and blame it on something else. When people on social media have the same reaction to an event as proud white power supporters there is a problem.
But no one wants to admit that there is a problem or that we are all complicit in a society that has racist sentiments ingrained in it and allows someone like Dylan Roof to happen.
People that say this isn't about race are part of the problem.
Banner photo credit: Reuters