A 21-year-old white gunman allegedly shot up a Bible study at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s being called a “hate crime,” as if cold-blooded murder could ever be anything other than a hate crime. But few people are talking about just where that hate is coming from and what is fueling it. I think there is one main culprit: the race narrative itself.
Perhaps we can talk about this without being fools. I don’t have great hope that’s possible, but let’s at least try. First off, what is a “historically black” church? I wish they existed only in history. Churches on Sunday morning are still one of the most segregated places in America. It should be that the Church is universal—generally and thoroughly mixed in its racial make-up. It may be true that different races have distinct cultures that have developed uniquely around their respective communities, but church members should know better than to put much stock in such superficialities. Apparently we don’t.
So some young white kid shows up to a Bible study, sits next to the senior pastor, and then, after about an hour, decides to start shooting people. What does he think that’s going to accomplish? I’ll tell you this, it’s not accomplishing anything good, even in terms of what he allegedly intended. All this does is feed the race narrative mill a little more fresh grist. And the gun control lobby. Very few people will probably check to see if this kid was on anti-psychotic pharmaceuticals (I would be surprised if he weren’t). [UPDATE: Roof was on psychotropic pharmaceuticals according to this report.] No. This is about race and guns. But mostly race.
What exactly is the race narrative? It’s the story of how vastly important race is in America. It’s the story of how racial variety is the hallmark of American diversity, which we know is the most politically privileged of all American values, for reasons unknown. The race narrative is the story of how racism, slavery, and segregation are the most important realities framing current “race relations,” whatever those are (as if the personified white and black “races” have any dealings with one another in aggregate form). It’s the story of how white people have kept black people down just because they’re black. And how black people have resented and distrusted white people just because they’re white. It’s the story of white police shooting black men. Of black mobs rioting. Of black men making up the majority of prison inmates. It’s interlaced into the story of socio-economics as well—LBJ’s Great Society, welfare, food stamps, single black moms, race-selective abortion, the projects, the hood, the ghetto.
But no one seems to understand that the primary effect of the race narrative is to make itself true. The race narrative sells. And it works. Why? Because people want someone other than themselves to blame. Dylann Storm Roof wanted someone to blame. He allegedly told one victim, “I have to do this . . . You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
This blame game goes both ways, and it is fueled by the race narrative. Some black people blame white people for their current suffering and difficulties. Then some white people say black people are criminals, deadbeats, and parasites. And then the media feeds us these proclamations as if every black person and every white person in the whole country is in agreement strictly on the basis of the color of their skin.
We have told ourselves over and over again that race is very important. The race narrative tells us that race is a central aspect, maybe the central aspect, of who we all are. Here’s the rub: that’s only true to the extent we believe it’s true. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s like fairies in Peter Pan. They become real when we believe in them—when we chant that we believe in them over and over again. The race narrative gets struck down, and then Al Sharpton and Bill O’Reilly show up to lead the chant: “I believe in the race narrative. I believe in the race narrative! I Believe in the Race Narrative!! I BELIEVE IN THE RACE NARRATIVE!!!!!!” Why can’t we let it die? Because of people like Dylann Roof for one. Thanks a lot, jerk.
Would black and white communities self-segregate if they didn’t believe race were a pivotal foundation for community? No. They wouldn’t. Anymore than they self-segregate on the basis of eye or hair color. The actual color of your skin doesn’t make a bit of difference in this world unless you and most of the people around you believe it does. And we have believed it does. Black people and white people have, in large measure, completely believed the race narrative. And the more people that believe it, the more it is confirmed as true.
Let’s take an example: white police officers killing black men. Let’s break this down. More white men become police than black men. Precincts are trying to hire black police officers, but most young black people just don’t want to join up. So, what does that mean? Quite logically, more white police.
Additionally, the police in general are more prone to use force these days, on pretty much anyone with whom they come in contact. And, generally, the police tend to be more active wherever there are more crimes. The highest crime rates occur in predominantly poor communities, and the socio-economic reality is that those communities are often predominantly black (again, because of the race narrative … sheesh). Translation: trigger-happy majority-white police officers have more interaction with black people than anyone else. What created this? The race narrative. What will perpetuate this? The race narrative. A self-fulfilling prophecy and a vicious cycle.
The main theme of the race narrative is this: black people and white people are historically and presently opposed to one another. We are in competition, as the story goes. Lots of black people (and Rachel Dolezal) sing, “We shall overcome.” Overcome what? It feels less and less like they mean, “We shall overcome obstacles” these days. I guess they mean, “We shall overcome racists.” But the race narrative says that basically all white people are racists.
And that same contentious spirit of overcoming cuts the other way too. Don’t you see that’s why young Roof shot all these people? He “had to” because they were “taking over.” He had apartheid flags on his jacket. The race narrative was strong with him: it’s either black people on top or white people. Only those two options. And he wanted it to be white people. Because he’s white. This was his way of “doing his part” to keep white people on top.
He’s not the only one. If you have a strong stomach, read some of the revolting comments on the reports from the Charleston shooting. Things like “It’s a good start.” Or “This is really sad … that he didn’t get more of them.” I’m not making this up. Some people even quote statistics justifying Roof’s fallacious claim that black men are, in general terms, raping white women. Others say that black people kill each other all the time, so this isn’t even news. And the responses to these responses which elicit more responses are all in total completely unhelpful. Unless you are a fan of the race narrative.
Come on! I’m so tired of this. Stop listening to the race narrative. There is one race. The human race. And we are hating each other, fearing each other, doubting each other, killing each other over skin pigmentation. Melanin content! That’s not some liberal bleeding heart mantra. It’s the scientific fact. We all came from two heterosexual parents who contained in themselves all the genetic information of the human race. All monogenists (including most evolutionists, oddly enough) believe that.
So, what difference does your skin color play culturally? It should play absolutely none in truth of fact. But it does make a difference. Why? The race narrative. White people and black people have both said it makes a difference. Black history month, societies for black engineers/black doctors/etc. These are all vestiges of a legacy of racial differentiation. Both white and black people have contributed to the race narrative in their different ways, and what good has it done? None. Division, fear, and hate.
But how do we fix it? How do we stop telling this stupid vicious self-fulfilling fairy tale? Every time some idiot hurts someone from a different race, the whole thing starts up yet again. Retaliation after retaliation. Tit for tat. Reparation after reparation. And who are the victims? We all are. No one wins here. The race narrative does not end with “and they all lived happily ever after.” It can’t.
The hasty generalizations have to end. Just because one white man killed some black people does not mean that all white people are racist. Or that all white people would do the same. Just because some black man does some crime, that doesn’t mean all black men are criminals. Or that all black men would do the same.
Each person must answer for his own actions individually. It feels good to blame others for your problems or compare yourself favorably with the straw man you’ve constructed of your neighbors’ worst acts. Ultimately, actions are the only social or civil demarcation that makes any real difference. I don’t care if you’re a white person or a black person or a green person. I care if you’re a good person. If you fight every day to make the wrong things right, and work to keep from adding to the huge heap of wrongs we have already done to each other over the years.
Dylann Roof did not do what was right, and I hope justice comes to him. I pray for harmony and contentment in America. I pray for the end of the race narrative and the beginning of a real dialogue between communities, churches, and neighbors. Fear, doubt, and covetousness have long been at the root of the way we relate to one another. Let’s change that. Those of us who operate in the power of hope, love, and good faith need to speak up and act. Soon and often.