Have They No Shame?

Forgive me. I try to keep things fun and talk mostly about writing or horses or games or cool science stuff, but what happened at the Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina has left me shaken. The killings themselves are a sadly familiar story.  Black churches have been targeted before.  In 1963 four little girls were killed when a black church was bombed. As Larry Wilmore pointed out Larry Wilmore The Nightly Show nobody back then tried to claim this was about religious liberty, or that the bombers were architectural critics who thought the building was an eye sore, or some other bogus claim. Everyone knew why that church was bombed. It was done to terrorize African-American citizens in this country as they demanded their equal rights.

It was racism that killed those children.

The spectacle yesterday of a supposed news network twisting themselves into knots as they attempted to cast these murders as something other than racism was disgusting. There are presidential candidates who have taken up this same line of “reasoning” rather then face the fact that racism still runs like a toxic infection through the body of our nation.  I feel sorrow over the senseless deaths.  I feel rage over the actions of a certain segment or our punditry and politicians that refuses to acknowledge the legacy of America’s original sin.

Even if these so called journalists and national leaders didn’t want to grapple with these difficult issues couldn’t they have at least accepted the facts as presented by the killer himself?  Dylann Roof has confessed that he murdered these people because they were black.  Because he wanted to start a race war.  This had nothing to do with religion.  I expect the next move to avoid having to look in the mirror is to talk about mental illness.  No, Dylann Roof isn’t crazy.  He’s a racist.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has written far more eloquently and with greater knowledge then I of the history of oppression in America. Google him, read the articles. You’ll come away with a much deeper understanding of how much of our nation’s wealth was created on the backs of enslaved people.  John Stewart in a powerful monologue pointed out that not only does the confederate flag, a symbol of a rebellion launched in an effort to own human beings, still flies at the state capitol of South Carolina, that African-American citizens drive on roads named for confederate generals.  The Daily Show.

If mapping the human genome has taught us anything it’s that race is meaningless.  At the most fundamental level, in out DNA we are all the same.  We’re human beings.  Maybe someday we’ll come to accept that fact.  But not until cowards stop trying to change the subject.

5 Responses to Have They No Shame?

  • Amen, Melinda. I am so full of anger, and yet feel so incapable of bringing about a change, so stymied by my own place in society (privileged). I can’t imagine – I honestly can’t imagine – how marginalized a black American must be feeling over the deflection being tossed out there by some media and supposed leaders about the evil that was done – that will happen again if we don’t drop the empty trappings that divide us. I look at the faces of those killed – sweet faces, kind faces, human faces – and my heart cries out at how unfair it is that they were taken from us for such a misguided, horrific “cause”.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I just got off the phone with Connie Willis. We were both just ranting, spiting rage over the “deflection” as you put it. That’s a great description for what is being perpetrated by this so called news outlet.

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    Dylann Roof’s “manifesto” has been found. Looks like Fox and certain other conservative outlets are going to have to accept this was naked racism and had nothing at all to do with the war on christmas and christians.


  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    Melissa Harris-Perry referenced Dr. Martin Luther King’s moving eulogy at the funeral of the four little girls killed in the church bombing in 1963. it is horrifyingly relevant today. Which is a sad commentary. You can read it in full here:


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