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Charleston Shooting: Race Relations in Modern America

June 17th was the five year anniversary of the Charleston Massacre, in which nine black parishioners were shot and killed by a 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof (Smith). Given America’s tragic history of racially motivated crimes, the Charleston shooting was deemed reflective of the current state of race relations in modern America. Liberal political representatives and numerous journalists concluded that the Charleston tragedy somehow demonstrated the country’s racial bias and ethnic war. However, the liberal media’s coverage of the Charleston Massacre reflects the ‘us vs. them’ mentality, which implies that blacks are targeted by whites. They fail to acknowledge the fact that the public’s outrage regarding the shooting demonstrates that it was a rare tragedy that saddened millions of Americans, no matter their skin color.

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The Charleston Massacre did not reflect the state of race relations in America, but rather confirmed the narratives of victimhood and institutionalized racism created by liberals. The Charleston church shooting occurred on June 17th, 2015. Dylann Roof attended the Bible study and started to shoot the members of the church (MacDonald). As a result, nine people were killed. Roof targeted the Emanuel African Methodist Church due to its history as one of the oldest black churches in the United States (Smith). The church often held events related to equality and civil rights. The shooter was sentenced to death in January of 2017. The massacre’s portrayal in the media demonstrated logical fallacies in social justice fighters’ view of race relations. Liberal politicians and journalists were prone to assume that the Charleston case is reflective of millions of white Americans. The majority of correspondents linked poverty rates in black communities to institutionalized racism, which somehow became connected to the shooting. Dylann Roof’s twisted behavior had nothing to do with the current state of African American households. Republicans and moderates stood in opposition to the mass media and argued that the Charleston shooting was not so much about race as about mental health.

The victims of the Charleston Massacre were nine African American parishioners of the Emanuel African Methodist Church. The media used their race and Roof’s disgusting comments about white supremacy in order to push a narrative of black inferiority in modern America. According to Barack Obama, Roof’s actions reflected white Americans’ disregard for the rights of black people (MacDonald). The general consensus suggested that the Charleston Massacre was an act of racism that goes beyond the blind hatred for blacks. It implies police brutality, hate crimes, and even a lack of job opportunities for black men and women. Obama noted that “perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career” (qtd. in MacDonald). However, the opposition argued that Dylann Roof’s actions were an act of mental health deterioration, and race just came to become the focus of his obsession.

Roof killed nine black people because he believed they were inferior to his race. He had attended a Bible study that lasted about an hour before he started shooting. This demonstrates how evil his actions have been. This also shows the extent of his mental problems. Critics of liberal media and Democratic representatives argued that the majority of people in America understood that racism was wrong (MacDonald). Therefore, Roof’s case was not reflective of the state of race relations in the US. They also suggested that Obama and other liberals had a biased view of the Charleston shooting, going as far as to saying that the latter exploited the massacre to push their political agenda.

The bias starts with the assumption that the Charleston Massacre reflects the way white Americans feel about black people. The picture of redneck suburbs is not the objective reality. Obama and a number of other democratic politicians concluded that Roof’s decision to start a shooting at the church was connected to racial disparities and outcome differences between whites and blacks. Furthermore, they argued that the Charleston case was an example to racial bias that could even be evidenced in the workplace or college. In reality, while racism is not dead, there is no race war in America. In fact, according to the 2012-2013 statistics, blacks committed 85 percent of interracial crimes of violence, even though they constituted 12.5 percent of the US population (MacDonald). The belief that white Americans are targeting black people is a logical fallacy, based on the factual reports. The US government needs to stop being so polarized. Every political party should have a platform to express their concerns, as long as it is being done in a respectable way. Campaigns should be monitored in order to make them factual. Local administration needs to enforce mandatory classes/seminars for students regarding fake news and unconscious bias. Every person can start with fact-checking the latest news article they have read.

Despite the political polarization, it is apparent that the majority of Americans want the same thing – to live peacefully. Political forces often use tragic events to enforce their own agenda using people’s bias. Everyone felt heart-broken about the fates of nine Charleston victims, so they wanted to hate Dylann Roof and everything he stood for – white supremacy, racism, and hate crimes. However, the media’s portrayal of the shooting failed to show that Roof’s actions had nothing to do with millions of white Americans, who are not racist. The fact that Roof chose a black church did to his mental illness is not reflective of the racial disparities in America. It is time to challenge the mindset of victimhood and fight political bias.

Works Cited

MacDonald, Heather. “The Shameful Liberal Exploitation of the Charleston Massacre.” National Review. 2015, Web.

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Smith, Terrance. “’We Have Done Nothing’ 5 Years after Charleston Massacre, Mourner Says.” ABC News. 2020, Web.

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