It is deeper than the North and South, deeper than a flag, and it is not senseless. Yes, murder is senseless in that we shouldn’t be killing each other. Racism is senseless from the standpoint that race is a social construct that consolidated its hold on us mainly in the 1800s. So why do I say we should not put the emphasis on senseless?
There is a continuum of race, but scientists tell us there is no legitimate way of defining or dividing race into biological categories. We are not separate species. Tribes may have distinguished themselves from other tribes in previous days, but talk of a white race entered European languages in the latter part of the 17th century in the context of the North Atlantic slave trade. Talk about race intensified in the 1800s, as cotton plantations rapidly expanded production.
Nothing was bigger than cotton in the development of industry, and nothing was bigger than cotton from slave plantations for capital wealth accumulation in America and Europe. Those textile mills didn’t expand out of nothing. You can read about this in two books, The Half that Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Babtist, and The Empire of Cotton by Sven Beckert. Race was conjured to justify the violent enslavement of black people and served the financial interests of a small group of bankers, industrialists and plantation owners. It was and is a phenomenon of North and South.
After racism served its role in slavery and post slavery sharecropping, it also proved its usefulness for the well to do as Europe and America sought to extract more wealth from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Racism functions in numerous ways to this day throughout America. Race is a myth, but a powerful myth, more horrible than many truths. It is the economics of race that makes it so powerful. It corrupts our culture. It destroys human beings. It kills.
Acting as if various terrorist acts are senseless allows people to disconnect from the racism involved. One incident is not isolated from another incident. These crimes of terrorism are connected to a racist past, to slavery, to industry, and to wealth. It is an act of terrorism that rose out of this terrible philosophy that holds one race superior and others inferior for a purpose.
It has been accompanied by violence throughout its history. Lynchings and murders marked a period well past the end of slavery. The assassinations and bombings of the Civil Rights Era were an extension of race for a purpose.
In our time, it is the same race tainted money that causes media like Fox to portray Black people and immigrants as bad people, thugs, and lazy welfare cheats. Blindness to racism across America allows Fox to carry on after all the racist lies and misconceptions it spreads. Racism has made a mockery of the FCC. It is our blindness to racism that allows mass incarceration and all its attendant inequalities to take place before our blinded eyes. You can read about this in more detail in The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It is our blindness that accepts the excuses of Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Rand Paul for accepting large amounts of money for years from the Council of Conservative Citizens, the same organization that worked the South Carolina terrorist, Dylann Roof into his murderous frenzy. They send the money back now that the attention is on this, but why didn’t they send it back when they got it? They knew the purposes of the Council of Conservative Citizens. They knew its history.
It is racism that is responsible for these acts of terrorism. This is where the hate comes from. This is why so many murders are connected. This is why we must not talk about how senseless it was but examine the racism that permeates it. This is why we must work on understanding racism and its causes North and South. This is why we must look at our selves. We need to know where and why we have become blind. We need to understand not just the overt racism, but the subtle. We must overcome this blindness. We stunt our development when we don’t.