What Does White Supremacy Look Like in the Twenty-First Century?

So, white supremacy is a racist ideology centered upon the belief, and the promotion of the belief, that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial backgrounds, and that therefore, white people should politically, economically and socially rule over all non-white peoples. In academic usage, particularly in usage drawing on critical race theory, the term white supremacy can also refer to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy a structural advantage, or privilege, over other ethnic groups, both at a collective and an individual level, in that they will always be considered first for good jobs, government assistance programs, cultural events, and the like. Unfortunately, this ideology has been institutionalized in the United States, so that every aspect of American life is geared towards the exaltation of the white race over all others. It is embedded in American schools’ lesson plans, commercial product advertising, and major cultural programs, whose goal it is to press home the glory of the white race, but what does white supremacy look like in practice?

The Charleston Church Shooting, also known as the Charleston Church Massacre, was a mass shooting that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on the evening of June 17, 2015. During a prayer service, nine people were killed by Dylann Roof, including the senior pastor of the church and State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The morning after the attack, police arrested 21-year-old Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina, who later confessed that he had committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war. Roof had his own website where he professed what he called deeply held white supremacist beliefs. The United States Department of Justice investigated whether the shooting was a hate crime or an act of domestic terrorism, eventually indicting Roof on thirty-three federal hate crime charges. He has also been charged with nine counts of murder by the State of South Carolina. If convicted, he could face a sentence of death or thirty years to life in prison. In November of 2016, Roof was declared competent to stand trial for the crimes. On December 15, 2016, he was convicted in federal court of hate crime charges stemming from the shooting, and faces a potential death sentence. His trial in state court is scheduled to begin on January 17, 2017.

Look at this case very closely. A man walked into a church, scoped out the place, sat in service, and then opened fire on ten innocent Americans, killing nine of them, to include a South Carolina government official, in cold blood, indicating after the shooting that it was his express goal to ignite a race war by committing the heinous act. This was a white man, committing the crime against African Americans, who clearly had no prior social connections with anyone in the church. If one does their research on this event as deeply as is possible, they will find that the killer, Roof, is being given access to the full breadth of the American justice system. He was given the appropriate amount of time to determine his fitness for trial. He was given the appropriate amount of time to build his defense in federal court, and his trial in state court has not even begun yet.

His lawyers are being given full respect by the justice system in South Carolina. His federal appeal is already under way, and if he is convicted by the state court, he is likely to have the same respect extended to him. Here are a few more important details about this event that should be looked at. Roof killed nine people in one the most prominent and historical churches in the country in the middle of the downtown area of a major regional city, and he was able to escape to a location nearly two-hundred and fifty miles from the site of the crime, unharmed. When he was apprehended the next day, he was taken peacefully, and on his way to the jailhouse in Charleston County, the officers that apprehended him took him to Burger King and sat in the parking lot while he finished his meal.

Now, imagine if the racial roles were reversed and the setting of the scenario was slightly different. Imagine that a young African American man, living in a majorly white suburban town, walks into a church where he is entirely unknown to any of the parishioners. If he makes it to the room where a prayer meeting is being held, without be questioned, he is lucky. This is if he was not already questioned outside. Now, he sits quietly, makes no noise, and just keeps looking around with a ‘strange’ look. Put him in a hoodie, as well. Before he would ever be able to stand and hold a gun on ten white church goers, the cops would have already been called to stand by, just in case the young man caused trouble. Then he stands up and starts shooting. In a white church, he may very well be firing at people that are armed, so the chance of escape has already dropped dramatically when compared to Roof in Charleston.

Now, once the deed is done, he has to make it past the cops who were called on him just for being African American in a white church. If he manages to make it past the cops alive, his getaway will not be a simple one. He certainly will not be able to make it to a safe house two-hundred and fifty miles away from the scene of the crime with suburban streets and an entire police department in his way. When he is caught, the apprehension will not be a peaceful one, and he is likely to suffer a serious beating, if he is not executed on the spot. He certainly would not be taken to Burger King on his way to jail. Further, his case, especially if one of his victims turned out to be a state official, would not be given any federal attention. Rather, the state justice system would fight tooth and nail to keep the case in state. With very little federal oversight, they would be able to rush the case through their court system, rather than taking six plus months to just start the case. This young man would likely be on his state’s death row inside of three months, with the appeals process limited by a court system that would work to make as swift an example of him as possible.

This is a bit of an extended case, but it shows to a degree, the difference between being white and being black when taking on a case that has such harsh penalties attached to it. To clarify just a little, perhaps some smaller cases should be considered. Terrance Crutcher was shot after the Tulsa Police Department responded to calls of an abandon vehicle in the middle of the road. He was not questioned to see if he needed medical attention; in fact, he was never even questioned as to how he found himself halted in the middle of the road. Rather, he was immediately deemed a threat, perhaps a drug addict or something, and was shot dead. If Terrance Crutcher had been a white man, he would most likely have been helped to the curbside, while his truck was towed to a location of his choice, and an ambulance was called to take him to the hospital for observation. He most definitely would have been questioned, he would have not have been shot at, and there certainly would not have been five squad cars surrounding him while this all went down.

If Treyvon Martin had been white, George Zimmerman would never have even considered shooting him; in fact, he would have probably offered to help him home. If Sam DoBose had been a white man in Cincinnati, when Ray Tensing pulled him over for missing a license plate, he would have been involved in a standard traffic stop. The affair would have been peaceful and the worst that would have happened was that DoBose would have driven off with a hefty fine and a ticket. If Alfred Olango had been a white man having a seizure on the side of the road in El Cajon, California, the officers that responded to the emergency call would have gone into medic mode, assisted him in any way that they knew how, and called for an ambulance to get him to the hospital for swift medical care. Their weapons would never have been touched, let alone brandished and discharged into the man’s chest. To connect to this, what happens to the officers, or private individuals, who commit these murders? The officer in the case of Terrance Crutcher is receiving an unusually strong punishment. In the past, the worst that a white officer might get for their crime is the quiet termination of their employment.

The same goes for people of any other race. If the protesters at Standing Rock were white people protesting for a white cause of some sort, they would not have been hosed down like dogs in sub-zero weather. Consider the United States’ issue with undocumented immigration. There are just as many undocumented immigrants from Europe living in the United States, who would be considered white, as there are undocumented immigrants from the Americas, who are classified as non-white. Who is more likely to get shot at? Who is more likely to be apprehended at the job while their children are left to be orphans at their home? Who is more likely to be shot on the spot when they are seen immigrating to this country without proper documentation? Who is more likely to get arrested first; in any case, and in any of these instances, to include the previous cases, and who is most likely to get a longer or harsher sentence when they are prosecuted? How uneven is this reality?

So, what does this look like? Individually, it looks like white government officials getting away with murder in the name of the state. It also looks like white people getting preferential treatment when committing crimes that non-whites would be overly punished for. It looks like non-whites being denied their constitutionally sanctioned rights. It looks likes non-whites getting punished for speaking up against any injustices of any kind; and finally, it looks a government giving white immigrants preferential treatment over brown immigrants. Taken all together, and combined with the unrestrained violence that is committed by the white people, this looks like nothing short of a government sanctioned race war. Non-whites are constantly on the defensive from the moment they leave their homes until the moment they get home, and on many occasions, their homes cannot even be considered a safe place; whereas, whites are given free rein to get away with as much as they can in a system that is intentionally targeting non-whites for what seems like nothing less than a war of extermination.


What do you think? Do you like what is being said here? To check out more of Kent Allen Halliburton’s work, visit his politics and history blog. You will find yourself entranced at www.refusetocooperate3.blogspot.com.