White Terrorism Is as Old as America

Some of the country’s earliest antiterrorism legislation was passed to stop the Ku Klux Klan. So why do we assume that terrorists must come from somewhere else?

Comments: 58

  1. Dylan Roof is a murderer. He killed nine people for no reason other than their race. While he didn't murder millions the way Hitler did, or do what the Turks did to the Armenians, he still killed because he believed that African Americans were raping white women and taking over the country. While his white supremacist friends may see what he did as heroic we should not. There is no reason to walk into any house of worship, take out a gun and murder people for their skin color, their religion, or their imagined sins. There is no real excuse for murder unless your life is in actual physical danger but then it's self defense. If we look at who has to be afraid for their lives in America, it's African Americans, not white Americans.

    Slavery was supposed to end when the Civil War ended. It didn't because of Jim Crow and law enforcement along with the Justice Department allowing it to continue. Lynching was seen as a sport, not the degradation or dehumanization of a person. Segregation was fine because it kept those nasty black people away from our women and children. One wonders why and how Southerners ever trusted their house slaves or their black nannies near their children. If this were any other country we would be screaming genocide about these incidents over the long term. That we don't shows how insensitive we are to the black lives around us.

  2. Terrorism by Whites is even older than the KKK. Read some of the stories of religious terrorism in Massachusetts Bay Colony against Quakers, against Baptists in Virginia and against Catholics all over the colonies. Terrorism against people of color is only one kind of terrorism by WASPS. Try religion in the colonies. ("Founding Faith by Steven Waldman).

  3. Thank you so much for this long overdue article. The silence of the white majority has allowed institutionalized racism in this country to grow and fester. My aunt shared a story with me about growing up in rural Alabama. My relatives would go to Birmingham to sell the cotton crop. My father, then a four-year-old boy, took a Coke off a Coke truck and waited to pay the man. The white man came out, ignored the money offered and proceeded to beat my father for having touched the Coke bottle (permanently damaging my father's eyesight). When my dad got back to the farm and his parents were told what happened, they beat him again, to teach him the unwritten rules of conduct. As a young black boy in 1942 in Alabama he had to be taught, never make eye contact, never touch, never have anything to do with white people unless it is the most deferential of behaviors. I am sure there are millions of white people who miss this special treatment (fly that flag). Indeed, many of them seem to have found a safe space in our legislative and judicial branches.

  4. Thank you for sharing this story. We all have stories to tell. I sometimes wonder if collectively we have what could be labeled as post traumatic stress. Some traumas run too deep for the telling.

  5. Thank you for articulating what so many of us are thinking. This is powerful.

  6. Thanks for shining a light on our collective delusions.

  7. I decry the use of the word "thug" to describe anyone other than an 18th century highway robber in India. The appropriation of the term is apparently in complete ignorance of whom the term actually refers to.

  8. I agree with this article.
    I also have been looking for the correct place to say this and cannot find it. This terrorist reloaded 5 times according to a witness. Please, everyone, when anything like this is happening, look for your opportunity and then go stop the gunman. Attack back and take him out. You can do it without a gun...You do not need to comply with what a terrorist is saying or doing.
    No one has permission to kill you. Ever. When something like this starts happening, flee if you can, but if you cannot, figure out how to overpower someone like this when they reload, when they do something distractedly. Plan it, look for something to hit them with, and do it with ferocity. NO ONE HAS PERMISSION TO KILL YOU.

  9. excellent article.

  10. Hmmm. The United States was only one nation that participated in the slave trade in the 1700's and 1800's. Many European powers did as well. How is it that the racial divide continues to dog the US while seemingly not at all or much less so in Europe? Ideas, anyone?

