This post is about Voldemort.
By Voldemort, I mean racism, but as we all know, using the name of a scary thing gives it more power, so… oh, no, wait… that’s rubbish, isn’t it? Pure, uncut, grade A rubbish.
When we want to fix an issue, we call out the name, we discuss it like adults (LIKE ADULTS, I SAID), and it starts to lose its hold, doesn’t it? We take away the mystique and stare it down and it loses power.
Saying that it doesn’t exist doesn’t kill it. Insisting that whoever… um… smelt it, dealt it (look, I’m sorry, I could not think of something better to write there) or that whoever denied it, supplied it is not a legitimate battle technique. If we want to lay the issue to rest, we need to look at it, realize how ridiculous and ugly and horrible it is and stop feeding it marshmallows and bits of raw meat, yeah?

By now, we’re all probably fairly familiar with the events of last’s week shooting in Charleston.
By now, we’ve probably seen or heard most of the details and, if you’re like me, you cried… at work… right in your boss’ face.
I was distressed then… and I’m disappointed now.
I’m disappointed because something horrible happened and, instead of all of us being able to hear the screamingly obvious narrative of this one event, we’re talking at cross purposes and accomplishing nothing, except perhaps making everything worse.

  • People are wandering around, shrugging their shoulders as to the motives for the crime, even though there is eye-witness, written, and verbal evidence (from the shooter himself) as to the racism of it all. Nine people were killed for no other reason than that their skin was of a particular shade, and their ancestors were from a particular continent. They didn’t choose to be black… they didn’t opt in at birth… they were born the way that they were born, and someone killed them for it. That is a thing that happened in the past, obviously happens now and, considering our refusal to address it, will continue to happen in the future. Even though he said himself that he wanted to start a race war, no one is comfortable coming right out and saying that (because we live in Shymalan’s “The Village” and racists are “THOSE WE DON’T SPEAK OF”), so we’ll just look at a duck and call it a narwhale until the whole thing blows over.
  • People are assuming that the shooter must be mentally ill.
    That’s shockingly insulting to people who struggle with legitimate mental illnesses. No one has produced any sort of psychological evaluation stating that he is, in fact, mentally ill. The only motive that we have for the crime was that of racism and racism is not a mental illness… but we don’t like to talk about racism, so we’ll assume that he simply must have a vague, shadowy disorder of some sort.
  • People are arguing about guns, which… *sigh*
    Gear up, everyone.
    Q: Could he have killed nine people in short order with a bag full of rocks?
    A: Probably not, no.
    Q: Did the gun expedite matters?
    A: Yes, of course it did.
    Q: Should he have had a gun in the first place?
    A: Nope. We have laws… but the laws have loopholes… and the loopholes have loopholes.
    Q: What does that tell us about the cause of this tragedy?
    A: Not a whole heck of a lot.
    Q: Would it have been any less tragic and any less racist if the shooter had killed only one person with a rock?
    A: No.
    Q: What about a knife?
    A: Still a racist hate crime.
    Q: Garrotte? Explosive device? Diseased blankets? Would he have been a nice, gentle, lovable, non-racist guy if he’d had a crossbow instead?
    Sirs and madams… he killed those people because he hates black people, not because his father gave him a gun. We’re talking about motives, right? The gun, which we’ll all agree that he shouldn’t have had, was an extension of his will, not the impetus.
    Q: Do we need to talk about guns? 
    A: Yes, obviously… but I don’t believe that’s the critical issue in this case (because I think the critical issue is Voldemort racism).
  • People are humming a few bars of the same old song about how shy loners who love the internet are time bombs.
    I can’t.
    I honestly can’t.
    Really, fools?
  • The church… or at least the section of the global church in which I happen to sit, is not saying anything about this.
    Not really.
    Now, this is when everyone rolls their eyes and says, “Well, duh. We don’t have to say it. It’s in the Bible somewhere… something-something-New-Testament-something”, but those same people will engage in verbal fisticuffs over every other issue that hits the newsstands. Mention Duck Dynasty and just watch the hymnals fly, but here, there is uncomfortable silence. If anything is said, it’s a rather dismissive non-sequitur that God is no respecter of persons.
    We already know that, you numpty.
    However, people (you know, the ones that are not God) are respecters of persons, which is why people CLEARLY need this issue to be frequently, compassionately, and yet strongly addressed.

Racism (and prejudice, because where do we think racism starts?) exists, in part, because we don’t want to talk about it anymore. I understand that. I don’t want to talk about it anymore, either… but then I’d also rather like to not experience it anymore.
I’m disappointed in all of us… in the way that we’re handling this…  because we have an extremely clear, textbook example of racism and the harm that racism can do, and we’re all shying away from it, averting our eyes and scuttling to our usual positions. I don’t think we can afford to continue hiding from this just because it’s an uncomfortable topic.

I might have children one day… pretty ones, probably WAY too tall, with glasses and dry wit and the Ransom cheekbones. I don’t want my children to hear about racism, or even experience it… let alone catch a bullet because some guy doesn’t like the amount of melanin they carry.
If the only way that I can prevent that is by making myself uncomfortable by talking about this, I should do it, yeah?
Maybe we all should.


One thought on “DISAPPOINTED

  1. Jessica, this is so well stated. It is an injustice to anyone who struggles with mental illness to disguise racism under the blanket of mental illness. As you so eloquently stated, there has been no hint of mental illness. Further, his long history that has now been revealed shows a history of, sadly, following groups involved in hate towards people who are not of the lily white skin such as he and I share.

    Should the church members have carried guns into their Bible study? We do not know if perhaps there was some general protection used during Sunday services. This has not been made public information, but many churches commonly have security today. Do they do so for a Bible study? I have personally never witnessed an armed security guard at a Bible study. I do not believe the argument about gun control is a legitimate argument. He was bent on killing, yea slaughtering, them.

    The church needs to talk about this. It should be more than a 30-second prayer for the victims. We should be standing arm in arm like they are in Charleston, showing we stand united for them. I stand with you. I stand with every person who says this was a racist hate crime against people simply because of the color of their skin. I stand with every person who says, ‘Let’s be the change, let’s be the difference.’


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