After numerous bombs were sent to political opponents, then an unsuccessful attempt to attack a predominantly Black church was thwarted only to find two victims at a local Kroger, and 11 worshippers at a Jewish synagogue were gunned down; I must pause to address the prevalent (but false) notion that “this is not who America is.” I know that history is not the class that many of us remember fondly, however, some history will do some good right now to help us demystify the idea that there has been a supposed resurgence of hate-filled crimes in America. History will tell us that these recent acts of hate are not random aberrations committed by deranged outsiders. No, history will tell us that not only are these recent acts of hate just par for the course, but they are also the underlying symptoms of the hatred that has ALWAYS been in America.
This was Amerikkka when Columbus set foot in Hispaniola and declared that the land, people, and all it had to offer were his for the taking.
This was Amerikkka when Native and Indigenous peoples were murdered, enslaved, and pushed off their land in the pursuit of Manifest Destiny.
This was Amerikkka when the European slave trade stole close to 10 million Africans from their homes, ripped apart their families, languages, cultures, and ultimate humanity. Then, using their forced and free labor, built the financial foundations that have cemented the economic strength of this country.
This was Amerikkka when after Emancipation, the Ku Klux Klan emerged as the self-proclaimed enforcers of racial inequality through racial violence and intimidation.
This was Amerikkka when lynch mobs of thousands of White men, women, and children would gather around and watch Black bodies be beaten, mutilated, dismembered, and burned, before being strung up on trees for display. To commemorate the event, souvenirs in the form of dismembered body parts were taken home and postcards sent out to loved ones.
This was Amerikkka when prosperous and thriving Black communities were destroyed and burned to the ground for being too prosperous; in Tulsa, in Chicago, in Detroit, in Florida, and in St. Louis.
This was Amerikkka when Japanese Americans were forced out of their homes and into internment camps for merely being of Japanese descent.
This was Amerikkka when young Mexican Americans were beaten in the streets of L.A. while police stood by and watched.
This was Amerikkka when four little girls were killed in their church basement after bombs were set off on a Sunday morning.
This was Amerikkka when countless Black churches were burned during a rash of racial violence in Black communities.
This was Amerikkka when Timothy McVeigh set off bombs that killed over 150 men, women, and children in Oklahoma City.
This was Amerikkka when Matthew Shepard was beaten and left for dead on a cold winter night in Wyoming.
This was Amerikkka when a mosque in Wisconsin was ambushed by a man mistaking Sikh worshippers for Muslim worshippers and killed 6 people.
This was Amerikkka when Dylann Roof walked into a Bible study at an all Black church and opened fire killing 9 members.
This was Amerikkka when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed, when 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed, when Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Freddy Gray, Eric Garner, and countless others shared the same fate.
This was Amerikkka during the school shootings at elementary, middle, high school, and college campuses across the country.
THIS IS AMERIKKKA.
These acts of violence and domestic terrorism have always been a part of Amerikkka. The notion that “this is not who America is” is an empty fantasy with no basis in reality. Instead of lamenting that “this is not who America is” let’s confront our ugliness and all the damage it has done to its own and once and for all admit: This may be who America is, but this is something that America can no longer be.