There is now little room for doubt that Dylann Roof killed nine people at Mother Emanuel AME Episcopal Church on Wednesday night because they were black.
It was an act of racism. It was an act of evil.
Evil will always be among us and racism is one of its more virulent strains. Unfortunately, this means racism will always be among us. The best we can do is to inoculate ourselves against racism from an early age and if an outbreak does occur to stop the disease from spreading. More often than not this country has succeeded in this regard over the past half century.
Unfortunately, a critical mass of left-wing ideology (and organizations in service of that ideology) profit from perpetuating the narrative that the United States is an irredeemably racist country. Over at the New Republic, Rebecca Traister argues that Roof “provided the United States with the latest installment of a history lesson we adamantly refuse to learn: that our racist past is not past. It is present. It is unending. It is, in many ways that we seem congenitally unable to acknowledge, fundamentally unchanged.”
In her piece, Traister speaks of Emmett Till and the 14-year old girl who had a gun pulled on her by a police officer in McKinney, Texas as if they were interchangeable parts. They are not. Emmett Till’s killers were motivated by race and because racists were in power they got away with murder. As for the officer in McKinney, there is no evidence to suggest that the officer acted the way towards the teenager because of her race. In any event, that officer has since resigned in disgrace. There is simply no comparison.
Traister also brings up the Freddie Gray case while ignoring the fact that three of the six Baltimore police officers who stand accused of murdering him are black. As Abraham Lincoln said, “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” The matter of Freddie Gray is one of power and the lack of character to use it wisely, not one of black and white.
Dylann Roof wanted to start a race war. In 1965, he probably could have got a lot of people to join him. The same cannot be said in 2015. I realize that is cold comfort to the families of those who lost loved ones at Mother Emanuel. But we do ourselves a disservice if we pretend that no racial progress has been made in this country over the past 50 years. If we make that case then we tell those who fought during the Civil Rights era that their efforts were in vain. This is enormously unfair to their legacy. The racist act of one deranged individual, however heinous, does not a make a nation of 300 million plus people a racist country.