A group of Duke University students penned an editorial in which they posited that Dylann Roof didn’t act alone in his murderous rampage at a Black church in Charleston. White privilege, and by extension, every white American played a part and even “held the church door open” for Roof. Here’s a choice snippet:
Being white does not mean that you owned slaves. It does not mean that you bought a house with the G.I. Bill. It does not mean that you benefitted from welfare. But, the minute you set foot on U.S. soil, it does mean that this American history is yours. It does mean that the legacy of these policies is yours. Your whiteness means that you can walk comfortably into a system that forces others to crawl. It means that you have the luxury of being seen as an individual in a society that sees others as a collective, a society that attributes another’s actions to their entire community. Yet, as an individual, you are no less accountable for the history and actions of your race. You cannot deny that our racialized society motivated the Charleston shooter when he presents himself with flags of institutional oppression.
He is not exempt.
You are not exempt.
Ignoring your white privilege does not erase it. Recognize that this is going to be uncomfortable, as it should be. But remind yourself that comfort is a privilege. Sit in the discomfort. Confront the reality that you are complicit in a racist system. Acknowledge that your silence is not inaction. It is a choice, and your choice held the church door open for the Charleston shooter.
The idea that all white Americans were somehow complicit in Roof’s murderous acts is preposterous. We had about as much to do with his crimes as his victims in the church.
When blacks commit crimes, it’s because of poverty and low socio-economic status. When whites commit crimes – no matter how poor or underprivileged they might be – it’s because they were born privileged.
We could even take the black crimes a step further. When they commit crimes, it’s not just because of poverty of low socio-economic status, it’s because of white privilege. If it weren’t for a society where whites get whatever they want by virtue of their “whiteness,” blacks wouldn’t commit crimes.
That’s all of course a bunch of rubbish.
Once Dylann Roof is convicted of murder, he should be executed. If he were black, and he killed nine white church-goers, I’d say exactly the same thing.
These Duke University students want to solve America’s problems by trying desperately to put a huge guilt trip on white Americans for having the audacity to be born with little melanin in their skin. That’s not going to solve any problem. That will only make things worse than they already are.
I like what Morgan Freeman said on the subject of how to end racism in America: “Stop talking about it.”