I was reading an editorial by Xolela Mangcu, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town, in which he asked point blank if African Americans should forgive Dylann Roof, the terrorist sociopath who less than a week ago walked into a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, prayed along side those in attendance, then – moments later – opened fire on them.
Though I respect the right of the victims’ families to deal with the aftermath of the merciless, needless slaughter of their loved ones in whatever way they see fit – forgiveness included – I can’t in good conscience say that I agree with it. There’s no way in Hell I’d be willing to forgive that monster (and make no mistake, Roof is about as a big a monster as they get), had he murdered someone I cared about, just because he/she was “Praying While Black.”
Not only that, there’s the “pesky” little fact that Roof was neither remorseful in his actions, nor has he sought forgiveness for his transgressions.
But it wouldn’t matter if he had. The punch line to this very cruel joke is that yet another White Supremacist has taken it upon himself to “take back his country” from the clutches of the wretched, wretched Negro by public execution, a lesson Roof no doubt learned from the outcomes to the extrajudicial murders of Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown – to name only a few.
Dylann Roof walked into a church – A GODDAMN CHURCH – full of people he knew were more likely to be unarmed than they weren’t, and opened fire on unsuspecting Black men, Black women, and Black children, because – just like the Sandy Hook, Aurora, CO, and Columbine murderers – he knew the media would view his actions differently.
Roof knew that Mainstream Media would spin a narrative that would paint him as a “troubled” kid who could “never hurt a fly” – a kid whose actions are just as surprising to his family as they were to the families of his victims.
He knew that Mainstream Media would create a mitigating circumstance for his behavior that would justify his actions.
Roof knew…He fucking knew.
Roof walked into Emanuel A.M.E. Church on June 17 because he knew that – as a collective – Black folks would be whining and crying about how as “good” Christians, they had “no choice” but to forgive him, and our so-called Civil Rights leaders would help him out by asking US to PRAY UP, and not meet violence with violence.
Because Roof understood our collective PRIDE in Barack Obama’s presidency – an indicator that race relations in America have, in the very least, shifted to “neutral” – would prevent us from calling him what he is (RACIST), and from demanding the “eye for an eye” justice this situation – and all the others before it – requires.
And some of us helped him take that cultural groupthink all the way to the bank.
But it’s just as Mangcu said: “[P]ride is not the same thing as power. The president’s cautiousness [in speaking on race and race relations in America] may have rubbed off on the rest of the African American community. It may well be this cautiousness that emboldens racists in America.”
And if that’s the case, all the prayer and forgiveness in the world won’t save us.
Instead, it only fattens us up for the kill.
Every day, it becomes more and more obvious that Black people are NOT safe in this country.
Maybe it’s time for us to return the favor.
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