In the late evening of June 17th, 2015, a tragedy “visited” Charleston, South Carolina. Standing as a historic landmark of the vibrant city, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the oldest churches of the south playing an important role for slaves pre-emancipation. The night of the shooting, members of the church were engaged in a bible study, having a guest amongst them. Unknown to the group of church-goers, the young guest, Dylan Roof, had a handgun in his possession. As the study proceeded, Roof pulled out his gun and fatally shot nine of the thirteen people present. One of the victims pretended to be dead in order to survive. Roof spared one of the members, saying that someone had to tell what happened that night. He allegedly reloaded the gun multiple times. Eight of the victims died at the scene, amongst them the pastor of the church. This shooting has resonated so deeply within the black community, echoing off of every thought of safety and shaking them to their core. People believe that a house of worship is one of the most sacred locations, a place of safety and faith. This chilling event has broken apart the security of such a sanctuary for the community. Across the nation people have lead marches and silent vigils to commemorate the victims of this shooting.
One of the forefronts that helps shape the community’s perception of these occurrences is the media. People rely on the media to report on news that happens on a day to day basis, trusting to receive accurate and truthful reports. When it comes to acts like this, it is imperative to stick to these truths and to project the news with a correct lense. Unfortunately big media outlets have stuck to ambiguous language around the reasons for this shooting. Racism within the United States does not feed into the American image. Therefore light is not shed on the truths of such racially motivated acts. The cultural condition of America is to disregard any internal conflict as one in a blue-moon occurrence. People are immersed in the culture of believing these types of actions are singular and isolated. However, the frequency of racially influenced actions is becoming disturbingly high. One of the reason why is because the reports of these incidents are truly heard through only social media and laced with vagueness and doubt by the rest. By not addressing this imbalance, there is a failure to resolve it. We, as a community, as humans, should not allow this type of disregard for the loss of lives due to any type of profiling. Unfortunately this is not the first or last we will hear of attacks on Black Americans.
Everyday, “we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other in the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal — yet we pretend doesn’t exist” (Jon Stewart). The shooter was hoping for a civil war; he wanted to further the divergence between America. Therefore it should be our duty to stop and rectify this wound between our citizens by not allowing the expression of this cultural attitude, a disregard for the black community, within the Muslim community.
Black Muslim Americans are being subjected to the fear of the growing cultural conditions, because tragedy is not visiting. It is taking a long term residence within their homes, communities, and lives. We should not allow the black community to feel isolated in their troubles. Their struggles are our struggles and for their struggles to reach these proportions is an indication of something more serious. Thus it is imperative that we stand in solidarity with them, for they are our neighbors and Allah (SWT) loves those who love and stand with their neighbors. In order to eradicate the social injustice towards the black community, one must start by exposing its essence. We can start by stopping the use of racial jokes and slurs. These small forms of endearment allow the population to subconsciously dismiss events of this magnitude. Also the correct use of social media is a step in the right direction, making sure that the truth of these situations are known. It is one of the easiest forms of spreading knowledge among the population and allowing people to understand the reality of what is going on today. But using only social media comes with its constraints. Acquiring knowledge is not enough, action should be taken in order to solidify this knowledge as truths. We can invite our fellow Black Muslims into our homes, events, community activities, and so much more. Bringing the Black community isn’t enough, we must involve ourselves with in their community too. There are many groups that help expose individuals to the culture and history of black Americans. Joining these groups and supporting their activities, making sure they are safe and treated as equal will help them stand strong. Whenever a calamity occurs, we must be the first to join arms with them and help them through their tough times. Being a community means promoting the betterment of one another and we are capable of establishing equality if we help one another feel equal.