David Griscom

Call It What It Is

David Griscom
Call It What It Is

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new
evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize,
ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” -Frantz Fanon from Black Skin, White Masks

Today it may be difficult to consider what a simple fact is. The puppets and the puppet masters are using misdirection, that old tool of the oppressor, so indiscreetly that it has almost been successful. These prevaricators are trying to obscure the domestic terrorist attack which left nine people dead into a narrative which fits their understanding of the world. This is alchemy, an attempt to change the essence of this travesty. Those responsible should hide their faces and weep.

One is tempted to use the word monster to describe the vile creature that murdered those nine people in Charleston. However, it is critical that this attack is not seen as an isolated incident but as a product of the racist rhetoric which dominates this country and especially this area of the world. It is not demons or devils who terrorize and kill the living but humans. This attack cannot be mystified or mislabeled. It was a racially motivated act of terror.

Fmr. Senator Rick Santorum has claimed that this attack can be connected to a broader “assault on our religious liberty.” The sheer amounts of gymnastics that are required to qualify that statement are incredible. From what we know, the shooter said before he fired and killed 9 innocent people, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.” The meaning of ‘you’ was directed at black people not at the religious. To obscure the motivations of this attack into something that it is not shows a complete contempt for those who were murdered by this terrorist. This attack is simple in its motivations it was a race-based terror attack.

The tragic victims were not targeted because of the cross but because of the color of their skin. This recent tragedy was an example of a very real war, the war on black Americans by white people. Unlike the fantasy wars that Santorum and his ilk claim like the War on Christmas or War on Christianity, this war has real consequences and real victims. To not acknowledge this not only is disgraceful but also perpetuates this war because this war is best fought when it exists in the shadows.

Presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham has said on Wednesday that this attack is “not a window into the soul of South Carolina.” Graham may contend that the attack was not a window into the soul of South Carolina but he may wish to take a closer look at his own state. Even though Federal law trumps State law, South Carolina is still one of the few states to not have a law designating hate crimes. South Carolina still flies the flag of the Confederacy. This flag was not flown on the state capitol until the civil rights era. Unlike the claim, ‘heritage, not hate,’ the flag very much represents a heritage of hate. For a state of only 4.8 million, it is home to 19 different hate groups according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I called South Carolina home for many years. The simple idea of toleration, not to accept but to tolerate others is far from being a reality there. I know many people who are not hate-filled bigots. But so many are. Racist drivel was as common a part of conversations as the weather.

The clearest depiction of what South Carolina is today can be articulated by an interview with a classmate of the terrorist “He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that.” This desensitization to clearly deplorable ideas is endemic of an overall racism that is so present in South Carolina that people do not notice it or claim to not notice it. This attack in many ways is a window into a vile and rotten soul.

George Orwell once wrote, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” This obfuscation that has occurred around this domestic terrorist attack is despicable. The public has a responsibility to those who have been killed to call things what they actually are. The killer is a terrorist, it is not a shooting but a terror attack, and it is not unknowable what he did.
Nikki Hayley has said that this attack is not understandable. This obscurantism is unforgivable. Nine people are dead because of their race. They have been murdered by a racist terrorist inculturated in the backward rhetoric of ‘Southern Pride’. It is clear what this horrible act of domestic terror was about. It is also clear that there are people who desire to misdirect the public. The story is understandable; there are those who are trying to obscure it. As the revolutionary post-colonial philosopher Frantz Fanon who said in his the Wretched of the Earth; “Everything can be explained to the people, on the single condition that you want them to understand.”