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Dear White Women

Nov 6, 2019

In Part 2 of a special series on hate and violence in the United States, Sara and Misasha continue the dialogue with Charleston, and how we normalized hate in 2015 and going forward, as seen in Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, Poway, El Paso, and Gilroy.

Join Sara and Misasha as they discuss Dylann Roof and the church massacre that set off this current resurgence of hate in a way that we haven’t seen in this country since the Birmingham bombings in 1963.

Show Highlights:

  • Roof was caught immediately and, unlike the Birmingham bombers’ extreme delay of justice, put on trial within two years of committing the crime.
  • Sara and Misasha read selections from articles and discuss forgiveness from the perspectives of a survivor and family member.
  • In Columbia during the trial, there was a lot of gossip about what his real motivation might have been. Those who knew the Roof family said that there had been a rape of someone close to Roof at the hands of a group of black men.
  • A parallel is drawn to the 2016 movie, The Birth of a Nation.
  • The defense in court presented another twist, which was answers to Roof’s rage lay in his unique psychopathology.
  • Although Roof was found to have a high IQ, it was ‘compromised by a significant discrepancy between his ability to comprehend and to process information and a poor working memory’. 
  • This was translated into some kind of OCD behavior that led him to fastidiously keep 88 friends and take 88 bullets to the church. This number reportedly has a link to Hitler and the Nazis.
  • The court-appointed psychiatrist found that a lack of a sensible network, how fast he was radicalized to this extreme hate level, coupled with his inability to form any known connections gave credence to a diagnosis of a schizoid personality disorder, a mixed substance abuse disorder, depression by history, and a possible autistic spectrum disorder.
  • Despite these disorders, he was declared competent to stand trial not once, but twice. That’s why he was allowed to excuse his legal team and handle some of his capital murder trial, himself. 
  • The white supremacists of today, having been kicked off Twitter, often have Instagram bios that offer this “warning” to their opposition: ‘Goodnight, left side’. They’re young, white, often brag about how many guns they have because these are the guns that will save them in the coming race war.
  • They’re clearly armed and often under-educated, or somewhat educated but really socially awkward, or at least until they get sucked into these chat rooms in this world of white supremacy where they can find friends.
  • Roof was educated in a state whose educational standards from 2011 are full of lesson plans that focus on the viewpoint of slave owners and highlight the economic necessity of slave labor. When this is what you’re learning at school, it’s kind of hard to separate that when you’re on the internet in white supremacists’ chatrooms.
  • In the Massachusetts educational system, slavery is talked about more than 100 times in their curriculum, whereas Louisiana mentions it less than 5 times. There is a huge disparity in how we’re taught in our schools. 
  • The rise of what has happened politically since 2015 has emboldened men and women who have always been there, to come up and say that they are being supported.
  • The Anti-Defamation League wrote about 4 separate examples of individuals who may have been inspired by Roof.
  • Lone-wolf terrorism is notoriously difficult to catch and prevent. This is terrorism that comes from within that is young, white, and armed.
  • Sara and Misasha discuss the “Incel” movement. This stands for “involuntary celibate”.
  • Next week in PART THREE of this 3-part series, Sara and Misasha will discuss the present acts that are occurring, the takeaways, and the psychology behind it.