Anti-Black Terrorism in Charleston, South Carolina

Posted: June 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 14 Comments »
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In Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015, a 21-year-old named Dylann Storm Roof opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killing nine people who were engaged in Bible study. This was done after an hour of Roof sitting in the study and listening to the preacher, Clementa C. Pickney, who was one of the nine people killed. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is of particular historical significance inasmuch as Denmark Vesey, a noted abolitionist, was one of the people who helped to found the church, and it has been a refuge for African Americans for centuries. This is not just a race-motivated hate crime, but it is an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against black churchgoers—a norm in American history.

The killer’s age, 21, is highly noteworthy. His age should completely end the outlandish fiction that white supremacists are all old and dying off. The fact of the matter is that white supremacy is an ideology that is easily passed down; Dylann Roof is indisputable evidence of its ease of generational permeability. White supremacists continue to espouse their ideas and cultural norms—and those ideas continue to be transmitted to future generations. The suggestion that white supremacy can be ended by old people dying out is a recipe for its continued existence.

Another point that must be noted is that this was not an attack on Christians—as claimed by FOX News talking heads. This was an attack on unsuspecting, defenseless, and peaceful black people. Like most cravenly mass shooters, Roof clearly wanted to attack victims where nobody was likely to retaliate. He did not want a gunfight. The shooter himself claimed that he wants his country back and that blacks are “raping our women.” This is not any different to the arguments contained in white supremacist rants like White Girl Bleed a Lot by Colin Flaherty—a book endorsed by many black mainstream conservative luminaries. The fact that some people are trying to erase race from the conversation is utterly deplorable. Race never gets erased from the conversation whenever a black person is accused of a crime, but whenever there is a black victim and a white killer, people want to pretend that race does not exist or mean anything. “This was an attack against all humans!” becomes their disingenuous chant to avoid addressing the violence that is routinely perpetrated against blacks.

In one of the pictures circulating of Roof, he has two flags on his jacket. The flag of apartheid South Africa and the flag of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Rhodesia—as well as the celebrated Rhodes scholarship—was named after the 19th century white supremacist Cecil John Rhodes. He believed in the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race and the inherent inferiority of Africans. In his book The Cult of Rhodes: Remembering an Imperialist in Africa, Paul Maylam notes that Rhodes saw Africans as nothing more than “units of labor.” A garden-variety white supremacist in America would have simply donned a jacket with the Confederate flag. That would be uncommon for a racist resident of the American South, inasmuch as the Republican governor of Roof’s state, Nikki Haley, supports the flying of the inherently racist Confederate battle flag. However, his racism goes far beyond “Southern pride.” Only a seasoned and concentrated white supremacist would know about British white supremacists from the Victorian era that operated on the African continent and inspired the system of apartheid in South Africa. It is also a significant historical fact that apartheid in South Africa ended with the election of Nelson Mandela in April 1994—the same month as Dylann Roof’s birth. As oppressive white supremacist regimes end, new ideological adherents of white supremacy are born and carry on that reprehensible violence into new generations.

Fascinatingly, according to the official website of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in the 1890s, Bishop Henry M. Turner, who believed in black emigration back to Africa, helped to advance African Methodism in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and South Africa. Although started in America, the AME Church is not wholly divorced from the African continent, and it is worth suggesting that the ‘African’ in its name could have made it a particular target for Roof, inasmuch as he has an affinity for white supremacy on the African continent. Something that must be gleaned from this story is that anti-blackness was not born in America. It is a global phenomenon that originates from the African continent—and white supremacists are not ignorant of the global nature of their ideology. It is the very essence of the Negro that white supremacists despise. This is a point that is frequently lost among black people in America today, but it was not forgotten by African American leaders of the past. As previously explained in Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Black History Month, Dr. Woodson, also known as the father of African American history, understood the significance of highlighting the historical achievements of Africans to ending white supremacy. He also understood that all hatred for the Negro stems from the African continent. He started Negro History Week in 1926—which later became Black History Month—to highlight the historical achievement of the African that has been meticulously scrubbed from Western history books.

