The late legendary comedian, social commentator/activist/humourist… Dick Gregory once said, “Racism is a form of societal insanity…” He should know. In his 85 years of life, especially during those heady days of racism when he took his life’s existence and experiences [with racism] to the stage, the social cancer was grist for his work on stage.
Although he knew that there was nothing at all funny about that institutionalized social practice and its detrimental effects on many, Dick Gregory injected humour into the subject, which many at different levels – political, judiciary, socially – refuse to address in any meaningful way.
Given the place and times we find ourselves these days we could use a little of Dick Gregory’s caustic humour as a diversion to temper what has become a barrage of recurring racist incidents in this part of the world. It would be a sort of anodyne for the minds, hearts and souls of the perpetrators and primary targets of racism.
To racist practitioners it doesn’t matter how victims are impacted, their objective is to do as much harm as possible – it doesn’t matter the severity – to certain segments of the population who they perceive as vulnerable.
So, depending on what time of day you woke up on Saturday, October 27, you were bombarded by another CNN Breaking News story about another of those recurring mass shooting in America. This one was in Pittsburgh, Pa.
One of those racists, a male one, walked into the Tree of Life synagogue where people had gathered to worship and proceeded to release some of his unbridled racism and hatred. He reportedly shouted, “[…] all Jews must die” before opening fire. Call it his prayer/mantra of hate. When his deathly work was done, he left 11 people dead.
As we later learned, the 46-year-old white male was steeped in racist doctrine, some of which he had apparently spewed on an extremist social media site.
“I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” he apparently posted on another site. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
So as I watched that Breaking News story, I immediately flashed back to that other racially-motivated shooting that happened at that African-American church on June 17, 2015.
That evening, 21-year-old old fresh-faced rising racist disciple, Dylan Storm Roof, entered the “historic” Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, shot and killed nine people and wounded others.
On the evening of the massacre, we saw security camera footage of him entering the church where the people had gathered for a prayer meeting.
[We being nice-at-heart people, Roof was invited to join the gathering in prayer… According to one of the survivors they handed him a sheet with religious verses. “It was a Bible study.” I was sitting there thinking if I should do it or not… I could have walked out… I don’t want to say it was spur of the moment.” He apparently “sat with his victims for about 15 minutes – according to some reports up to an hour – before the slaughter.]
Roof had become a convert to the “cause” to save the white race. He, too, had racially-inspired material on a website, “The Last Rhodesian,” explaining why he chose that particular church to slaughter those Black people.
We saw some of those images on television news in the wake of the shooting.
For example, a “Confederate flag, photos of himself burning an American flag, taking aim with a pistol, posing proudly at sites connected to the Confederacy…”
He also had ramblings of “black on white crime,” and a manifesto stating, “At this moment I realized that something was very wrong…How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin (the black Florida teen killed by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder) case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”
And I imagine racists have much in common, aside from their hatred of Black, Jewish, and yes Arab people. Hatred (indoctrinated or otherwise) is innate, in their DNA.
And the coup de grace, Roof wrote, “I have no choice… I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking… well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
Yes, “Somebody had to do it,” Roof said of the slayings.
“Black people are killing white people everyday… What I did is so minuscule compared to what they do to white people every day.”
“Our people are superior,” he told investigators once they started to extract reasons for his crime against humanity that evening.
And he also hinted about wanting “to start a race war.”
Why those two racist mass murderous? They are a manifestation of what’s out there, just a tip of the racist iceberg. Just be vigilant, be aware, they’re everywhere.
And the hatred is manifesting…
Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 when Heather Heyer was killed, and the political cult leader who’s ascension to political power along with much manipulation and truth-bending has emboldened and empowered racists everywhere.
Dick Gregory was on to something. Racism is a form of societal insanity… But the perpetrators are not sick, have no “mental illness” as some of them, and even medical practitioners contend. Racists are simply full of unbridled hate…