Dear America,

By now, I think all of America has heard the details of the Charleston, South Carolina shooting, where Dylann Roof, a 21 year old white man shot and killed 9 black churchgoers. If not, then you are about to hear it now.

The more disturbing fact was that this was conducted in their place of worship. The worst fact? They spent time with him during their Bible Study, and embraced him in that hour. These poor nine souls were good people- everyday types who were going to their spiritual house, having a weekly Bible Study, having each other to fall on. Roof came in for an hour and was embraced.

They weren’t thinking of hate. They wanted him to embrace Jesus Christ, God and share Their love with him. The church was also historical, with black and white visitors, so seeing a white man enter wasn’t considered abnormal.

What disgusts me is the fact that Roof kept a survivor, to tell his deed. Even more so, he wanted to start a race war, in a historically significant church. He wanted to essentially time travel and erase progress, for his own ignorant bigotry.

However, there was one quote that struck a nerve with me. A 90 year old resident commented and her quote was published. She said, “I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was somebody 60, 70 years old who had that much hate, but where does this hate come from?”

This made me not only shake my head, but start to think- the fact that two generations ago, what would be many of our grandparents were living in the Civil Rights movement area, and that really, not much has changed. Sure, we have laws. We have more acceptance. Interracial marriage is allowed. Yes, but the fact that we even had hate towards our brothers and sisters is ridiculous. Aren’t we all humans, with varying melanin in our skin? Didn’t we all originate from Africa? Don’t we all have the same type of organs, bones and autonomy? Why would we even have hate for someone who is lighter/darker than us? Why do we even have labels placed on each other?

The problem is this- we make race an issue. We, as a society, whether we want to face it or not, have picked different types of ethnic/racial groups, and made them scapegoats. As Americans, we have made stereotypes out of races, and once we start to progress out of this stage, somehow, we get sucked up. Once we get out of ‘hating’ one race, we pick another. The same description can go for anyone else who is considered a minority, whether it is religiously, sexually, etc.

When I first heard about this shooting, I thought race and religion could be motivation. However, looking into the actual details (which is why we need to research and read before assuming and regurgitating), he wasn’t anti-Christian. An overwhelming 80% of Americans are Christians. He mentioned how black men were raping white women, and overtaking the population. Basically, Roof was terrified of the 10% of interracial marriages and growing numbers of children who come from biracial and multiracial backgrounds. Why? He was a white man, wanting to keep the racist propaganda that lasted for centuries and slowly has been disappearing.

However, it hasn’t truly disappeared. I’ve met wonderful people of all walks of life. I credit my community where I was born and raised. Thankfully, in military settings, you meet every race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation and religion, and learn from one another. You also discover the prejudice in some people from every category. I can say I understand discrimination- though I would be of white privilege, I was raised a different religion. No, not denomination of Christianity. A different religion- Messianic Judaism to be specific. Quite a few of my classmates were awesome about my faith, but I had rude remarks made my way, and there was many times where I felt the heat. I was actually told before that I needed to be put in an oven in high school from a bigot and was labeled “The Jew Girl” at my grandma’s church by an older woman (who ironically was from Germany. PS- I know a lot of Germans and most aren’t like that, just saying). However, it wasn’t made present unless I made it so.

That is the difference between types of discrimination. I could hide my Star of David when needed. I didn’t have to say my religion, even if questioned. You can’t hide the fact of your skin color unless you change your whole physical appearance. You can pull a Rachel Dolzeal if you’re white (as obviously shown… don’t get me on that topic, but I might make a whole post on her craziness later), but most people of color couldn’t disguise themselves. Now, some could ‘pass’ for white, as shown in historical times. My husband actually does. He happens to be half (possibly more) Native American, which was the worst race to be in historical America for a couple centuries. I could tell he wasn’t full white when we first met (due to my exposure and being from a multiracial, multiethnic community), but most assume. However, when they talk about being original Americans, he usually smirks and says, “That was actually my folks.” Our kids could be considered Native American as well.