One must also understand that as easy as it to focus on white supremacist murderous violence and condemn it, such violence ineluctably stems from culture—and culture is created by speech over several centuries. When people consistently engage in anti-black speech, one cannot allow it to go unchecked then act surprised when people engage in the advanced anti-blackness of murdering innocent African American congregants. Hate crimes are the product of the consumption of hate speech. Granted, not every person who consumes hate speech ends up committing a hate crime, but the fact of the matter is that those who do commit hate crimes are influenced by hate speech. Hate crimes do not materialize within a vacuum. They occur within a specific societal context and they are terroristic acts meant to send a message to a community letting them know they are unwelcome and despised. The proof that Roof’s actions were terroristic in nature is the fact that he left one member alive so the member could tell the story of what happened. Spreading fear within the African American church community was Roof’s clear goal.

If people are serious about ending these kinds of horrific, violent attacks against innocent black Americans, then there must be a concerted effort to shun those who promulgate hate speech. One cannot childishly cite the First Amendment right to freedom of speech without ever mentioning that certain kinds of speech produce nothing but toxic consequences. Serious, discerning human beings with functioning moral compasses must understand that constitutionally permissible hate speech can, and does, lead to the savage barbarism that was wreaked upon the innocent victims of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. This is not something that can be tolerated. Hiding behind the Constitution to avoid addressing the violence of hate speech and the murderous spirit it encourages in those predisposed to hate is morally reprehensible.

In the United Kingdom, there are laws that ban hate speech. Contrarily, in the United States, the Supreme Court has upheld that hate speech is constitutionally protected speech. One cannot fail to understand the spirit within which the UK’s laws against hate speech were made—even though one can argue that such laws are inadvisable. Similarly, the European Union has made denying the Holocaust a crime punishable by imprisonment. While it can be argued that this is a step too far, the lawmakers understand how denial of the atrocity of the Holocaust is an open door into Nazi ideology. Certainly, lawmakers in the UK and the European Union understand that hate speech is an unmistakable driver of hate violence. The United States does not have to make hate speech a crime as is the case in Europe, but the societal acceptance of hate speech as casual political and social commentary can—and must—be destroyed. When black crime is cherry-picked and presented as the essence of blackness, as is the case in the media and the unrelenting publication of overtly white supremacist books by mendacious authors, it must be excoriated. Again, the myth of widespread black male barbarians raping white women was Roof’s specific argument for why he committed his heinous terroristic act—ironically, against mostly black women. The Constitution can no longer be an excuse for moral lethargy vis-à-vis dealing with the violence of hate speech.

The Charleston massacre has little to do with the availability of guns, as President Obama suggested in his safe, neat, Democrat-friendly remarks on the deplorable terroristic shooting. Without guns, white supremacist terrorists would still create homemade bombs and blow up black churches. The Charleston massacre is about a global culture of anti-blackness that has existed for centuries, and it is about how, in the American context, people continue to cite the Constitution’s protection of hate speech as a reason to ignore how such speech predictably ends in racial anti-black violence.

  • subwus

    “Hiding behind the Constitution to avoid addressing the violence of hate speech and the murderous spirit it encourages in those predisposed to hate is morally reprehensible.”
    I agree.
    But I disagree that limits on free speech are the answer.
    Consider the ‘hate speech’ laws in my country which you mention… definitions and principles laid, the reasoning from which ‘hate speech’ crimes can be alleged and prosecuted.
    So far so good for your idea.
    If speech and opinion is not covered by ‘hate speech’ laws, then that speech is legitimate and up for debate yes?
    Opinion that is outside of the scope of ‘hate speech’ laws by virtue of how these laws are framed, very quickly becomes unacceptable to the free speech palate of our progressive/leftist betters, because some opinion ‘sails too close to the line’ of hate speech.
    So, ‘hate speech’ laws have a wider chilling effect on free speech than just preventing and prosecuting ‘hate speech’. Wherever you draw the line on ‘hate speech’, there will ALWAYS be opinion that ‘sails too close to the line’.
    Be minded that whatever ‘ism’ or ‘phobia’ you want to draw free speech lines against, the accusation of ‘sails too close to the line’, is a de facto way of limiting free speech and opinion outside the scope of the laws you defined in the first place.
    Whatever happened to the concept of ‘I disagree with what you say, but defend to the death your right to say it’?