  11. Don't forget about the horrendous treatment of Africans in Central America, specifically Brasil.

  12. 1. We have the largest problem with not being able to return to the "mother country", i.e. the English committed many crimes overseas, then went home and they still have problems there, but not the large populations of formerly oppressed we have here. 2. The stigma of racially identified characteristics goes back to 1640 when three runaway servants were recaptured, but only the black one "by custom" became a slave for life. 3. The white population in the U.S. is obsessed with the mythical power of one rebellious slave to destroy the entire civilization, overnight. 4. The French, Dutch etc. have their own problems with Muslim populations. 5. The U.S. has a puritanical heritage of denying interracial sex, and the children thereof, so that the "one drop" rule came into being, and white slave fathers were socially encouraged to deny their slave children and sell them. Etc.

  13. France and the U.K. have plenty of problems with racism. We are not the only ones.

  14. A question I have is why is it that it's the young white males who are going on killing rampages in churches, in elementary schools, in high schools, at colleges, in movie theaters. They all seem to be blinded by hatred and anger-- and it seems to be more common now than it was years ago.

  15. These horror stories are in fact not more common now than two to three generations ago. Instantaneous news cycles and more national focus on local events only make it seem that way.

    Young males, probably for both biological and environmental reasons, commit a disproportionate share of violence, including lethal violence. While it may be true that white males dominate in the "rampage" category, a vastly disproportionate number of the roughly 22K homicides committed annually in the U.S. are by black male youths and young adults against mostly black male youths and young adults.

    The instances you cite can't be lumped. The CT case was likely mostly due to extreme mental illness. The recent CA college case is harder to categorize. The Columbine school killings were by alienated teens, possibly bullied (a common denominator in many young male spree killings, according to some), one said to be sociopathic, the other, depressed, with both seeking fame. "Blinded by hatred and anger" may seem to be a singular phenomenon, but may in fact be a constellation of emotions and behaviors that results in similar outcomes, in parallel fashion to how the hundreds of diseases with similar attributes that we lump as "cancer" all frequently end in death. As with cancer, there will not be one intervention that fits all the maladies.

  16. You are wrong. Right after the school shooting in Connecticut, someone went through 30+ years of criminal records and found that while the total number of murders did not rise as % of population, the number of MASS SHOOTINGS have. That is, a larger percentage of murders are now carried out in mass killings.

  17. Klebold and Harris were not bullied; they were not loners. That's one of the most lasting and untrue myths about Columbine.

  18. (1) Terrorism has a more or less standard definition: the use of or threat of use of violence against civilians to try to further an agenda, be it political or religious or ideological or economic or whatever. Hence, the pirates off the coast of Africa who hold for ransom civilians are terrorists (economic), but the mass-murderers of schoolchildren, usually, are not.

    (2) The repeated noting by NYT reporters and others on the left that GOP and right-leaning personas are trying to spin this as "loner," "church hatred," etc., is reasonable, though they're overdoing it a bit. That is, a GOP candidate received donations from a white supremacist is disgusting, but does not make the candidate a direct or indirect accessory to the mass-murder.

    (3) The Times and its ideological brethren only oh-so-selectively pursue this angle -- demanding that the "ism" behind the terror be IDd -- in a case like this. When Israel goes to war against HAMAS, a terrorist entity if there every was one, the left won't call it for what it is, Islamist terrorism; only this week, Iran's parliament chanted, "Death to America," in context, terrorist language; and when cops foiled terrorists with lethal force on their way to kill and maim at Geller's Mumhammad art contest recently, the Times et al. vacillated on whether Geller's strong anti-Islamist stance served as a provocation.

  19. Then why did 2 of the 3 candidates not return the monies donated?

    The act of the shootings themselves was only the end of a long chain of events in Roof's life. He collected weaponry, posted political content online and planned out his attack. IMHO, this describes premeditation and a political agenda.

    Any attempts to ignore what was hidden from sight until the shootings is irresponsible on the part of law enforcement and of those who think just because Roof acted alone did not make him a good 'ol home-made terrorist.

    Every one of the mass shootings over the past few years were along this stripe as Roof and the reactions of some people STILL follow the same faulty reasoning.

