We Must Respond to the Right-wing Attempt to Reframe the Charleston Massacre
By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
June 18, 2015
I never cease to be amazed by the speed and the ability of the political Right to distort the truth.
The attempt by the political Right to reconstruct the Charleston massacre as an attack on Christianity defies belief. Yet it is something that we cannot simply sit back and allow to play out. This is a moment when we must connect the Charleston massacre with the lynchings that are regularly taking place against people of color generally and African Americans in particular. The Charleston massacre, allegedly carried out by someone comfortable wearing the flags of apartheid South Africa and white supremacist Rhodesia, is a continuation in the line of assaults on Black America.
The fact of the matter is that there is no basis to believe that this white man walking into a Black church and murdering Black people had anything to do with any antipathy to Christianity, It has to do with an antipathy to Black people. It also has the markings of someone who probably wished to ignite a race war.
The political Right will do whatever it can to move the eyes of reasonable people away from analyzing race. When African Americans, Native Americans or Latinos are attacked by the police, the Right-wing moves quickly to question the motives, not of the police but of the victims. When acts of violence after acts of violence against African Americans are held up for the entire world to see, the political Right does its best to question each incident and try to demonstrate how any ambiguity in one case should somehow compromise the integrity of any suggestion of a demonstrable pattern.
The fact that the Charleston massacre took place in a church should, however, demonstrate one fact about religion. White supremacists are not restrained or constrained by the fact that the targets of their hatred may be people of faith. As far as the white supremacists are concerned, those murdered in Charleston are not worshiping the same Creator of All Things as are the white supremacists.
One thing that can be done immediately is to contact right-wing media outlets and politicians and convey, in no uncertain terms, that we do not appreciate their commentary on the Charleston massacre. The `analyses' offered by these right-wing pundits remind me of something that my father used to say: "It is better to keep one's mouth quiet and to be thought of as a fool than to open one's mouth and prove it." Oh, how I wish that Fox News would appreciate that point.
[Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO.
Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com ; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of "The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941"; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of "Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice"; and the author of "`They're Bankrupting Us' - And Twenty other myths about unions." Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.]
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Reposted from Portside.
Reposted from Portside.