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Monday, October 24, 2016

This is for Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Fox & Friends, who described last Thursday’s act of white extremist terrorism at Emanuel AME church in Charleston as an “attack on faith.”

It’s for Rick Perry, who said maybe the shooting happened because of prescription drugs. It’s for Jeb Bush, who said, “I don’t know what was on the mind” of the killer. It’s for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who said, “We’ll never understand what motivates” a crime like this. It’s for Glenn Beck, who said, “I don’t know why this shooter shot people. He might shoot people because he’s a racist. He might have shot people because he’s an anarchist. He might have shot people because he hates Christians.”

This is also for the reader who called the tragedy a “hoax” perpetrated by the White House to promote racial hatred and gun control, and for the one who said, “Charleston was not a hate crime.” Finally, it’s for any and everyone who responded to the massacre by chanting, tweeting, or saying, “All lives matter.”

For all of you, a simple question: What the hell is wrong with you people? Why is it so hard for you to call racism racism?

It is not news that some people go to extraordinary lengths to avoid conceding that America remains a nation stained by racial discrimination. Bring them a hundred testimonies illustrating it and they are unmoved. Bring them a thousand studies quantifying it and they say that numbers lie. They deny self-evident truth because otherwise, they must concede racism did not, in fact, end 50 years ago, and they are heavily invested in that fiction.

Still, it is breathtaking and heartbreaking to learn that this recalcitrance holds firm even in the face of so blatant a crime. Nine people dead following an attack upon a storied African-American church. The alleged killer: Dylann Roof, a 21-year old dropout with a Moe Howard haircut whose racist motivations were pretty clear to authorities from the beginning and have only become clearer since.

He said he wanted to shoot black people. You don’t get plainer than that.

Yet, even in the face of this utter lack of mystery, some of us professed confusion about the killer’s motives.

An “attack on faith”? Only the “War on Christmas” delusions and anti-gay fixations of Fox could make this about that.

“All lives matter”? Of course they do. But what is it about the specificity of declaring “Black Lives Matter” that some people object to? What is it they find problematic about acknowledging that black lives in particular are under siege in this country? It certainly wasn’t “all lives” Roof sought to snuff out when he entered that church.

And Glenn Beck’s professed confusion about the shooter’s motive? It is simply bizarre that a man who once famously dubbed President Obama “a racist” based on no evidence beyond the voices in his own head has such difficulty being that definitive about a white man who drove 100 miles to shoot up a black church.

A few days ago, a Toronto Star reporter tweeted video of a mostly white crowd that marched through Charleston chanting “Black Lives Matter.” God, but that was a welcome sight — ice-cold lemonade on the hottest day in August. It was a stirring, needed reminder that compassion has no color.

All this obfuscation and pretend confusion, on the other hand, is a less welcome reminder that, for all the undeniable progress we have made in matters of race, there remain among us not simply moral cowards, but far too many moral cripples hobbling about on stumps of decency and crutches of denialism.

Last week, nine people were slaughtered in a house of God for no other reason than that they were there, and they were black. It is a sad and simple truth that some of us, for some reason, have not the guts to say.

For that, they should be profoundly ashamed.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via email at [email protected])

Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr

  • charleo1

    If we’re waiting for a radical, and racist Right to be ashamed of themselves. To have shame, find it, or to be capable of being shamed by the actions of one of their loyal devotees. Then, we should also be awaiting for that other, also long anticipated event of hell freezing over, as well. Because that ain’t happening any time soon either. What they, the racists, the intolerants, the subjugators, and oppressors are at this time, is beat. Their fervent hopes that this tragic event wouldn’t hold their ridiculous contentions that we live in a post racial country, up to the glaring light of reality have been dashed. And now they are scrambling to preserve the rest of their bankrupt ideology with a National election just around the corner.

    • itsfun

      Darn good thing there are no liberal or left leaning racists. Good to know there are no left leaning or liberal members of KKK or Nazi party.

      • charleo1

        That is good to know. It’s one reason I’m not a Klan member, or Nazi. Or personally know any members of such. Everything they believe is an anathema to me, and vice versa, I’m sure. The old adage about being a Republican not necessarily meaning one is a racists. But if one is a racists, the odds of them identifying, or agreeing with the Republican Party, over the Left, is absolutely true.

      • Sand_Cat

        Your point being?
        Excuse me; shouldn’t have presumed you have one, other than the one on your head.

      • mpjt16

        If someone is “left leaning” or “liberal”, it would generally reflect their social beliefs that support equality. This would make being a member of KKK or Nazi party very difficult as both have white supremacy as their underlying belief. A left leaning nazi would be the ultimate oxymoron.

    • The lucky one

      Mostly agree with you but let’s not forget that the profitability of the cotton industry was the driving force behind slavery in the early 19th century and that many northern industrialists were involved.
      Concerning the Civil War it’s interesting that many, probably most, confederate soldiers fought and died for an institution that was instrumental in keeping them at nearly the bottom of society, just a small step above the slaves. It’s kind of like the republican base now that supports the policies that benefit the 1% even though it is keeping them on the bottom.