  20. Brit Bennett's piece should be front page reading on newspapers across America. She captures the essence of our sickened identity. What white people don't understand about racism is that it is a two-way destroyer. For blacks subjected to white racism, the effects are myriad and we see them discussed to lessor and greater degree, if mostly to unsatisfactory conclusion. For whites, the inability to understand the insidious nature of being privileged and its mind poisoning disease leaves much of white culture less than fully human. We become things, tools, functions of a racial ideology that numbs and constricts what it is possible to experience. We are ghosts indeed, even before our deaths, or the deaths we cause others. The history is there for anyone to explore. We are a country that needs to do its homework, and it is something every white American needs to own.

  21. I'm sure you didn't mean ALL whites in your diatribe. Just as Blacks don't want to be brushed with "they're all alike" whites do not as well. There are lot of us who do not fit the brush below. I believe what happened in Charleston was terrorism, plain and simple, and I, too, am wondering why it isn't called this. WHY NOT?

  22. Just as we cannot step out of our white skins, we cannot step out of collective responsibility for the conditions that people who look like us have created. Throughout our history, we white people have been the ones in charge -- although it looks as if that may be changing relatively soon. And every single white person, including you and me, has benefited from that state of affairs. As Aztec said, we must own it.

  23. The US Civil War was four years of domestic terrorism, initiated by Deep South secessionist plantation class slave-owners for the preservation and expansion of American slavery.

  24. There is a simple reason why we should avoid referring to this horrible act as an example of white terrorism.
    It is true that white people enslaved and terrorized black people. But it is also true that many white people died trying to help black people. One of those white people was named Abraham Lincoln, the greatest President our country has ever had.
    Put down your sword Ms. Bennett, you're fighting the wrong war.

  25. I fail to see your logic. The guilt of one man as a terrorist does not make every other American a terrorist. This time: a duck is a duck.

  26. Why does the media constantly try to force a kind of combative narrative (vs the media) where it is an either or? Why can't he be a loner AND a terrorist? It's not like there is some kind of political calculation in calling him a loner.
    I'm seeing the kind of progress and hope of Obama being overshadowed by an oversimplified reading of history, meant to agite both sides. So at being fed a narrative of America as white terrorist state... Discuss, why don't you? That will certainly get the comments going.

  27. The problem of always identifying murderers like Roof as loners is that we don't have to look at the connections he and others like him have with an entire subset of American racist haters. Similarly, when we look at school shooters as isolated instances we fail to see the connections. It's an easy way to avoid facing unpleasant realities when everyone who does this is a "loner." And in the US, it all too often means that we avoid seeing how we encourage sick people to arm themselves and use their weapons to terrorize others.

  28. "If white violence is unspoken and unacknowledged, if white terrorists are either saints or demons, we don’t have to grapple with the much more complicated reality of racial violence. "

    An excellent point. By failing to tie people like Dylann Roof to racist attitudes amongst whites in America, we whites separate him from our own worlds. Following that thinking, he does not reflect or spring from whites' collective attitudes about blacks.

    Yet whites in America have long viewed instances of black unrest and/or violence as automatically symptomatic of a larger, dangerous trend: a black rebellion during slavery, "the blacks" moving into white neighorboods (a fear that created block-busting and white flight to the suburbs), zero-tolerance mandatory punishment regimes like three-strikes-and-you're-out created by the perception that there was a rising tide of black violence.

    Whites in America have long lived in fear of the black mob or the unreasoning, violent black individual committing crime in response to general racial injustice. Yet whites in America are typically reluctant to discuss how they belong to a racist society and as individuals still contribute to that racism.

  29. The Confederate flag does not fly above the state house and has not since the year 2000 when the black caucus negotiated it down. To ignore that fact would ignore the hard work those people put in to get the flag off the dome, get Martin Luther King day recognized as a state holiday, and to have a civil rights monument on the state house grounds.

    if Fort Hood is work place violence, then this is not terrorism.

