Charleston Needs More, Mr. President

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“I have to do it. You rape our women and you are taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Dylann Storm Roof

I understand that President Obama can’t say much about the details of the mass murder that just took place in Charleston, South Carolina due to legal constraints. That much I understand. What I don’t understand, however, is why the President , in his comments on Thursday morning, one day after the massacre, didn’t spend more time addressing the glaringly apparent racial aspects of this event that have already been openly acknowledged by authorities, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch who has designated it an official hate crime.

In choosing to reserve the majority focus of his condemnation on the continuing prevalence of gun violence, it is sadly apparent that President Obama chose an easier path to confront this tragedy which, to me at least, is not at all characteristic of who I believe him to be. Who he has proven to be in so many other instances.

Ever since Obama’s first term election, the President has been the victim of accusations from some in the African American community who charge that he has done everything possible to avoid addressing the festering issues of race that have seemingly become even more apparent and simmering since he has assumed the responsibilities of the nation’s highest office. Just the image of his dark complexion sitting in that chair, and the even darker complexion of his wife standing next to him as the nation’s First Lady, has stirred up a hornet’s nest of fanatical hatred and bitterness that has only grown more intense with each passing year he has spent serving this nation as Commander-in-Chief.

Nevertheless I have always chosen to defend Obama’s decision to keep a distance from the thicket of race and racism because I know – as I’m sure he does – what stepping into that briar patch would mean. Besides, he is president of the entire country, not just us as African Americans, no matter how much pride we take in his accomplishment. Plus I am one of those who believe that although he has not specifically labeled many of his actions as targeted toward the betterment of African Americans, we have nevertheless definitely benefited in large amount from such initiatives as his historic overhaul of the health care industry, and I can speak personally about how beneficial his making home affordable programs have been. So my inclination has almost always been to let him off the hook, or at least search for a smaller hook. He doesn’t have to say, ‘”Hey, this one’s for you, black folks.”

So don’t ask me why this particular incident is the one that set me off, because I couldn’t answer that right now. I don’t know. Because to be sure there have been so many others in recent years, from Trayvon Martin to the African American family who was assaulted at a swimming pool by a police officer. And this was barely a week past when another incident occurred at another swimming pool where another crazed police officer waved his gun at black teens before slamming a young black girl’s face into the ground.

So many, and too much. It’s just too much, Mr. President. It’s too much. And I can’t pretend to even imagine the pressure you’re under to always be overly conscious of having to frame everything in the right way. Maybe it’s too much for you too.

But they’re killing us out here. They’re killing us, and they’re killing us because they know they can. And they will keep killing us so long as they know, as we do, that black lives all too often do not matter in this country. And it’s not that we expect you to wave a magic wand and make it all better. What we expect, and what we need, is for you to let this nation know, in no uncertain terms, that this is not OK. That they cannot keep killing us and then blaming us for drowning in our own blood on our own streets.

We need to hear from you that black lives really do matter.

 

17 Replies to “Charleston Needs More, Mr. President”

  1. While reading comments on the net, one said: “MK-ULTRA, all the signs”.
    Thought noting of it…
    Until I saw: Tearful Nikki Haley, Watch Haley Run For GOP VP!

  2. This day of action is a tragedy, and you Black Liberal Boomer, want to make it into a ‘Stop killing the Blacks’ speech that you know will neither solve it or make it better!
    Go ahead you are obviously a writer, write that speech!

  3. If Obama made such a speech the Rethugs and their supporters (90% of whom are racists or racist apologists) would scream and Democrats would suffer. Everyone knows how Obama feels about this issue anyway. But he can’t say it publicly.

  4. Because I grew up under Jim Crow in the South, I understand why PBO didn’t focus more on race in this matter–you don’t give your enemies ammunition to use against you when race is the issue. PBO already knows that no matter what he says about race, his words will be twisted and distorted by those on the right to serve their personal and political agenda. We already know the right does this and aren’t above using any comment he makes about race as a political football to raise campaign funds and manipulate the emotions of their supporters, making them believe he hates them and is the source of all of the racial divisiveness, and other problems, that exist in America today. By allowing AG Lynch to focus on race in the terrorist attack on black Christians at Emanuel AME, he deprived the GOP/TPers of an opportunity to use it to attempt to deny the role they’ve played in promoting and legitimizing racism since January 2009. PBO just “checkmated” them, without invoking race/racism.

  5. I am not saying he should have focus on race. What I am saying the President and all the sane leaders need to call this for what it is. DOMESTIC TERRORISM. You could be quite sure if a black panther during elections open a door for a old whit lady they will label that as terrorism. Oops I forgot they did

  6. Did you know that Nixon almost caused Manson to walk because of what he said prior to his trial. THIS POTUS knows exactly what he should or should not say.

  7. Dear BLB it sounds like you have a lot to say about the President ;first of all did it occur to you that maybe he was too filled up to keep having this conversation .he lost a good friend as well.Now to your rant the president can only do but so much;he needs a congress to work with.My question to you is did you bother to vote in 2010?what did you want him to say?It seems what ever he says it probably would not have pleased you anyway.

  8. All lives matter. I’m sick of having race be a part of every story on the news and comment by pundits. A white does this to a black. A black does that to an Asian. An Arab does this to a white. Enough already. Hate is our common enemy. Tools (such as guns) that allow hate to become a tragedy are our enemy. Making everything about race won’t help.

  9. What I find insane? That the Leader of the Free World has to walk on eggshells to avoid an Insurrection.

    Even if they are of the Craven Cliven Bundy types.

  10. It is so glaringly apparent that it is racially motivated that it would just add to the psychological problems we have in this country today to have deep discussions about it. Look at the shootings in Denver (Aurora) at the theater and in Connecticut at the 24 school children that were murdered and the real problem is the lax gun laws we have in this country. As long as the NRA is here, we will continue to have guns (I own a 38 Magnum revolver but have never fired it). The killer was just a racist bastard. Sorry!

  11. Invariably- the white dudes who pull this kind of shit- want to start ‘a race war’.

    But these folks who say this, are all too often the same folks who get even paler when they find out non-white folks are arming themselves…

    Which begs the question- are they truly for a race war? Or a race genocide?

  12. Our POTUS knows that the Gun Crazy Reich Wing AND the NRA will dump millions more into the coffers of legislators to fight REAL safety for us all. And as for Nikki Haley… screw that female dog!!! She has an A rating from the NRA and has said veiled racist remarks towards Obama and other people of color. Her tears were those of a crocodile and she has NO RIGHT to even speak to or about this tragedy that HER party brought about.

  13. The next “Moral Monday” meeting in SC should be at the capital at the base of the Confederate flag, where it will be dismantled and burned as the treasonous representative of sh/t it is and always was.

  14. From the DOJ

    Friends:

    This afternoon I participated in a national conference call with other U.S. Attorneys about yesterday’s horrific shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The call was led by Vanita Gupta, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and Bill Nettles, the U.S. Attorney in South Carolina.

    As you know, a suspect is in custody. The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a federal hate crime investigation into the shooting, in addition to the murder investigation being pursued by local authorities. The FBI and ATF are working closely with local law enforcement agencies in both investigations.

    There should be no doubt that this shooting was an act of domestic terrorism. Protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism of all types is the top priority of the U.S. Department of Justice. We and our federal law enforcement partners are committed to doing all we can to prevent, respond to, and prosecute such crimes.

    The Attorney General has stated, and I agree, that there is no place for acts like these in our country or in civilized society. She will be speaking later today with a number of civil rights leaders across the country to hear their concerns, share her views, and brief them on developments.

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