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Who Is Really To Fear in America?

It has been a week since the murders of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the topic on the table lately has been comparing non-jihadist extremist attacks with jihadist attacks. And this is a really fair topic, because as the numbers show, about twice as many people have been killed in the United States at the hands of non-jihadist extremists compared to Islamic jihadists since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Approximately nineteen attacks have killed 48 people since 2001, whereas, Muslim extremists have killed 26 in seven attacks in the same period of time. Currently, there is also a lot of talk of whether the Charleston shootings were acts of terrorism, or a hate crime. And frankly, with the varying definitions, it is hard to say. For the Charleston shooter, his goals were to eradicate the country of African Americans, for Muslim extremists, it is often to spread Islam or avenge Islam in some ways. However, the nineteen attacks have all been committed by white supremacists and antigovernment fanatics for the most part.

What does this say about America? Are their policies looking outward when they should be looking inward? I think maybe that could be part of it. However, even the decision of whether or not to call a crime a terrorist crime or a hate crime has become a hot button issue. Although a hate crime is pretty set in stone, terrorism is often defined as being ideological violence, which technically, white supremacism falls into a lot of the times.

I think that the Charleston shootings will bring up a lot of topics that America will have to face in a time when race has already become a hot button conversation topic. And in some ways, I think that the fact that these topics will be discussed and faced is a good thing, I just wish it had been under different circumstances. In regards to race in America, it is well known that America was a country founded on the backs of slaves. This was furthered after the Civil War when white supremacy was upheld. Even after 1865, African Americans still did not have the same rights as White Americans, and for that reason, there has been over a hundred years of fear, hatred and violence that has had a deep impact on the people that America has deemed Black.

Although it is easy to say, “it was in the past, get over it,” just look at the streets of America right now as riots are regularly breaking out and an entire group feels that they are done staying quiet and want the same justice that another group always has access to. The increase in attacks against Black Americans increasing also shows the tension and fear that some have of true equality within the United States. For now, America looks to be somewhat of a pot of boiling water, and despite how horrible the Charleston Shootings were, I fear that they were not the boiling point.

About Emily Hersey

Emily Hersey
Emily is an African Studies and History student who loves reading, the gym, hip hop and horses. If she's not working on her latest research project, she's definitely working towards her next trip to South Africa and doing her Master's degree there. Contact Emily: emily.hersey@youthindependent.com