  • Marv Nochowitz

    Fox News and the republican party cannot call the killings a racist act because they depend on their racist base for listeners and votes. Without the racist south where would they get their votes from? So they will call it and excuse the killings as anything but racist for fear of offending their base.

    • The lucky one

      That’s true but it’s not just the racist south although blatant racist attitudes are more overt.

  • Bosda

    Ask not for whom the Banshee howls, Oh Republican Party–it howls for thine fanny!

    The Neocons & the Tea Farty are dooming themselves, & there is are two generational shifts underway that will destroy them.
    One is demographic–you cannot race bait for decades, and then expect people, now in the majority, to endorse you.
    The second–call it “The Emperor Has No Clothes” syndrome. People are finally wising-up. The little ball in not under any of the three cups, & the guy running the table is a crook.

    • whodatbob

      You got that correct! The guy running the came, Obama, is a crook! I am a 72 year Democrat and that truth hurts. I can not vote republican ever, but Micky Mouse is a viable write-in!

  • Godzilla

    I’m glad that there is no honest journalism on this site. To quote people directly after the attack, BEFORE any evidence is even out, then ask what’s wrong with them (while crying racism of course) isn’t journalism. It’s stupidity. It’s ignorant. It’s LIE. It’s what the entire Left Wing has become. LIARS. PARROTMONKEYS. LOSERS. ANTI-AMERICANS. COMMUNIST PIGS. FEMANAZIS. NAZIS. The worst that humans can muster, IDIOTS.

    • Karen Bille-Golden

      Obviously you haven’t had time to think it through either.

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      Good…You got that hate out of your system. Now, do we have to worry that you’ll be the next Roof? A loose cannon who hates, hates, hates, hates?

      Time for you to examine your conscience. You are overloaded with massive guilt you cannot own up to. Time to stop hating yourself and trying to use others to neutralize your own self-loathing.

      • whodatbob

        Eleanore, Excellent retort!

    • The lucky one

      Ask yourself this Skippy. Who is the idiot when someone makes a public statement when they lack knowledge about that which they are commenting on? Of course you are used to that being the obvious fox devotee that you are.

      • Godzilla

        I’m quite astute to the Left’s crap. Trayvon…a LIE started by NBC, Hands up don’t shoot….a lie, started by a thug criminal. Shall I continue? IDIOT

    • Carolyn1520

      Did you miss the shooter’s manifesto and the reason he said he did it?
      The right took a shot at changing the narrative to fit their agenda but the only people who are buying it are those delusional foot soldiers in that party. The sad thing is , none of you are staying in it because they have so much to offer, you are there simply to vote against the other party who has rocked your way of life by moving forward. Everyone who doesn’t agree with you is either/or unpatriotic or anti-Christian. The God and patriotism props get dragged out. This has occurred so much since before 2008, it’s become a real farce, for thinking people.

      • Godzilla

        No, you can’t think because your a brainwashed moron. Most of the past mass murderers are YOUR ILK.

        • Carolyn1520

          You make my point. Thanks.

    • cpbis

      You call yourself an American? Shame on you! You are the type ISIS looks for. .Beware of this individual. He is sick with hate!

      • Godzilla

        You know nothing about being an American, you choose European socialism, please move there.

    • oldtack

      Hey – I’ve been called a lot of things by you misguided morons but PARRETMONKEY and FEMINAZI NAZI? Those are a couple of new one.

      Meanwhile I say to you.
      NOTHING – why?- because you do not possess the intelligence to digest anything remotely resembling intelligent thought.

      • Godzilla

        I will be kind, because I read another post of yours. You have a clue. Not sure why your a Lefty, but we all have our faults!

    • charleo1

      The quotes come from the survivors, the police, the writings, and the confession of the shooter himself. So what else you want? Christ Himself to appear in the clouds, and say it? Jeez!

      • Godzilla

        charleo1 • 14 hours ago

        If we’re waiting for a radical, and racist Right to be ashamed of themselves. To have shame, find shame, or to be capable of being shamed by the actions of one of their loyal devotees. Then, we should also be awaiting for that other, also long anticipated event of hell freezing over, as well.

        Utter hogwash!

    • Sand_Cat

      Typical projection by a pathetic and ignorant racist; but the, that’s what pretty much all of your posts are.

      • Godzilla

        Your an ignorant bitch. Surprised your still living.

        • Sand_Cat

          I’m wounded by your eloquent denunciation :))

          Thanks for proving my point.

    • mpjt16

      Like so many others, I don’t get your point at all. Are you saying FOX got it right? That this was a crime against christianity?

  • rogerogreen

    Well, it’s six days later. Any confusion as to motivation should be laid to rest.

  • FireBaron

    But, Leonard, don’t you realize that by an Act of Congress (not supported by any of the Southern Democratic Caucus who subsequently joined the Republican party, but supported by Northern and Midwestern Progressive and “LIBERAL” Republicans) racism was eliminated in the United States?
    By the way, if anyone cannot recognize the above as snark, too bad.

