Skip to main content

By Rev Jesse Jackson 

Today this systematic analysis is needed perhaps more than at any other time in our history. As the Rev Clyde Grubbs, of Tuckerman Creative Ministries for Justice and Healing, noted on Facebook: “The son tells everyone he knew that black people were taking over the country, and he wore racist decals on his clothing. He told everyone he knew that something must be done to save the white race. He was public in his attitudes, attitudes that were dangerous.

He was able to live at home and access the propaganda of racist hate groups (organised terrorists). His father gifted the gun to his son. The state doesn’t require registration of gun, nor notice of selling gun, or gifting gun. Son kills people with gun in an act of racist terrorism. But somehow the killer is a disturbed INDIVIDUAL. So? Are racism and psychopathology completely unrelated phenomena? Are racism and patriarchy and privatism and violence and destruction of God’s creation really all separate, discrete, separate realities that need to be taken up in isolation from each other?

Racism kills. In fact, the prevalence of racial epithets in Google searches has been linked to rates of black mortality by Daniel Chae, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Maryland, whose research has shown that “African Americans living in areas where many people are Google-searching for a racial epithet are 8% percent more likely than whites to die of any cause”. Racism, says Chae, is an environmental hazard.

“I view racism as being a social toxin that over time leads to premature mortality,” he told the Huffington Post. “Racism kills people. That’s not breaking news at all.”

Meanwhile, in South Carolina the Confederate battle flag flies high as highways throughout the state tout the names of Confederate soldiers who fought to the death to preserve racist institutions, while some excuse Roof’s actions as being the result of an alleged mental illness – or they try to fit it into some other neatly packaged narrative that defers from having to face the real issue at hand: racism.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, Minister