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Dear Dylann Roof

Jun 23, 2015 — Categories:

Dear Dylann Roof: When you gunned down 9 people in a Charleston church who were sharing Bible study with you, you said, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Author Lisa Wade described this as “benevolent” sexism. I find this an overly generous label.

Dear Dylann Roof:

When you gunned down 9 people in a Charleston church who were sharing Bible study with you, you said, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”  Author Lisa Wade described this as “benevolent” sexism. I find this an overly generous label.

I assume in your comments you mean “you”: African American men; “our women”: white women who somehow you think “belong” to white men. You are concerned that “they” are raping “us” and you are going to save “us” by assassinating African American people in our community.

Sadly you have been misinformed about this “problem”. In fact, it is African American women and other women of color who have been victimized by white men from the days of enslavement until today. Whether domestic workers in homes of white families or employees of businesses, women of color remain particularly vulnerable to white male employers.

This false narrative is as old as the hills of the Southern Appalachians where I was born and raised. The history of lynching in the South is a tragic part of the campaign of terrorism visited on the African American community to enforce segregation and Jim Crow and justified by the manufactured fear of the rape of white women.  The Equal Justice Initiative reported in 2015 that nearly 4,000 black men, women and children were lynched between 1877 and 1950 in the South.

You stand in a long line of bigoted men who have taken it on themselves to “protect” white women from an illusory threat. As a white woman raised in the South in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, let me be clear: we do not need your protection from black men. We do not “belong” to you. We are free agents more than capable of taking care of ourselves.

Your “excuse” for your white supremacy is pathetic and dated. To say that you are on the wrong side of history is to understate the obvious.

Let me assure you that your terrorist strategy of murdering African Americans in your community, to intimidate people of color and reinforce white supremacy, is also ineffective. You have martyred these community members and unified the vast majority of citizens of every racial group to stand in solidarity.

We will not be intimidated. Even as we pray and care for the families of the people you murdered, we organize and respond. Contrary to your intention, you have brought us together—in mourning, and with purpose. We will redouble our efforts to confront racism, to move us forward to the day when all community members will be safe in their homes, places of worship, workplaces, and streets.

As a Christian, I pray for your repentance. The families and church that you victimized have responded to you with love and grace that are beyond my capacity. But I continue to live in hope that you, and others who share your views, come to realize the futility of your efforts and even perhaps catch a glimpse of the beloved community that will serve us all as we find ways to live together in peace and harmony.


Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
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Posted by Kristen Paul at Jun 24, 2015 03:54 PM
Beautifully penned.

Dylann Roof's horror

Posted by Barbara Peter at Jun 24, 2015 06:08 PM
Thank you, Marie, for your eloquence on respecting girls' and women's bounaries. I too am now praying daily for him to see the absence of good in his action, and somehow to help us to work toward Christ's Kingdom. Sending Resurrection hope, BP

"black men-rape white women" thinking.

Posted by Rev. Lydia S. Martinez at Jun 24, 2015 06:09 PM
When all this came up, I remember having a conversation with a white male
in which he asked me..(I'm Mex.Am). Why do Hispanic men marry blonde headed
white women? My response...because they love each other. Really I have no
clue, but that's the only thing that came to mind.
But is this kind of thinking a different level but with the same kind of
undertones of "why are you intimate with "our women?"....?

Dear Dylan Roof

Posted by Dr. Brenita Mitchell at Jun 24, 2015 07:24 PM
Thank you Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune,

Your words not only express my sentiment as an African American female but they shed light on what many African American women and men in my family, community and friends feel in the wake of this senseless tragedy.

While, I am deeply pained, I also join you in prayer for the shooters repentance, and for those who fueled a 21 year old's racist and twisted beliefs leading him to such a maniacal act. In my fantasy, I hope that your letter and others somehow find their way to the jail cell that contains him.

Perhaps, if he heard from the multitude of us that his evil act did not defeat us but garnered and empowered us with additional strength to fight against the throes of white supremacy, in this country and abroad.

Thank you also for your commitment to peace and the work against sexual terrorism against women and all those suffering from domestic violence. I also applaud your passion and hard work toward building the Beloved Community, one blog at time.

Blessings and Peace
Rev. Dr. Brenita Mitchell

Dear Dylann Roof

Posted by Robert L. Hempel, M.Th., T.A.P. at Jun 25, 2015 01:23 PM
Thank you for a clearly written response to Mr. Roof. It was steeped in history and spoke the truth. This is one of the btter responses to the Charleston massacre. Bless your heart and Shalom! Bob Hempel

Sorrow and resolve

Posted by Mary E. Hunt at Jun 29, 2015 12:42 PM
Words are inadequate to convey the depth of sorrow that this incident caused. You have done a wonderful job of conveying both sadness about it and resolve to eradicate racism and inequality Thanks, MEHunt

Dear Dylan Roof

Posted by Jenny Pertiller at Jun 29, 2015 12:42 PM
As an African American woman, born and raised in the 1950's and 1960's, I am very aware of the truth in your article. I can only hope that many people will read it and know the facts of our country's history. It is terrible that nine innocent people were killed by this crazed and racist person. But, maybe it was not in vain if people of faith come together to face and defeat racism. Thank you for a very well written article.

Mind and Brain

Posted by Lolita P. Habito at Jun 29, 2015 12:43 PM
One major reason why that tragedy happened is because society until now is not clear about what the human nature is.

According to my understanding of new studies about the brain by neurologist which also concerns the MIND, a human being actually has 2 portions: the brain is the matter part of our being and there is the another part of our being which is the MIND. The MIND is the spirit part of our being. The mind and the brain are involved in our decision making and determine our actions and behaviors.

The brain collects and stores all our experiences since the day we were born, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant and whether they were information which were true and others not true become part of our experiences. They all influence our decisions and behaviors. Most of our decisions and behaviors when we are using our brain did not passed through reflections, introspection or meditation, which means most of them are just impulses.

The prevailing situation now in our country is that there are so many broken homes; there are millions of homes where husband and wife are at war against one another and so the children are no longer whole in such a way that their thoughts and feelings of securities are gone. Whether they like it or not they can belong to millions of people who have broken personalities. It becomes understandable that the effect is horrible to society and to the people who were products of broken homes.

The MIND which is the spirit side of our being and is the seat of the WILL or SELF-CONTROL.

According to the book, SUPERBRAIN written by Dr. Deepak Chopra, a scientist and physician and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, a neurologist and researcher, "You are NOT your BRAIN. YOU are your MIND. That is what YOU are".

As I try to understand the book, I came to understand that there comes a time when a human being is so overwhelmed by societal problems that one loses wholeness of one's mind and brain and loses ones SELF-CONTROL; so a mysterious invisible power take over to control that human being decision and behavior. Such invisible power can be counter-acted ONLY IF one is trained in the daily practice of virtues.

Since we are somewhat individualistic society we cannot see the manifestation of too much loneliness in others. So horrific events happen every now and then.

I recommend reading of the book, SUPERBRAIN. It helps me a lot to be able to understand the world.

Roof comments response

Posted by Catherine Smith at Jul 27, 2015 02:37 PM
Amen, Marie. You have nailed it. Thank you for bringing the actual facts to light. I am going to tell my friends about this on FB and suggest they read it. It will encourage some who are feeling very broken right now as they see so many who believe that Black lives don't matter They do of course. Thank you for this.