The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Friday, January 6, 2017

On Race Part 2017: The Sickening Successes of Dylann Roof

Domestic Terrorism has a specific definition, outlined in the much-maligned Patriot Act, and the wording is meant to make clearer the difference between a lone act of malice and an act that is intended to provoke a response in the greater population. The word "domestic" is pretty much absurd, since, say, an American who takes lives in the U.S. but in the name of the Islamic State would NOT be branded Domestic Terrorism, when in fact it meets every bit of the definition:

  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
Since no one's asking, I'll go out on a limb and say straight up - terrorism is terrorism. You've got a political goal in mind when you do your damage, you're a terrorist. You intend your targets to suffer IN THE NAME of a "higher" goal, you're a terrorist. In fact, WHO the terrorist destroys is less important than what they and/or the act REPRESENTS. Follow? For some reason I find it very difficult to find media commentators who rely on this definition of terrorism when they broadly try to make sense of the modern world. Dylan Roof is a terrorist. Unlike other mass shootings, this guy wants to provoke a greater "race war." The act is not the end that justifies the means; it's the beginning that justifies the means. He is not insane in the classic sense. He is a warrior.

Roof shows no remorse. He claims soundness of mind. He's no different than the jihadists in Istanbul or France. He just has a different agenda. And that agenda - the intimidation and subjugation and even expulsion and destruction of black people - has a long and bloody history. Were he on the "right" side of history, he might even be a hero, brave and stoic, attacking the "enemy" with fierce abandon, knowing full well that his own life is in peril.  

The kind of racism that Roof practices is one of the reasons that gentile white folks don't like allowing themselves to be seen as racist. Surely there's a difference, we say, between the clueless daily indignities offered up by white bosses and colleagues and even friends - the unplanned and unINTENTIONAL racism - and the in-your-face run-for-cover kind? The Roof story - and now the inflammatory Facebook Torture story - are perfectly timed and matched to create the illusion of widespread racial unrest and violence. So just watch the nation pivot from rational conversation about state sponsored terrorism against black people (mass incarceration, police violence, profiling) right back to using the very most extreme actions to illustrate the bigger problem. You know the one - that black and white can't get along, that segregation is merely a common sense way to deal with a massive cultural divide.

The pictures that have dominated coverage are striking:

In both pictures, the subjects are looking at YOU. Which side are you on, they beg?

Good Lord, this could be a picture of an indie DJ collective for chrisakes
Dylann Roof succeeds in his mission in so many ways.

1) He convinces us that there is a difference in his kind of terror, not just terrorism worthy of the name.

2) He breathes fear and insecurity into the perceived safety of a House of Worship, where spiritual people have often tried to extend an open door policy of Love and Acceptance and Welcome. (L.A.W.)

3) He gives "average" racists cover, ensuring that yet another generation of run-of-the-mill white supremacists and separatists can claim a moral "out."
4) He feeds a narrative of distrust and fear that suggests law-abiding white AND black folks need an authoritarian state to combat "natural" forces.

5) He offers the media a dream-story, so outrageous and historically significant as to dwarf #BLM activism

The media, without coercion or necessarily malice, force us to confront the above images simultaneously, and to imagine that Picture A is pitted against Picture B. Thus, the WAR is on. Roof wins.

God help us all. If the Nation is gullible enough to fall for a thin-skinned bullshit salesman, it's certainly capable of being sold the Dylan Roof as martyr story. In a sense, there is no ending where the other begins.


Anonymous said...

Well, this is pointless rambling. I suppose you are trying to apply some sort of analysis, comparing and contrasting all this assholes, but it really is a bunch of gibberish. Stick to neighborhood topics please.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I think that history will remember the Roof shootings as the beginning of the turn towards Trump. In some ways it started a flurry of racial reporting and attention that this blogger hadn't seen in years.

I can't thank you enough for your kind words. I live only to please you!