On Medium, in an address after the mass murder of nine black congregants at the hands of a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, writer John Metta talks about the difficulty in having conversations about race:
Despite what the Charleston Massacre makes things look like, people are dying not because individuals are racist, but because individuals are helping support a racist system by wanting to protect their own non-racist self beliefs.
People are dying because we are supporting a racist system that justifies White people killing Black people.
We see this in the way that one Muslim killer is a sign of Islamic terror; in the way one Mexican thief is a pointer to the importance of border security; in one innocent, unarmed Black man is shot in the back by a cop, then sullied in the media as a thug and criminal.
And in the way a white racist in a state that still flies the confederate flag is seen as “troubling” and “unnerving.” In the way people “can’t understand why he would do such a thing.
A provocative read, John Metta’s speech resonates beyond the African American experience to the Sikh American experience, where upon further consideration we can find parallel narratives. It is especially poignant in the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina shooting (which has much in common with the mass shooting of a Sikh house of worship in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2012) and on the eve of the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol. Read John Metta’s full speech at Medium.