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Vol. 16, No.3, 2017
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black hater/murderer dylann roof as



Anthony Merino, renowned independent art critic, has published over 70 reviews. He is a ceramic artist and has lectured internationally on contemporary ceramics.


During the evening of Sunday, October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown led 21 men on a raid on the armoury in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. The raid failed. John Brown was captured and hanged on December 2, 1859. In response to the event, The Press and Tribune, Chicago Illinois warned:

This affair at Harper's Ferry is but the "cloud in the distance no bigger than a man's hand," but it is the presage of the future storm, that shall desolate the whole land, if the people give this abolition doctrine their approval. It necessarily tends to servile insurrection, civil war and disunion.

Predicting correctly, that Brown’s terrorist actions predicted a great national crisis, America could not abide both an abolitionist president and slave holding states.

One hundred and fifty-six years later, another terrorist tried to ignite a race war. Unfortunately, the contemporary press did not see it as reflective of a major political movement. John Brown’s actions came out of his zealous believe in the Abolitionist movement. Dylann Roof’s actions were equally reflective of the populist movement within the GOP.

On Sunday, June 17, 2015, Mr. Roof walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he shot and killed nine people. During the shooting, Roof declared, "You rape our women and you’re taking over our country." Most of the media attention was paid to two auxiliary issues.

The shooting ignited a debate over the Confederate flag with which Roof was famously posed on his social media feed. Most of the other coverage dealt with the fact that the South Carolina State House still displayed the Confederate flag at its capital building. A little more than a month later, on Friday, July 10, 2015 Governor Nikki Haley had the Confederate flag removed.

The media’s attention was also spent fending off the spin from the far right -- that Roof’s action was an attack on religion. Fox News featured a pastor E.W. Jackson who declared:

Most people jump to conclusions about race. I long for the day when we stop doing that in our country. But we don’t know why he went into a church, but he didn’t choose a bar, he didn’t choose a basketball court, he chose a church.

This argument was also endorsed by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who stated, “It’s 2015, there are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” While this argument was near hastily dismissed, it didn’t go unnoticed.

Senator Graham also pointed out that “this act is not a window into the soul of South Carolina.” This was generally accepted. There were a few opinion pieces that did address Dylann Roof not as a lone madman but as representative of a cause.

On June 19th, The LA Times ran an op-ed piece by Jason Morgan Ward, a history professor at Mississippi State University and author of Defending White Democracy and the Making of a Segregationist Movement and the Remaking of Racial Politics, 1936-1965. Mr. West provided a historical context for Roof’s actions stating:

For those who persist in this phobia, the mere sight of black people engaging in American civic life — whether peaceful protestors and voters, a South Carolina state senator or the president of the United States — can be too much to take. Indeed, for decades, the central lesson of white supremacy was that any black engagement in public life could and would ultimately destroy the nation.

Mr. White asserts two things. First, like Brown, Roof’s actions were unacceptable to the establishment of American politics. Second, Roof’s motivations reflected a common issue in American politics, and that the end goal is more to eliminate than suppress the black vote in America.

Most of the media conflated Roof’s racism with his mental illness. His manifesto is based on a racist supposition. That blacks are so innately inferior to white Americans that merely being in proximity to a black person degrades a white person. Roof states:

What about the White people that are left behind? What about the White children who, because of school zoning laws, are forced to go to a school that is 90 percent black? Do we really think that that White kid will be able to go one day without being picked on for being White, or called a “white boy”? And who is fighting for him? Who is fighting for these White people forced by economic circumstances to live among Nnegroes? No one, but someone has to.

This virile racism has long ago been rejected on a personal level. I assume most Republicans do not feel that being near a black person is degrading to their humanity. The accession of Trump to the presidency indicates that Roof was far more in tune with the zeitgeist of the American right and the Republican party.

Prior to running for office, Trump was primarily known for being the main champion of the birther movement. The birther conspiracy asserted that Obama was born in Kenya and therefore was an illegitimate president. Birtherism was just a nudge, nudge, wink, wink way to say; ‘aint no nigger gonna be my president.’ A vote for Trump either endorsed this sentiment or assumed it was not a disqualifying position to hold.

On the day he announced he was running for office, Trump famously launched his campaign citing Mexicans -- a different minority -- were “rapist and murderers.” Late in the campaign, Trump did concede that Obama was born in the United States. Shortly afterward he revisited the case of the Central Park Five, in which five minority men had been tried and convicted of the brutal rape and assault of a woman while still in prison. Their sentences were overruled when convicted murderer and rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime. A DNA match confirmed that Reyes did in fact rape the woman. On October 7th, CNN reported Trump’s statement on the event:

[T]hey admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.

This was a clear sign to the racists in the Republican party – despite his concession on the birtherism issue – that he still was going to view African Americans as less equal than whites. Trump made it clear that blacks in the criminal justice system would not be innocent until proven guilty.

Context validates West’s second point regarding the extent of hostility to black and minority voters. On October 9, 2014 the Reflective Democracy campaign did a survey of over 42,000 elected offices. White men make up about 31% of the population; they hold 65% of the elected offices in the country. Combined, white men and women held 90% of all elected seats. Non-whites comprise 37% of the population and only have 10% of the vote. Clearly, the only non-white voice that Roof, Trump and the GOP can tolerate is silence.

Since his election, Trump has already set the wheels in motion to achieve this end. He announced he would provide a racial quota to the FBI and border services to arrest or deport 2,000,000 Latinos. The problem facing law enforcement is while it is easy to cull people who look Hispanic from the population, it is hard to by sight determine those who are illegal and citizens.

Just as Nixon used the war on drugs as a way to disenfranchise the black vote, Trump can use an immigration crackdown to disenfranchise Latino voters. In Florida, the largest swing state in the country, a felony conviction results in a lifetime ineligibility to vote. On October 6, 2016 The New York Times reported that 21.3% of black men cannot vote in Florida.

The great historical irony is that the Republican Party was born with Abraham Lincoln in his embrace of John Brown’s mission. Today, no logical person can doubt that Trump has taken on Dylann Roof’s mission, just as no logical person can expect 37% of the population to passively accept the annihilation of their representational power. America, once again, is on the road to “servile insurrection, civil war, and disunion.”

By Anthony Merino:
African Art Against the State
Code Replaces Creativity
Updating Walter Benjamin
Ego and Art
Nick Cave & Funk(adelic)
Foucault for Dummies



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Thank you very much for the insight. Even Benjamin can be wrong sometimes.








































































































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