    This abomination will be sentenced to Death by lethal injection, the Governor of South Carolina has openly supported the death penalty for him. I assume that is another "Privilege of whiteness".

    "Either way, he is never indicative of anything larger about whiteness." this sentence is extremely offensive.

    "if white terrorists are either saints or demons, we don’t have to grapple with the much more complicated reality of racial violence. "

    Who are these Saints?

  30. Point 1: Black activists and legislators in South Carolina would have had nothing to negotiate had white South Carolinians not insisted on flying the Confederate flag -- a practice that was belatedly acknowledged today as wrong -- somewhere on the statehouse grounds. Your distinction here makes little difference.

    Point 2: I'm white and I don't find anything Ms. Bennett has written to be offensive. Methinks you protest too much.

  31. Bravo. This piece is absolutely incredible.

  32. There is something confusing in all of this: was killing Roof's motive or was protecting white women from rape and balancing political power the aim? His acts seem authorized by the whole "stand your ground" and the NRA's position that if everybody had a gun, nobody would shoot first. Roof's method was clearly criminal, but Second Amendment-ers argue that the problem is not too many guns, but too few. If the country can forgive a few murders for the sake of Second Amendment protections, then that's the way it goes, isn't it?

  33. I doubt most people really want to have a terrorism conversation on this one. Similar to 9/11, the Hebdo killings, IRA, Basque Separatist movement, or Palestinian terrorism, it might mean grappling with and trying to understand what the terrorist is actually motivated by and what he wants.

    And once we start unpacking Dylann Roof's motives, we might find that he has a point or two. He says that blacks do in fact rape a lot of white women, and that they do in fact commit a disproportionate amount of crime against whites. Well, is this the case, or isn't it? And in the case of SA and Rhodesia - did they turn into murder pits post white rule, or didn't they? Acknowledging these things disrupts the "magical negro" myth though - the myth that posits all black people as ever innocent, childlike pacifists. And I don't think we're ready to give that myth up. Keeping it is what helps absolve us of the sin of slavery and Jim Crow, because it transforms black people into the perfect sacrificial victim. It removes all agency on their part.

    Like most terrorists, I suspect Roof was pretty familiar with his enemy. He apparently came from a very black community, most of his Facebook friends were black, and his target was Denmark Vessey's church and a local politician who was practically a mini-Al Sharpton. I agree, he definitely strikes me as a terrorist - not a lunatic. But are we ready to objectively evaluate his argument, and consider its merits? I highly doubt it.

  34. Aren't you exaggerating here, Brit? What examples of "white terrorism" can you prove were happening in 1789? It's bad enough that there has been plenty since slaves were introduced to the US. Overstating your point weakens it.

    Moreover, what about our history since the mid 1980's of the media not mentioning the race of any perps in news articles...or rarely mentioning the race of criminals. Look at how many illegal immigrants kill, rape, and do other unspeakable things...yet the media says "man" or "men" or "stepfather." No mention it was an illegal immigrant from a backward culture....from a country and culture that does not punish these people. So, don't blame the whole nation. Blame the media and those Americans who feel we should grant asylum to every person from a horrific country.

  35. I am white and increasingly more ashamed of my race. Who wants to acknowledge one's own skin color as a symbol and relative of the evil boasted by the Charleston murderer? Easier to deny, deny, deny than face the burden of associated guilt.

    White racism and terrorism are older than this country. They came to our shores in waves of immigration, along with their slaves and the weeds that choke out natives and the diseases that wiped out indigenous tribes. The weeds are innocent. Fox News talking heads and their owners are not. They are the foul traitorous mouth of white supremacy. The GOP is its powerful standard-bearer, and the NRA provides the hardware. Corporations that pay starvation wages foment the rage of need and deprivation. Monsters like Monsanto poison their customers and the land. Look at the faces of these evil actors and recognize the race that is doing the most damage to our country and our planet.

    I look forward to Ms Bennett's novel.

