I’m Tired of “Thoughts and Prayers” From Those Who Foment Racist Violence

Final weekend tragedy struck Jacksonville, Florida, after a gunman shot and killed three Black individuals — Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., Jerrald Gallion and Angela Michelle Carr — at a Greenback Basic retailer. The 21-year-old gunman’s attack was motivated by racism: He left behind racist screeds and carried out the assault with a swastika-emblazoned assault-style rifle, in accordance with officers.

The gunman, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, first tried to focus on the traditionally Black school Edward Waters University. A scholar observed Palmeter placing on a bulletproof vest and alerted a campus officer. Campus police pursued the gunman, who fled the campus. This encounter didn’t deter Palmeter, who then focused Black locals on the close by retailer. The shooter’s father confirmed the motivations of his son by sharing Palmeter’s racist writings.

Throughout a prayer vigil Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis condemned the mass taking pictures as “unacceptable” and promised increased security budgets for Edward Waters College however was booed and heckled by locals who weren’t fooled by his false sympathy. One attendee reportedly shouted, “Your insurance policies induced this.”

I couldn’t agree extra that DeSantis’s insurance policies allow such violence. Just a few months in the past, DeSantis rolled out a brand new law permitting individuals to purchase weapons with no allow earlier this 12 months. He additionally continues to assault Black historical past all through the state to win over right-wing voters.

I’m likewise not concerned with DeSantis’s false condolences. The nation is witnessing a resurgent far proper extremist motion, and Republican politicians like DeSantis have fanned the flames. The taking pictures victims had been individuals full of affection who deserve a governor who doesn’t trivialize their lives together with his politics. As a Black lady and Florida native, I’m bored with the ideas and prayers of politicians who hypocritically contribute to a tradition of hostility and violence.

In these moments of tragedy, we have to look to the actions of the Jacksonville prayer vigil contributors and converse reality to energy. Politicians don’t get to make use of our communities’ ache as a photo-op for his or her empty guarantees. DeSantis’s “resolution” of elevated faculty safety is a farce amid his loosening of gun legal guidelines and bolstering of anti-Black sentiment. Elevated policing is not going to cease these white supremacist assaults. Contact with legislation enforcement didn’t deter the shooter or stop the homicide of Black locals lower than a mile away.

It’s no coincidence the shooter initially focused Edward Waters College; traditionally Black faculties and universities (HBCUs) have been the location of Black schooling, tradition and politics for hundreds of years. They’ve additionally been focused by white supremacist violence for just as long. My youthful sister is attending an HBCU in Florida, and within the midst of political repression, I’m each proud and terrified. Being Black already makes us targets, and on high of that, HBCUs are continuously targeted for bomb threats and violence greater than different establishments — particularly main as much as Black Historical past Month. I’m crammed with pleasure realizing that my sister is becoming a member of the attractive custom of Black schooling at an HBCU. However the concern of one thing occurring to her lingers behind my thoughts. But that’s the on a regular basis actuality of all Black individuals, and it hasn’t but shuttered the intense minds of Black college students.

The taking pictures additionally coincided with the 63rd weekend anniversary of “Ax-Deal with Saturday,” when, in response to peaceable lunch counter demonstrations by younger activists with a neighborhood Jacksonville NAACP chapter, almost 200 white rioters attacked Black residents with ax handles and baseball golf equipment as police stood idly by. A Black avenue gang intervened to cease the violence, which is when the police joined in with the white mob. This historical past is a transparent reminder that white supremacist assaults didn’t begin with modern conservative actions.

Sadly, violence that targets marginalized individuals shouldn’t be distinctive in U.S. historical past however a longstanding development. The election of former President Donald Trump shouldn’t be conflated as the foundation reason for white supremacist violence. The rationale why conservative politicians can faucet into white supremacist ideology as a rallying level is as a result of it’s embedded within the basis of U.S. politics.

These killed within the latest Jacksonville taking pictures weren’t simply victims of hate, however victims of an extended historical past of white supremacist violence. If we hope to handle this violence, superficial options like growing police and even particular person hate crime prices is not going to be ample. Boldly refusing to just accept the sympathy of politicians who faucet into white supremacist ideology for votes is a begin. However to actually tackle racial violence, we’d like insurance policies that focus on the roots of white supremacy, not simply its fruits.

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