      Please re-read the penultimate paragraph more carefully. I did not say that I support hate speech laws. I said I understand the spirit in which European hate speech laws are made—even though it can be argued that they have gone too far in abridging speech. I also suggested that the United States does not have to follow the European model of banning hate speech, but we can make a concerted effort to diminish the impact of hate speech throughout society by excoriating those who engage in it. There is no reason why the media should entertain purveyors of hate speech—or why black conservative luminaries should use their positions to co-sign and mainstream the anti-black hate speech of white supremacist authors. Hate speech does not have to be illegal for it to be socially unacceptable. Simply pointing out the legality of hate speech without recognizing the evil that it manifestly promotes is moral cowardice.

  • 4TimesAYear

    Putting limits on free speech has this kind of effect already: I was commenting on a photo of a storm on one social website. The dark skies looked really nasty (meaning bad or dangerous). My comment was rejected for the term “nasty”. Context was ignored. We now have word police and thought police w/o consideration for a person’s intent. One will not even be able to address issues that need to be discussed for fear of accusations of hate speech. There is such a thing as unintended consequences. And laws agains “hate speech” will never change what’s in a person’s heart, which is where this wickedness comes from.


      Read the penultimate paragraph again and see the comment I left in response to the comment below. I did not call for hate speech laws.

      • 4TimesAYear

        I understand what you’re saying. I don’t know anyone who finds hate speech acceptable.
        I have seen cases, as I mentioned in my comment, where some words are wrongly interpreted – or a person’s intent in a discussion is totally and inappropriately labeled as something it is not by other commenters on social media. I just want the hate to stop – all hate – and I’ve seen so much of it – from people of all ethnicities – on social media and it just breaks my heart….I just wish I could adequately express that here.


          So where are the conservative denunciations of Donald Trump when he used his announcement speech to engage in hate speech about Mexicans? Hate speech is acceptable in many quarters. Heck, in some cases, it’s even rewarded.

          • 4TimesAYear

            I missed his speech. What did he say about Mexicans?

          • VOICEOFCHID
          • 4TimesAYear

            He probably shouldn’t have specified Mexicans or rape, but there are a lot of illegal immigrant criminals coming across the borders – and the southern border is the worst. It’s not limited to Mexicans – we aso have murderers from Europe (they overstayed their visas), etc.
            And what he said is not unfounded: the results of a study back in 2007: “Although the illegal immigrant sex offenders came from various countries around the world, the highest number came from Mexico; El Salvador was the country of origin for the next highest number of illegal immigrant sex offenders….
            Since 1999 there have been nearly one million victims of rape, child molestation, sexual homicides, and rape and molestation of handicapped children by illegal immigrants here in the U.S. Remember this fact the next time the media try to tell you about the victims of U.S. immigration policy and border security.”
            It is not getting any better.
            An FBI crime study also shows heavy illegal alien involvement in criminal activity revealed these statistics:

            75 percent of those on the most wanted criminals list in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque are illegal aliens.
            One quarter of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals, as are more than 40 percent of all inmates in Arizona and 48 percent in New Mexico jails.
            Over 53 percent of all investigated burglaries reported in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens.
            63 percent of cited drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that number, 97 percent are illegal aliens. 66 percent of cited drivers in New Mexico have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 66 percent, 98 percent are illegal aliens.[15]

