Charleston Massacre: Where Is It Safe to Be Black in America?


blackWhere in America is it safe to be black? The recent Charleston Massacre has black Americans questioning where they can go to find safety. They are not safe walking down the street, going to the store for Skittles, being pulled over by law enforcement for a traffic stop, standing outside socializing with friends and now, it is not even safe to attend a place of worship.

It appears these United States of America are not for black people. For years, many have tried to gloss over it and act as if racism does not exist. African-Americans are aware of their plight, but when attempting to get it out of their minds, something like the Charleston Massacre serves as a reminder.

This country is so racially segregated that it matters not where African-Americans choose to live and try to raise a family. The predominantly black communities are often ridden with criminal activity and drug usage, but if parents move to a gated community in hopes of a better opportunity for their child, they might end up with a Trayvon Martin situation. In upscale neighborhoods too, the risk of being racially profiled and potentially victimized is too high because of  the “they do not belong here” mentality.

Where can black people find safety within the land of the “free” and the place many consider home? It is disheartening to think there is not a place where skin color does not pose an immediate threat. For many, who have not been touched with the sting of being black in America, this is something they cannot understand. It is difficult to comprehend the feelings of insecurity that arise when living in a country that has an extensive history of discrimination, violence and prejudice against fellow Americans who have been born with a different pigmentation.

The recent crimes against unarmed black men, the incident at the pool party in Texas and the Charleston Massacre all confirm that it is an unspoken crime to be black in America. At one point, the people were said to have been “at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Well, apparently the nine victims who were killed inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church have dispelled that myth. So the question remains, “Where in America are black people safe from racism?

In the latest hate crime against black America, a racist 21-year-old spent time in the pews of a black church and then gunned down several attendees after stating his reason for being there was to kill black people. After open firing on his intended targets, the man got into his car and fled the scene, leaving a few survivors among the lifeless bodies of his victims.

This senseless killing, coupled with racial profiling and America’s history of criminalizing people for being black, has become a nightmare. The realization that a race of people do not feel safe at home, on public transportation, at work, or at a prayer meeting causes the feelings of rejection to take on a whole other dimension and depth.

If anything positive can arise from these unnecessary murders, it would be that America wakes up to a sober reckoning and serious acknowledgment of this country’s past and present history of racial discrimination and animosity. The shallow mentality of ignoring the uncomfortable truth surrounding socioeconomic and racial segregation is untenable for a nation which claims to be “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Nothing is farther from the truth, America is not united and seemingly not safe for black people. As Americans continue to display their ignorance of history and the current reality, it only serves as confirmation that they would rather believe a lie than deal with the truth. The question remains, “Where is it safe to black in America?”

Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)


The Daily Beast: Behind the Hate Crime Massacre in a Black Charleston Church

Photo Credits:

Top Image Courtesy of Spencer Means – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Rennett Stowe – Flickr License

3 thoughts on “Charleston Massacre: Where Is It Safe to Be Black in America?

  1. Your perspective on this issue is greatly appreciated, and has opened my white eyes even more. Thanks for writing these pieces.

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