  • KDJ54

    Answer one simple question? You are absolutely right that it is wrong to make a statement before all the evidence is in. However, Fox News was willing to opine that this was a hate crime against Christians. So, where was the faulty journalism? It looks to me like Fox News and the other idiots like Glenn Beck were certainly willing to make a statement without any evidence to back it up. All of the organizations cited in this article, along with the politicians, are trying to avoid the elephant in the room. That is, that the right wing has fomented a basic racist policy for decades, which has intensified after the election of President Obama. It’s a fact they are unwilling to recognize. It is the same fact that we have also been suffering from more terrorist attacks from right wing groups than from any Muslim groups since September 11, 2001. See New York Times June 24, 2015. This most recent attack is just another manifestation of this policy.

    • mpjt16

      These people are entertainers, not news reporters. And their audience is predominately white evangelicals. If it wasn’t they wouldn’t have someone like Hasslebeck (sp?) on their network. Their audience does not want to have anything to do with any issue other than trying to create a theocracy in the US. Maybe FOX should be worried about that?

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    It is now abundantly clear that many red states were operating not as a union of states united but as their “Confederacy.” Some of these red state politicians unwittingly, though subliminally admitted that the Confederacy is their culture.

    Good. Now those of us who live up north in a Revolutionary War culture can fly a Colonial flag? Can don muskets and go into battle with the Confederates who are trying to live off our tax dollars while they ram their Confederacy down our throats? See how stupid that Confederate BS is?

  • Dominick Vila

    The only positive thing I can say about Mr. Roof is that he had the courage to admit that he was in the Emanuel church to kill black people, wrote a manifesto expressing his decision to prevent Black people from taking over the world, and posed for photos holding a flag that contrary to modern-day interpretations represents the saddest chapter in American history.
    The excuses we are hearing, which range from dementia to accident, say more about those who promote or condone acts like this, while hiding behind a veneer of righteousness, than about easily manipulated ignorant people like Roof.

  • The lucky one

    All good points by Mr. Pitts but I do have to believe Glen Beck when he says he is “confused”. Anyone who has ever listened to him for 30 seconds knows the truth of that.

  • Carolyn1520

    It’s pretty simple. The right was all set to call this mass murder, proof of the imaginary “war on Christians”. They never miss an opportunity to work anything into their obscene agenda.The only problem was the shooter made it impossible when he made it clear it was a hate crime. There’s even photos and a manifesto. So all the right had left was feigned confusion. Yet they repeated enough that of their simple minded foot soldiers aka carrier pigeons who regularly pass on the spin of the day are parroting the likes of Graham and that shrill Hasselback , yep yep, war on Christians.
    It it wasn’t so disturbing to know this idiocy is what have to co-exist with, it would be hysterical.

  • plc97477

    The problem of calling racism racism for some people is that if we still have racism we will need to work to get rid of it but if we can pretend it is already gone we don’t need to have that conversation and they dread that conversation. Unfortunately, though I can not understand why they dread the job of fixing things so much.

  • oldtack

    First – Racism is very prevalent wherever humans exist. Racism has been with us since the inception of the Human race. Are we all racists – no. Is racism restricted to one particular Caste of the human species – no. Racism exists in all Cultures to some extent. There is racism in the Black culture, the Oriental, Native American, Latino everywhere. It is a part of the make up of humanity. So – let us not hide our heads in the sand and pretend it no longer exists in this Country

    Dylon Roof is a mass murderer. It was based on a fear of the Black “Race”. Where did this fear come from? It came from Mass Media both audio and video that dwell on hatred and mistrust. We have clowns such as Limbaugh, Beck, Savage and Medved then the have the well gifted talking bimbos on National TV that are not employed for their expertise as News Reporters but for their expertise in attracting an audience and increasing ratings which equate to more advertising time and Billions of profit for the owners of thse conglomerates. We now have the coffee klatch club groups on MSNBC, CBS, Fox, ABC but we no longer have serious Newscasters.

    Dylan Roof falls into that category of individuals like Timothy McVeigh.Easily impressed and ready to take action where others only talk about it. Like McVeigh, Roof is a victim of the distorted utterances of Media rabble rousers.

    Unfortunately Roof, like McVeigh will pay a great price for his sins against humanity while the real perpetrators continue in their perverted ramblings further corrupting other impressible individuals to similar misguided actions against humanity..

    • whodatbob

      You are correct! Problem is neither liberals nor conservatives want acknowledge those truths.

      • oldtack

        They can’t acknowledge these truths and take action ot correct it without jeapordising their Political Careers.

  • janis mcdonald

    This killer is ONE white American who is either demented/racist/hates blacks/ hates God, or all of the above. He does not represent all of us, most of us, a few of us — he is one a$$hole and likely representative of the thoughts, not the actions, of a very, very, very few of us — thank God. .

    • whodatbob

      Thank you!

      • mpjt16

        What is the point of your comment?

  • J.T. Smith

    I fully and readily recognize that what happened was a heinous racist act of terrorism. I also fully and readily recognize that, yes, all lives matter! Black lives DO matter! As do Jewish lives, Arabic lives, and Muslim lives. So yes, All Lives Matter.