  36. Well done. US History is, among other things, a story of White men fighting hard to take and keep more than their fair share of land, money and power. Over the centuries, when maintaining White privilege (in the face of calls for justice and fairness) required fighting dirty, then treaties and heads got broken.

    What this young White man did shocks many White people because it is 2015 and because most White people do not spend time reading about the long history of lynching. But he is just the latest example of a White person who:
    1. Doesn't know much about History
    2. Feels entitled to a privileged social position
    3. Blames "them" for seemingly threatening it

    Let's hope History teachers (of which I am one) start doing a better job teaching about racism and White privilege and their central place in US History.

  37. Absolutely incredible! We find ourselves at a defining moment in our country's history. What will we do? Will we acknowledge the "Elephant in the Room"---history of racism against black people in America and its current day manifestations---- or, will we keep our rose-colored blinders on and pretend racism ended with the election of President Obama? Sorry. We don't get to get off that easily. Yes. Truth is difficult to face, but we are the generation that must overcome this fear. For those of us brave enough to begin, the words of this author are a great starting place. Let's get to work, beginning in our own communities with a discussion of this vital article.

  38. Brit Bennett joins the roll of dishonor.

    Whenever there is a terrible event, people come out of the woodwork seeking to exploit it for personal notoriety and/or political advantage. Truly a tragedy is a terrible thing to waste.

    My specific charge is that Bennett throws around completely unsubstantiated charges about how media outlets are somehow manipulating the facts about Roof. Bennett charges them with being reluctant to classify the Charleston shooting as terrorism. She also concocts a bizarre story about how the New York Times (!) has been part of a conspiracy to withhold from readers the races of KKK members and lynch mobs who murdered blacks because they were black; as if every third grader in the US didn't know the truth.

    Bennett simply has not done any homework or considered any other explanations. She has jumped into print with her unsupported and racist accusations. She is simply intent on inflaming racial resentments.

    I googled the Brooklyn police killings. No mention of terrorism in the first report I found in the NY Post. Ismaaiyl Brinsley is referred to as a "lone gunman," "fugitive," "assailant," and "murderer."

    Next I looked up Jeffrey Williams who shot two cops in Ferguson. No mention of terrorist in the Daily News. In fact, he seems to be referred to simply as a "20-year old man."

    The media was not part of a conspiracy and Roof's White Supremacist ties and beliefs have been analyzed in minute detail.

  39. Search the NY Times archives and you will find all-black lynch mobs and lynch mobs consisting of racially mixed mobs of blacks and whites.

    Dylan Roof is a monster and his massacre is a disgusting blot on our nation, yet it must be noted that Blacks attack whites far more than whites attack blacks. There is no shortage of white-hating black bigots, and rap music and movies that incite hatred toward whites. This must be dealt with.

    If the issue of racial violence in America becomes a tool of group libel and reducing whites to a congenitally morally crippled people, peace and understanding will not be advanced. Anti-white bigotry is just as evil as the anti-black variety.

    Black people have done far better in America than in Africa. Read Black journalist Keith Richburg’s important book, "Out of America."

  40. Columns such as this make me wonder if the writer has any knowledge of the history of racism, of slavery, a history that goes back more than 2000 years and comprises slave owners and racists of every color, on every continent. Regardless, the writer did not write the truly important story of the murders in Charleston.

    The most important story to come out of the actions of the deranged murderer of 9 innocent people in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston is simply this:

    The people of the church behaved as Christians do. These are special people whose amazing grace led them to offer love when hate was offered them. They prayed for their dead brothers and sisters of the church and then prayed for the man who murdered them.

    The people of Charleston, black and white and brown and tan and ivory, came together to offer prayers and to share sorrow, and brought food and other offerings to families and the congregation of Mother Emanuel.

    That is the story of Charleston after this awful murder of nine people who came together to study the Bible. There were no riots, no looting, no burned cars, no burned businesses. That's the biggest story.

