I’ve been watching as the number of black churches burnt has mounted to seven since Roof’s shootings, The Atlantic reports. At least four, thus far, have determined to be arson.
These fires join the murder of nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as major acts of violence perpetrated against predominantly black churches in the last fortnight. Churches are burning again in the United States, and the symbolism of that is powerful. Even though many instances of arson have happened at white churches, the crime is often association with racial violence: a highly visible attack on a core institution of the black community, often done at night, and often motivated by hate.
I’m reminded of Alito’s closing paragraph on his post about traditional Christians fearing retribution.
This fear always strikes me as a better measure of what the fearful imagine themselves capable of; not a measure of the oppressed; they yardstick measures the person fearing retribution.
Let’s hope that these burnings end, that there is outrage. At one a day, I’m glad the concern has been muted enough to discover the actual cause and not jump to the white-terrorist conclusion that arson evokes.
But four were arson. Retribution is more likely, I think, to be visited by former oppressors, not former victims of oppression.
NOTE: I’d intended this as a minipost, but that option seems to have vanished from my new-post screen.