On June 17, 2015, the New York Times quote of the day outrageously suggested that Rachel Dolezal had found a way to “match the body with the soul.”
In reality, the souls of Black folk are in Black people, and it’s inside the body of the five-year-old African American girl that had to play dead in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday, so that a White supremacist would not shoot her to death along with the other three Black men and six Black women he killed in that historic sanctuary.
That the girl had the presence of mind to play dead among the bodies of likely family and friends, perhaps more than anything else speaks to the perils of being Black in America and the violence that Black people, especially Black women and girls face daily.
The alleged shooter intimated that among other things, his anti-Black violence was motivated by Blacks raping White women. The practice of concocting Black crime to justify White racist violence has a long, ugly history in this country; one that has permitted White men to rape and murder Black women and men with impunity practically since the first Africans reached these shores in 1619. It’s an old, deeply embedded tool of White supremacy that is as prevalent and pervasive today as it was in 1791, when a group of enslaved and free Blacks first founded Emanuel A.M.E.
The same, vile racial hatred that allowed Dylann Storm Roof to allegedly sit among the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and his parishioners for roughly an hour before cold-bloodedly and indiscriminately executing them, is the same animus that allows a White police officer in Fairfield, Ohio to fracture the jaw and ribs of a 12-year-old Black girl for allegedly being “verbally aggressive and belligerent” when asked to leave a pool area.
It’s the same hatred that allowed a White officer to fatally shoot Walter Scott, an unarmed Black man, in the back in North Charleston, South Carolina. It’s the same hatred that allows White police officers across the country to kill unarmed Black women, men, and children. And it’s the same sickening virulent racism that allows those White officers to go free rather standing trial.