    Who will write this story? Who will wonder why the people of Charleston cried and prayed along with the families of Mother Emanuel, and mourned their dead and showed it with acts of respect and love?

  41. Ridiculous!!! Marx was right. When all else fails turn to religion and dope yourself up about being "special". This murderer committed a pre-meditated act for which he will eventually pay a price. Karma is law and irrevocable. This writer must be a white fool. Maybe riots are what's needed right now. Maybe white folks need to be out rioting in the streets, denouncing the white racists acting on behalf of the "silent majority", apologizing to black Americans for continuing to bury their heads in the sand and blaming a flag or a word --nigger--as instigators for whites killing black people.

  42. Yes terrorism by whites against blacks is as old as the hills.

    Not to denigrate the severity of terrorism against black Americans, but the true illiterate, red neck, white thug likes to harass and yes even terrorize educated, intelligent people of all races and religions. That harassment and terrorism is also as old as the hills.

    And the white harassers and terrorists are not just living in the former Confederate states.

    Been through it, not pretty at all.

  43. Blacks murdered by avowed white bigots, per year: About 10. Blacks murdered by other blacks, per year: Over 5,000.

  44. And 83% of whites were killed by other Caucasians (2011 stats). What's your point?

  45. I care to disagree. A 'brown' terrorist is anything that frames him, but his brownness has never been a reason for his acts. Religion, political stance, or - in the case of for example the Beltway sniper - mental issues. I strongly dislike how a color of skin, not even a race, is compared to religion or ideologies like extreme right or extreme left.

    A racist ideology is what it is: an ideology. It's not a race, nor a color of skin, as proven by the way blacks are treated in the Middle East and racist attacks on whites in Africa. So yes, that terrorist act of Roof was inspired by racism and white supremacy. Not by 'whiteness' because that's something you can't choose for. Unless you're called Michael Jackson, and even then...

  46. Had a black youth walked into a church, gained the trust of its members , then murdered 9 white citizens we would be in the midst of a very different reaction and conversation. I am certain that there would be retallition in many parts of the country and I can envision the return of lynchings etc. The black perpetrator would be seen as a "black savage" further cementing the widely held views that blacks are less than human. There would be no serious look at his motives or influences. His blackness would be sufficient indictment.

    America is sick to the core with a racist cancer. No cure is possible until the sickness is properly diagnoised.

    "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"

  47. Thank you for this essay. Shine a light.

  48. Excellent piece, but I think it doesn't go far enough.

    I'll quote myself from a comment yesterday, "Using the term terrorist to describe Mr. Roof in a NYT opinion article is a good step. It should be noted that comedians/satirists and those outside the US mainstream media have been doing this for years.

    "The Germans confronted their terrorist past, owned it. Being a neo-Nazi is illegal there (also here in Austria). Unfortunately, we Americans have never as a country owned up to our genocide of the American Indians or as a country accepted the words in our constitution that we are all created equal, regardless of the color of our skin (or gender or sexual orientation). Until we own up to our own terrorist past, confront it and reject it, the terror will continue. It will continue to be acceptable for a major political party to skirt the issue with obfuscation, "lone wolf" and "crazy man" excuses, and the cherished deferments to "states raghts (sic)"."

    I don't hold out much hope that this latest terrorist act will prompt us to confront our terrorist past and present. As a student of history, I watch with great alarm the parallels and similarities between the pre-civil war US political and economic situation and the current US political and economic situation. About twenty more years of our current trends will bring us to another breaking point.

  49. Terrorism is an organized, systematic attacks conducted by a organization designed to elicit terror in a population, hardly the definition of a sick individual's act of mayhem. I wish the left would cease redefining words to suit their arguments.

  50. Nidal Hasan was acting on his own too but that does not stop you from calling him a terrorist.

  51. Go to any white supremacy website and your definition will be fulfilled.

  52. Sounds like this compelling article went right over your head...
    When is the last time you were stopped because you were driving a nice car, or walking in a nice neighborhood? Or redlined out of a house?
    The list goes on and on but may be your will get the idea.

