The shooting of nine Blacks in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), Wednesday, June 17, in Charleston, South Carolina, was horrific. The 21-year-old mentally disturbed White terrorist Dylann Roof identifies himself as one who hates and fears Blacks. Blacks responded with the politics of love, signaling a great unintended consequence that few like Roof expected: the beginning of the end of love for the Old Confederacy.
The cold, calculating execution of the nine victims, between the ages of 26 and 87, caught America’s and the world’s attention. Conservative and liberal politicians alike are finally taking a close look at the consequences of negative views on race relations, attitudes, and policies.
Charleston, famous for its helpful citizens, learned from Ferguson and Baltimore. Families/friends of the victims led the nation with the first step to bridge the understanding gap between Blacks and Whites, being heroes responding with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nonviolence peace and forgiveness strategy. Who knows more about the “masters” and “their plantations?”
Reflecting their church’s teaching, they disavowed violence and offered forgiveness and reconciliation. In the 1860s, Whites fought. Today, Blacks are offering love, forgiveness and reconciliation.
This model of love and forgiveness spread: the Republican governor of South Carolina proposed furling the Confederate Battle Flag at the state capital. Wal-Mart and Boeing offered immediate support, as did an array of profit and nonprofit organizations.
Both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., in their own time, said economics would end “the issue” in the South. That has also been our theme since this column started in 2003 (see our first solution paper, The Negative Economics of Racism), which is why we continually repeat Nellie Stone Johnson’s key to reconciliation, her mantra of “no education, no jobs, no housing.”
This reminds us of South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Ubuntu Theology of Reconciliation (our Solution Paper #18), as well as the title of a book that influenced South Africa to end Apartheid: The Passing Summer: A South African’s Response to White Fear, Black Anger, and the Politics of Love.
That still leaves those few who hate and fear Blacks — like Mr. Roof — and those who are comforted by thinking he acted as a “lone wolf.” Both are unhealthy and naïve views.
A question so far not asked by others: Was the 41-year-old pastor of the church, State Senator Clementa Pinckney, the intended target? We think so. Roof waited an hour for Pastor Pinckney to join the group, which is when he then opened fire. This very real question of co-conspirators must be examined.
The White hero is the tenacious female florist outside of Shelby, North Carolina, whose actions enabled police to apprehend Mr. Roof. It has already been reported, using plagiarism detection software, that much of his 2,000-word manifesto and many of its philosophical points, were copied from a neo-Nazi website. Again: who helped this ninth grade dropout put together his manifesto?
A majority of White and Black citizens joined to call for an end to displaying the symbols and substance of the Old Confederacy and its prejudice, discrimination, and historic treason, symbols that have supported Black churches being bombed, burned and shot into by hateful White terrorist individuals and groups rallying under these symbols.
Let’s pray for the nine souls lost. Let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands lost since the time we were first brought to these shores. Let’s pray for the future of the sons and daughters of the African. Let’s pray for the violated sanctuaries turned into killing fields, and stop taking them for granted.