Is Dylann Roof a scapegoat, a "self-radicalized lone wolf" or is he a disciple? If not why do his words seem so familiar? and if not, why do we ignore the instigators?
We're not the same country as we were 75 years ago. Not by a long shot, even though the meme is being spread by certain folks that nothing has changed, that we need to have a one sided "discussion," that the Civil Rights movement was a failure and worst of all that "white people" are telling themselves that there is no more racism. What better way to oppose positive change, to alienate needed allies - to engage in hate speech-lite! A pretty damn good way to increase the animosity and bellicosity as well of course, and of course it's just not true. But remember, organizations of all sorts, good and bad have less interest in solving the problems they are all about than we do, No sir or madam, I do not believe racism has ended, but I do believe that government sanction and support of racist policies is far less and that justice and opportunity has improved. Agreement is hardly universal. Activists and the media need to earn a living after all.
Still, those of us who leave the process of getting involved and informed to the news media are hardly aware of the hate groups out there, from Jew Watch to the Klan to the Aryan Nation to the Westboro Baptist Church to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are countless groups and media blowhards trying to make us afraid of and hate almost everyone, and they're not all composed of tattooed sociopaths with Swastikas and Confederate battle flags. Just listen to Donald Trump accuse Mexicans of being diseased criminals smuggling drugs, Some are preachers and priests, others are members of respected political parties. Organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center have lists and descriptions of many of them.
The SCLC of course has it's vehement detractors and attractors as much hate as anyone, Most of its opposition are "conservative" Republicans, usually so quiet when tragedies like the Charleston Massacre occur and usually so able to inject their pet obsessions into any discussion and so end it: obsessions like claiming that people need to bring guns to church and that hate speech should have no limits in the name of freedom.
Look, we're never going to reform mankind. We're never going to be a utopia and we're never going to make everyone happy, but one of the obstacles to making the American promise reality is ourselves; our hysteria, our insistence on protecting often misinformed opinion, on dehumanizing disagreement and upon not voting for less than perfect candidates. We have to unite against hate speech and the people who do it. Shout them down not shout at each other. We need to recognize who our enemies aren't, we need to examine our most angry and passionate thoughts and we need to recognize that: be we Mexican, Jewish, African American, Apache, Lakota, Atheist, Muslim -- be we gay or Greek or German or anything else, we're all in it together as Americans. Most of us, nearly all of us are not bigots, not haters and not shooters of the innocent. Those people are in retreat and we need to admit it. Most of us aren't even Republicans, yet we let them get away with murder while we throw fits in the street. United We Stand. Seems simple, almost banal but it's on such things the future depends.