You Need To Separate Racism From Mental Health
Dylann Roof, the alleged gunman authorities say is responsible for killing nine people at a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina, had been “planning something like that for six months,” according to his roommate Dalton Tyler.
“He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler said. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”
Separate Racism From Mental Health
I don’t know Dylan Roof’s mental state though I can certainly speculate. It’s important that the racist aspect of his acts not be sidestepped or dismissed by people who are desperately denying that race was a factor here. There are plenty more of his ilk out there.
We can not delude ourselves into thinking that he is a “lone wolf” in believing blacks, amongst others, should be eliminated because they’re taking over white society. If racism is going to be synonymous with mental illness in this case, the motivation in that classification should be separated from and not lost within it.
When the shooter tells black people that they’re about to die because they’re black, it’s an issue of racism. Roof decided that he would deny human rights or social participation (in this case the right to live) based upon race. He reloaded 5 times over the course of 30 minutes and could not be talked out of it. He is a racist whose acts led to innocent loss of lives. It cannot be ‘playing the race card‘ for daring to recognize racism when it’s plain as day.
This was the most difficult thing I have ever had to write. It’s simultaneously saddening, infuriating and frustrating this still happens today. I am even more perplexed by the need to bury race as the overwhelming motivation for this heinous act. These issues, whether it’s in defining what it means to be black, or in confronting the fact that white people are still willing to kill black people because they “fear” them, will not be overcome unless first acknowledged as issues.