The reason Dylann Roof decided to “go into the ghetto and fight” was because black people are always making a big deal about race. According to what seems to be his website:
Black people view everything through a racial lens. That’s what racial awareness is, it’s viewing everything that happens through a racial lens. They are always thinking about the fact that they are black. This is part of the reason they get offended so easily, and think that some thing (sic) are intended to be racist towards them, even when a White person wouldn’t be thinking about race….
Say you were to witness a dog being beat by a man. You are almost surely going to feel very sorry for that dog. But then say you were to witness a dog biting a man. You will most likely not feel the same pity you felt for the dog for the man. Why? Because dogs are lower than men.
This same analogy applies to black and White relations. Even today, blacks are subconsciously viewed by White people as lower beings. They are held to a lower standard in general. This is why they are able to get away with things like obnoxious behavior in public. Because it is expected of them. Modern history classes instill a subconscious White superiority complex in Whites and an inferiority complex in blacks.
It’s actually fairly rational, and I’ve heard similar sentiments from white friends of mine. So I’m gonna deal with it.
Dylann Roof is, honestly, partly right. Black people do tend to be much more conscious of race than white people. The analogy he gave holds true, to a certain extent. If you are oppressed in society, you are more likely to notice your oppression than your oppressor.
Are black people oppressed in society? Well, “oppressed” is a strong word, but if you’re asking if we are treated worse than white people, I’d have to say that we are, but only when it comes to medical care, employment, social environments, law enforcement, the education system, the justice system, and literally every single goddamn part of US society we’ve studied.
In short, yeah, we are. So it’s more noticeable to us that racism matters than it is to people who are better off. Just the facts.
Where Dylann Roof is wrong is in saying that black people actually are inferior. We’re not. We’re just treated like it, which means we have a better idea of where the inferiority lies.
Now, Dylann Roof, like many white people (although he took it much farther than most white people ever would these days), made the mistake of thinking the superior position racism gave him in culture was his rightful place in society, and the attempts by blacks for equal standing as an attempt to gain something they had not earned. He also was offended at the prospect of that superiority being disrespected due to the fighting of black people, who, in his view, fought harder for equal rights because they were more conscious of it, due to their position.I hear this a lot in day-to-day talk — this sense that black people are using the concept of privilege to acquire a position in society that they haven’t “earned.” Usually this comes with a lot of plausible deniability — people won’t say straight out that this is the case — but Dylann Roof, like many of us, was able to read between the lines and become offended. Perhaps many Americans have thought the answer is to incarcerate blacks to silence them — which is why we have the highest incarceration rate in the world and over 40% of those in prison are black , but for Dylann Roof, this wasn’t enough. He went the next step and said they should be forcibly stopped from demanding “handouts” by shooting the troublemakers in a church.
We saw, in Ferguson, something similar. We also saw Michael Slager, in Charleston (the same place Roof’s shootings took place) gun down a suspect in cold blood and then try to make it seem as if he didn’t do it by putting a tazer by Michael Scott’s body. These sentiments are alive and active — there is a widespread annoyance from mostly white people about black people demanding their rights. When you have the larger slice of the pie, the last thing you want to hear is the “whining” of someone who was given the smaller piece. You want to enjoy your larger piece, and you want the jerk who got less to go away. And a great way to justify your larger piece is to say you deserve yours, and the guy with the smaller piece doesn’t deserve any more than what he got.
Indeed, a recent 2014 Stanford study indicates that just by telling white people about how many black people are incarcerated, I am causing them to want to put more, not less, black people in jail. There is a strong sentiment that we want these complainers out of sight, out of mind.
That’s why we have to talk about race here. It’s not enough to say that this is a lone gunman — there’s a larger conversation here to be had about how this is indicative of a larger attempt to silence the calls for justice among black people in this country. Because black individuals are not just fighting for ourselves, but also for our families. We haven’t given up for years, and we’re not about to now.
Yes, we talk about race, because we have carried the short end of the stick for 400 years, and we’ve had to fight tooth and nail for a better deal the entire time. Maybe instead of trying to keep pulling an annoyed Dylann Roof, White America, it’s time to listen.
But, to be honest, I’m not holding my breath.