            The numbers don’t show attitude or intent. “United States is stupid … I come back every time,” asserted Mexican national Rolando Mota-Campos to a Virginia-based immigration agent after his 11th arrest — for crimes ranging from abduction, assault, four DUIs, vehicular assault, attempted robbery, and domestic violence. Mota-Campos has been deported three times and has vowed to return again.[16]

            And the numbers don’t show the depth of depravity of some illegal alien criminals. In Arizona, Mexican national Santana Batiz Aceves was charged with 47 counts of rape based on DNA evidence. He has already been deported twice for drug charges in California. Aceves also faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, sexual abuse of a minor, giving police false information, providing false documents, and trespassing.[17]

            The statistics are traumatic, but the anecdotal stories are horrifying.

            A year after Baltimore’s mayor signed an order officially converting the city into a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, federal authorities arrested an undocumented Ecuadorian national wanted for the brutal rape of a nine-year-old girl.[18]

            Carlos Martinelly-Montano, a Bolivian national who killed a Virginia nun in a drunk-driving accident, was on a new federal government supervised release program, allowing the illegal alien — who committed a series of crimes — to remain on the streets despite being subject to deportation. Rather than detaining Montano, authorities determined that he was a candidate for the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, which supposedly monitored his whereabouts.[19]

            Guatemalan illegal alien Juan Tzun killed California sheriff’s dispatcher Dominick Durden. In 2008, Tzun was charged with two felonies. He pled guilty to one felony and the other was dropped. Tzun was given 3 years probation but should have been deported. A year later he was caught driving drunk. Three more years probation, but again, no deportation. Another year later, Tzun was caught driving drunk a second time and was released — two months later he drove into Durden and instantly killed him. Finally, ICE detained Tzun until an immigration judge freed him on bond. Tzun spent all of 35 days in jail, and is now in detention pending deportation.[20]


            78 confirmed and probable illegal aliens representing 418 charges of rape against NC children, in one month! All of these individuals have a court date scheduled for, or were arrested for, child rape in August.
            This is the tenth month in a row we have been tracking child rape cases in NC. We are approaching 3,000 charges of sex crimes against NC’s children in 10 short months.
            See the August report here!

  • DejectedHead

    So, after reading this, it sounds like there is no solution for the United States to the problem that you see considering the 1st Amendment isn’t going anywhere.

    Also, you cannot erase things that have been published in the past and exposure to ideologies of ANY stripe can’t be controlled on the internet.

    I worry that the bigger problem here is the willingness to brand large demographics as being homogeneous, as Roof did against the Black church members. Blaming them for rape and murder that none of them committed. At the same time, your messaging seems to feed into this same idea of blaming the group rather than the individual.

  • DejectedHead

    You blocked me from twitter because I asked you if your message was based on grouping demographics?

    Talk about your hypocrisy. Guess you couldn’t come up with an answer in an hours time. I was only looking for dialogue. Surely you can ban me here too.


      I don’t owe you answers to your trolling, disingenuous questions—nor will I tolerate my defense of black humanity being equated to white supremacy. That is repulsively violent rhetoric.

      Are you equating my spirited defense of black humanity to white supremacist devils who encourage violence? #BLOCKED— Chidike Okeem (@VOICEOFCHID) June 23, 2015

      As for your request to be blocked here, I’ll oblige. Goodbye.

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  • Jesse Riddles

    Came on this discussion while researching Dylan Roof. Interesting. Chidike you are very bright and well spoken. Instead of wasting your considerable talents complaining about the RARE instance of white on black crime,why don’t you invest your efforts in discouraging black on black crimes in our urban areas? There were more blacks killed by blacks in Chicago this past Saturday then were killed by Roof. Hell,there were more blacks killed by blacks in the last 2 years than were killed by the Ku Klux Klan…EVER!
    Could it be YOU’RE ANTI-WHITE? Of course not;that would kind of spoil the whole victim narrative would’nt it?