Friday, June 19, 2015

Pick a Color

Teal. This guy's definitely teal.
This is what happens when the American penchant for collective blaming crosses paths with our need to see ourselves (and those like us) as Good People. If we presume that some of the laws defining a person's racial identity persisted into the 1990's, it's actually entirely possible that Dylann Roof isn't actually "White." According to the Virginia state Racial Integrity Act of 1924, anyone with a known ancestor who was not white was considered "Colored" under the law. Of course, that law is no longer on the books, but it seems that a lot of people are nostalgic for those times, or just didn't get the memo.

There is nothing special about being White that disqualifies one from being a multiple murderer or targeting people unlike oneself. By the same token, the fact that the modern United States is, overall, a reasonable enlightened place doesn't mean that it can't be home to certain people who are enamored of some of the more unsavory aspects of our national history.

But perhaps more importantly, there is nothing about what Dylann Roof has done that all White people need feel responsible for. I get the idea that White Supremacy is still alive and well in the United States, and that part of the reason for that is that White people who benefit from the status quo aren't working all that hard to change it. But there is also a fairly large population of people who spend some time being homeless in the United States. And part of the reason for this is that I spend my time doing any number of things other than working all that hard to change it. People tend to place their time and energy into the things that THEY consider problems. Other people's problems don't always make the grade - that's the way life goes. Playing the blame game doesn't bring anyone back from the dead.

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