  53. In this case the act is an anomaly. He had black friends who say he wasn't a racist but he also had clearly racist views. He is complicated. He seems to hate the actions of the race while accepting many of the individuals. Perhaps blacks can learn as much as white's can from this terrible act. Rather than parse words, maybe it is time to analyze the real problems in the black community that make both blacks and whites upset. I am a black man and I'm sick of seeing black men portrayed as rapists and uneducated savages. However I see why they are portrayed that way. I want black people to act more resposible and stop being victims and whiners. We need substantive change that causes us to be accepted as more than just athletes and rap stars. Perhaps we got pushed into this situation by whites, but let's show that blacks can redefine themselves without help from welfare and white guilt/sympathy. We can learn from terrible events and not just complain about our condition. And we must, because whites do not care about us. Just as blacks do not care about whites. That is just human nature, for whites and blacks and everyone inbetween.

  54. Why does the New York Times approve and print comments from those who push the tired, old trope of black-on-black violence as a greater threat to black lives than racism, even as it does not publish comments that call out how racist such comments are? As if white-on-white violence isn't the cause of the deaths of more white people than were ever killed by black people?

  55. This is amazing. Truly. The root cause of the continuation of racism in America completely and utterly missing from any conversation. Arguments about leftist agendas, flags that cant shoot people, how did he get a gun. Who cares? The real issue is how to stop kids even letting these things take root in their heads. Race relations in America (and a tiny bit in Canada) will never change if the media that everyone is exposed to keeps portraying black and white as completely separate groups of Americans except in certain specific situations. I dont blame the writers and producers of shows for what inevitably turns into an all white show with an asian and indian or the occasional peripheral black tossed in. This is a reflection of the media they grew up on.
    All the advertising? Massively white. You think that blacks dont want to go on vacations? Maybe wear that nice leather jacket? Drive that BMW? Why is it necessary to think that you wont be able to sell a diamond ring to white people getting engaged just because there is an attractive black model? Your thought process is off.
    If things are going to change, the message needs to change. And change to all people at once. Show ethnic kids that to get ahead you dont need to be white. And show white americans that having black friends is not special or socially advanced. It just is. That people like Neil deGrasse Tyson are not an anomaly. Shut down this self perpetuating machine. Change the message and change their minds.

  56. Ms. Bennett’s article did a fine job of advertising the release of her debut novel, but otherwise it has no merit.

    Her article, and the content of some of the replies posted here, would have us believe that the United States is a sick place and that white terrorism is fundamental to our social fabric. But I do not see it that way. This country is as healthy as they come, thank you very much. To follow the logic of Ms. Bennett’s polarizing diatribe would be analogous to burning down a beautiful garden just because there are weeds growing in among the favored plants.

    I believe we will deal with the armed lunatics who kill people in movie theaters, on school grounds, and in churches. And we will not let their insanity cripple the rest of our society. Nor will we accept the absurd idea that we are a country of white terrorists.

    To do otherwise would be an insult to the memory of Abraham Lincoln, and the thousands of other white people of his generation, who lost their lives in an effort to help black people and to end slavery in this country.

  57. We assume that we are over racism that we have accomplished that issue but guess what we are not even starting. Parents , friends and the social media play a huge rule in our kids influences so watch what we say or talk while they are present or with whom they are getting along with and also what are they watching or listening. We need to be aware and is our job to be able to protect them and protect all of from killing and ending with their own lives.

  58. I agree with a lot of this, and I am enraged that so many whites, especially politicians, refuse to openly acknowledge the continued existence of racism or to attribute racial motives to heinous acts such as those carried out by Roof. One quibble--the mention of the term "white" with regard to Roof's deplorable actions has been of note, especially in the NYT, where many many articles and headlines refer to a "White gunman." His race is openly acknowledged.