This country is very much Dylann Roof’s home.
Black oppression and white supremacy are the standard operating procedure of America’s past and present.
There’s still a goddamn confederate flag flying at the statehouse in South Carolina. Literally waving that history in our present-day faces.
Many people are calling Roof a terrorist. I think they’re right. Terrorism is defined as the use of violence or intimidation in pursuit of political aims. Roof reportedly planned his attack, chose his target carefully, made anti-Black comments during his massacre, and left one woman alive to tell other people what he had done and why he had done it. If this isn’t terrorism, I don’t know what is. As The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb notes, the first anti-terror law in the United States was written in response to the Ku Klux Klan. White supremacy is a political aim, and Roof’s purported acts firmly fit within a history of white terror against the Black community in America, especially in the South. As I wrote when a young man went on a killing spree against women in California, we tend to not label these acts as terrorism because we give white men the benefit of individuality. When a Muslim or Black person commits a crime, the entire religion or race is somehow implicated. But white male criminals are just “bad apples” or “mentally troubled lone wolves.” Even before more was known about Roof, this was how some were characterizing him in the media.
When a Muslim commits a crime, the entire religion is somehow implicated. White criminals are just “bad apples.”