I remember Tyler and me discussing our pasts and childhood. He said kids always commented on how ‘dark’ he was growing up, and yet he moved past it. He said, even in his own words, “I know I wouldn’t get made fun of too much.” This shows the transition of Americans hate for particular races. We went from hating Native Americans, to hating African Americans to hating Asians to hating African Americans once more to Latinos. Now, we evidently show our hatred of minorities and lumped into that group now are Middle Easterners with Arabic descent. A fine example of our “picky choices” is World War II. Japanese Americans were put into concentration like camps during the war, due to Pearl Harbor. Nowadays, many hold Japanese Americans in high regard.

I do believe we’re appropriating cultures every day. I do also believe we pick and choose who we accept and reject. As a now Christian, I see it all the time. Being someone who grew up the way I do, I hear and see many of the “majority” doing it, and most do it unknowingly. Many don’t realize the privileges that come along with that title. In our society, sadly, we have made our own problems and turmoil. We used race to create an invisible caste system generations ago, and we are trying to erase that set up. Unfortunately, we have a portion of our society who wants to keep this ignorance as control. Our socioeconomic caste system is based off of Social Darwinism, which feeds off of strength and survival.

We perpetuated issues once we made it an issue. As time has passed, we have slowly grown out of many phases. However, we still have people who hate other races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, etc. Why? Hate typically comes from love, which is slightly true here as well. As children, we are not naturally prejudice. Think about babies- babies will smile, laugh and love anyone and everyone who they deem as positive. Fast-forward to institutionalizing of education and activities, children start to see the processes of discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes and labeling. The youth learns this process from the actions they observe from the ones they trust the most: their families, friends and communities. They are taught to fear people that are different from themselves. They are taught to dislike anyone who doesn’t have the same core beliefs. They are taught to hate anyone and everyone who doesn’t fit their agenda.

For Dylann Storm Roof, this was black people. Not just Christians, but firmly black citizens of America.

Sorry Mr. Roof, but whites will be the minority group by 2050. Sorry KKK members/sympathizers, Neo Nazi lovers and other white supremacist groups.

There is nothing wrong with that. To myself, there is nothing wrong with being proud of your race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, sex, sexual identity, etc. However, we are all humans. We are all equal. We’re all made of the same types of elements, bones, organs and skin, and we’re all the same size when we’re put into our graves.

I personally believe in God and Jesus, though I still hold onto some core ethic beliefs. There is nowhere in the Bible that criticizes interracial relationships or other races in my interpretation. There is nowhere that says one is better than another. However, I believe in “doing to others as I want done to me.”

I hope Dylann Roof gets the harshest penalty possible. If they let him live, I hope he honestly lives with the guilt of being surrounded by nine amazing people, who did nothing but right by him. I will be angry if he is the stereotypical white man who gets off, off the notion of a mental illness. His intent was malice, and his actions were intentional, which qualifies as murder. He committed a hate crime. He committed domestic terrorism, which happens more frequently than what we want to own up to. We have had many acts of domestic terrorism, but we focus on other nations attacking each other. We have to start owning up to our own issues as much as we blame other nations for being crazy. You know that person who judges everyone, but we all know the person who throws the most stones at others’ mirrors has the most cracks in their own reflection? That is America.

For everyone else, I’m not sure how you believe, but in all religions, there’s a condition/verse that wants everyone to treat another person like how they would want to be treated. Even with my friends who are agnostic and atheist, they believe in the same type of ethics. We need to start accepting others and getting to know them. We need to stop allowing hatred to spread like it did to Dylann. He is an example of where systematic discrimination prevailed- he could have been stopped, but his friends were mum. Speak up. Start the conversations and end the assumptions. Start judging their character. Stop the ignorance.

Ignorance is defined as being unaware, and I feel this is many Americans to be honest. I’m still proud to be an American, but I’m ashamed by many. More than half of us would fail a naturalization test (immigrants take this to become citizens of our country), and a quarter can’t identify who our vice president is (Joe Biden). America was founded on immigration. American was founded on freedoms and liberties. We can make or break America, and honestly, we need to get it together ASAP. I honestly get tired of seeing people talk ill of America, but we are getting to that unreasonable and chaotic point. Yes, we are currently Britney Spear’s shaving her head moment. Somehow and somewhere, we need to put heads together and combat our issues, before they overwhelm us.

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