There Wasn’t a Shooting in Charleston

There was a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal. There was a shooting, a massacre, and a tragedy at AME.

Calling it anything else — especially a #CharlestonShooting is a function of white supremacy. The erasure, the inability or unwillingness to name how a white 20something shooter specifically targeted this central and iconic locale is violent.

At around 9pm, a white shooter unleashed racist hell on the Emanuel AME during a bible study. At least 9 people were assassinated, including State Senator Clementa Pinckney who served as the church’s pastor.

Although little is known at the moment, I strongly doubt this racist anti-Black act of violence was random or spontaneous. The Emanuel AME, preciously nicknamed “Mother AME,” was established and unofficially organized in 1787. By 1822, one founder, Denmark Vesey — a former slave from the Virgin Islands — planned a slave revolt from this specific location.

The revolt failed because George Wilson enslaved physically, economically, socially, and mentally, tipped off his white master. The aftermath was devastatingly structural; the white power structure soon implemented stricter laws, codes, and racist socio-cultural principles to prevent future revolt. Mother AME was burned down. Vesey and 36 others were hanged.

The righteous coup was planned for July. And that’s why this deranged racist shooter targeted this location. That’s why before his deadly racist rampage, he staked out AME’s members and developed a rapport them. “Allegedly.”


So no. This isn’t just a #CharlestonShooting. This was a strategic racist attack festered, smeared, and drenched in anti-Blackness. Dominant media narratives will suggest otherwise. Don’t let them. Name this massacre appropriately.


#AMEShooting #AMETerrorism #AMEMassacre. So much more than a Charleston shooting.

*Featured Image Credit:

photo 1Arielle Newton. Founder/Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.


14 responses to “There Wasn’t a Shooting in Charleston

  1. The symbolism here is too powerful. One of the oldest Black Churches in America is attacked by a White man. This happens in a city that defines racial and confederate thinking. This happens in an area where a corrupt and racist policeman was just charged with the murder of an unarmed Black man, which came as a total surprise given the sad trend of police being allowed to act like executioners. I think that there is a connection between these two events.
    To those who will try to use the “disturbed individual” defense once again, and will try to deny that this was a hate crime because there was “no evidence”, I suggest that these people look at the 9 dead Black victims and then try to openly state once again that there is no evidence that this is a hate crime, and that this is NOT an isolated incident, but part of a larger pattern of systemic domestic terrorism against Black Americans.


  2. I’m very sorry that this has happened. This is clearly a horrific act against the black community and it was a racist attack, no doubt.

    But why take the act of one person and suggest that it’s about ‘white supremacy’ based on a hashtag. The vast majority of the white community sit with you against these acts. Why try and label everyone in the same bucket?

    Labeling individuals based on a preconceived group, whether white, black, gay, straight, christinan, muslim, or other, is in itself racism (or prejudism), and at times like this you should be careful with the rhetoric you throw around, as it only feeds the problem.


    • Racism is a construct based on power. Therefore, white supremacy dictates that whites are the only ones with the power to be racist in our society. Crime, violence, acts of aggression against whites or across communities of color are just that, crime, violence & horizontal acts of aggression.

      Acknowledging & challenging white supremacy requires us to consider whole systems. Although there are individuals and communities who do not actively practice white supremist ways, when we refuse to acknowledge its role and call it out, we are merely superficially addressing the root cause of racism in America. White supremacy exists and is responsible as a systemic motivator for so many individual and organized actions we see today. We will never be able to combat it and change the system if we’re unwilling to call it what it is.


  3. I disagree with your initial premise.
    It is pretty standard to identify shootings by the city they happen in.
    This gives much more context than the name of a church (or school or movie theater) most people probably aren’t familiar with.
    Waco, Columbine, Denver theater, Oklahoma City bombing, etc.

    I agree with your second hypothesis. This was almost certainly a racist attack. An attempt to terrorize minorities and force them back into “their place”.
    I don’t have all the details yet, so I guess their is a small (almost infinitesimally small) chance that the attack was political in nature and the senator was the real target.
    Even if this second idea turns out to be true it doesn’t necessarily make the idea that this was a racist attack untrue.


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  6. Hello,

    I agree with you. This was a racist massacre.

    But I also agree with Sorry. Not all whites are racist. Please don’t judge us by our skin color, just as you are asking not to be judged by yours. We all need to recognize each other only as equal in that we are all humans. Color does not matter to me. What’s in one’s heart and whether one is kind is what makes me want that person as a friend.

    We are saddened and grieving with you.


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