Readers know I’ve been pretty hard on Ukraine over its “de-Communization” laws for a number of reasons. But to be fair, there’s another country that really needs to eradicate an old regime from its past, if only because it has far more influence on life in that country today than “Communism” has in post-Soviet Ukraine.
As many readers are no doubt already aware, on Thursday a racist lone-wolf terrorist, yes, terrorist, shot and killed nine members of a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. As is typically the case when black Americans are shot, the usual suspects are scrambling to find any way they can to blame the victims and shift attention away from motives.
As for the killer, more progressive people have been pushing for him to be labeled as a terrorist, but as we all know that’s not how it will go down in the mainstream. He’ll be called “mentally ill,” a “lone nut,” and so on. Yet Dylann Roof, the shooter, was not “crazy” or a “nut.” He was the logical result our society produces.
Dylann lived in a state where the Confederate flag still flies over the state house. In school, he was most likely taught that the Civil War was about economic factors or states’ rights as opposed to slavery and white supremacy, something he would have known if schools bothered to study primary sources in history class. He was probably never aware as to the tyranny the slave owning class and their supporters subjected the rest of the antebellum nation to, such as violating the first amendment and banning the distribution and publishing of abolitionist literature in Kansas territory- in other words real political correctness. He was probably taught that Abraham Lincoln was a racist who didn’t start the war to free the slaves, ignoring the fact that Lincoln’s views on this topic evolved radically during the war, just like those of many other white Americans in that era. If he heard that argument, he probably never heard someone immediately respond that the original goal of WWII wasn’t to destroy Nazi Germany; unconditional surrender did not become the Allied goal until 1943.
Roof grew up in a country that has monuments to Confederate soldiers and leaders, even in states that never provided any manpower to the Confederacy. In fact, there are monuments to Confederate veterans in states that also never provided any soldiers to the Union, due to the fact that at the time of the war they were neither states nor territories. Roof grew up in a country that celebrated films like Gone With the Wind. He no doubt heard dozens of times about how Reconstruction failed because the Republicans who carried it out were corrupt and selfish, and the black population simply couldn’t handle freedom right away. He must have heard about how the Confederate flag and symbols were about “heritage not hate,” and perhaps himself fumed about “politically correct” people who just couldn’t figure that out.
In school he was probably taught the whitewashed version of American racism. Yes, in the past, America was racist. There was segregation. But then Martin Luther King Jr., who was a Republican, don’cha know, gave a speech about this dream he had. Once white people heard that, they realized racism was bad, unless of course someone wasn’t deliberately trying to be racist, in which case they weren’t racist and the person claiming it was racist is the real racist. Whatever the case, he was taught that the playing field had in fact become level long before he was born, and thus he wasn’t prepared to understand the roots of black poverty in his own time. He was taught that America is a meritocracy, and people who don’t succeed are just lazy.
He was raised by a media that told him that black Americans already got equal rights, and now for years what they’ve really wanted is special rights. He listened to pundits excuse police violence against black Americans and constantly bring up “black on black crime,” never pointing out the basic criminology fact- that most crime is intra-racial, i.e. white on white, black on black, etc. And speaking of crime, he no doubt frequented forums on the internet where people passed around misleading statistics to “prove” black Americans are inherently more criminal, and the schools and media failed to address the glaring problems with these reports. For example, supposedly during the shooting Roof accused blacks of “raping our(i.e. white) women.” He had never been made aware of the fact that most rape victims know their rapists, and that the vast majority of white women are raped by white men. Nobody ever taught him that rape is horrible regardless of the ethnic background of the perpetrator. As large as America’s media machine is, they preferred to skirt the issue of crime statistics rather than dissect and refute the incorrect conclusions many have drawn from them.
Roof was led to believe that the playing field had been level, and thus affirmative action was in fact “reverse racism.” He saw life in “the ghetto” glamorized, lampooned, and pretty much anything but explained as the result of economic policies and well-documented discrimination. He was told “it’s that music, the culture,” without ever learning about the major role of whites in mainstream hip-hop culture, both as producers and more importantly, consumers. He was raised in a society where violence, sex, and drunken escapades in country western music are totally ignored. He was taught to fear and hate people who looked like “gangbangers” in a country where grown white men dress up in full military uniforms and walk around in public armed with assault rifles with spare magazines and the police merely look on calmly.
Roof was taught the as a white, straight male, he was the one who was really oppressed. He could have learned it from TV, talk radio, and the internet. Teachers, parents, and responsible adults did not make sure he had other sources of reliable information to counteract that nonsense. And beyond all that, he lived in a city flying that rebel, traitor flag- a symbol of white supremacy. It’s a symbol that says: “Whatever exploitation you face, however often you fail, at least your white, and that’s the most important thing. Don’t identify with anyone except your fellow whites, no matter what some of them might do to you.” As Lyndon Johnson once said: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Roof was convinced of this one way or another and saw black Americans, liberals, leftists, and other minorities as trying to attack his precious whiteness. He took things to a logical conclusion.
Americans don’t want to admit that. They want him to be “crazy.” They want to pretend racist killers are born or they just “snap,” rather than acknowledge that they are made, molded, and shaped by society. They, and by which I mean more “liberal” people, certainly don’t want to admit their culpability for not properly educating people like Roof, and not wanting to take the issue head on. They preferred to agree to disagree, they were too afraid to be accused of “white guilt” or being “politically correct,” failing to realize that white supremacy is itself a form of political correctness.
Despite the claims of some paranoid nationalists, no Ukrainian today is dying due to Communism, symbolized by statues of Lenin or streets named after other Bolsheviks. By contrast, there are innocent Americans, in fact Americans who throughout their history as a people rallied to the colors again and again, to the fullest extent that they were allowed, in defense of a nation that repeatedly subjected them to unconscionable treatment, are dying here, now, in 2015. It is high time Americans deal decisively with this demon in our past, and strike against the most visible symbol of institutional racism in our country. America, take down the monuments to traitors, rename the streets, and take down that flag.