On June 17, 2015, a rabid racist named Dylann Roof casually strolled into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, and proceeded to open fire on the congregants, killing nine men and women.
“Dylann Roof possessed, alongside his racist and murderous inclinations, ease,” wrote BuzzFeed’s senior culture writer, Bim Adewunmi, in a column published Saturday. “There was no forced entry into the AME church that night. Dylann Roof walked in, aware and confident that he would find no real resistance. He sat with congregants, and then, later that evening, he murdered them.
“(I)t was striking to see what white privilege could afford him,” she added. “It brought to mind Claudia Rankine’s line on what happened in Charleston, during an interview she gave last August: ‘Even in this extreme positioning, white privilege is still at work, in service of his white body.’”
The greatest tool in Dylann Roof’s back pocket: whiteness https://t.co/PczmVhr1VW
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) December 18, 2016
The underlying premise to Adewunmi’s piece was that Roof’s “white privilege” made the task of committing the gruesome murders and then later dealing with the aftermath — he reportedly showed neither remorse for the murders nor concern about the fate awaiting him in prison or on death row — very easy.
Frankly, this thesis by Adewunmi lacks legitimacy and sounds like racial grievance-mongering based more on Adewunmi’s skewed perceptions of race relations than on reality.
Take for instance her complaint about Roof having found “no real resistance.” The presumption was that if a black man of similar stature had walked into a predominantly white church, he would have encountered an opposite reaction — one of fear and anger perhaps. Yet the BuzzFeed writer offered no examples or data to substantiate this sketchy claim.
She also glanced over a pivotal fact, namely that the mass shooting occurred in a gun-free zone, as reported by The Daily Caller.
“Although South Carolina is one of several states around the country that issue concealed carry licenses on a ‘shall issue’ basis, legal gun owners are not permitted to carry their firearms into places of worship,” the outlet revealed.
What happened at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last year because of Dylann Roof was extraordinarily sad, as well as a reminder that racism still exists in America, despite what some would claim.
The idea, though, that there exists some mythical privilege connecting this wretched man to the millions of hard-working, non-racist whites who live in America — well, it is false, it is racist and it is also counterproductive.
Here is a hint for BuzzFeed: To achieve racial harmony in America, we need to come together via our commonalities, not push each other away by highlighting differences and/or so-called privileges that do not even exist.
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