Two months ago, a 21-year-old white male named Dylann Storm Roof walked into the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Church was hosting its Bible study that evening, and Church members — including senior pastor and state senator Clementa C. Pinckney — evidently thought little of his presence. According to eyewitness reports, Roof sat down next to Pinckney and listened to others during the Bible study, disagreeing openly with their Scriptural interpretations. Eventually Roof stood up, pulled a .45 caliber handgun from his fanny pack, and took aim at the congregants. When one churchgoer tried to talk him down, insisting that Roof didn’t have to do this, Roof coldly replied, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Roof then proceeded to gun down nine innocent people in their house of worship, muttering racial epithets and fleeing the scene.
Following his capture, a website registered to Dylann Roof, titled Last Rhodesian, was discovered displaying what appeared to be the killer’s manifesto. Roof, it seems, gained his “racial awareness” — that is, began seeing the superiority of the white race — following the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in 2012. He turned to Wikipedia for more information about the incident, and walked away from it believing that it “was obvious” that Zimmerman “was in the right.” Yet what was more important to Roof was the bigger picture, that there was an epidemic of black-on-white violence in America, and that this epidemic was met with silence by our politically correct mainstream media:
But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White [sic] crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White [sic] murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White [sic] murders got ignored?
He continued researching, and discovered that “the same things were happening in England and France, and in all the other Western European countries.” From that point, Roof “found out about the Jewish problem and other issues facing our race” and became “completely racially aware.”
Roof’s casual mention of the Council of Conservative Citizens raised more than a few eyebrows. An offshoot of the White Citizens Councils that fought to uphold segregation in the 50’s and 60’s, the CofCC was founded in 1985 by white supremacist Gordon Lee Baum (1940-2015) to carry on the spirit of its predecessors. According its Statement of Principles (2007), the CofCC opposes “all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.” It has also referred to African Americans as a “retrograde species of humanity” and posted pictures comparing late pop star Michael Jackson to an ape.
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that a budding racist would be attracted to the CofCC’s values or that such a person would have his white supremacist viewpoints reinforced by its rhetoric. Following the massacre in Charleston the question was raised as to what, if any, responsibility the CofCC bore for the bloodshed. It was at this point that well-known white nationalist and former CofCC director Jared Taylor stepped in to act as the racist organization’s spokesperson, denying any and all culpability for motivating Roof to slaughter innocent churchgoers.
In one major media appearance, Taylor was asked the following by Al Jazeera America’s David Shuster: “Doesn’t your organization bear some responsibility for what Roof was thinking?” “No,” Taylor replied. “He did not get inspiration from the Council’s website. He got information. And the reason the information was so disturbing to him is because the facts — the reality — of the overwhelmingly black-on-white nature of interracial crime is something that is almost never reported. It’s, in fact, deliberately concealed.” When Shuster confronted him with the CofCC’s inflammatory rhetoric — even quoting its official website as saying “Mixing races is rebelliousness against God” — Taylor could only say that he himself doesn’t “endorse that kind of language.”
In fact, far from issuing any sort of formal apology, Taylor doubled down, claiming that such offensive remarks had been put up on the website many years ago, and that there was no proof that Roof actually read them. He then likened the website’s “information” on black-on-white crimes and compared it to facts on climate change, saying, “If you take a strong position on global warming, for example, and you find out that someone who holds exactly the same views as you has gone into the ExxonMobil building and shot up management, does that mean that your views were wrong? Does that mean you say suddenly, ‘Gee, I was wrong all along’?”
In an interview with Jonathan Tilove of the Austin-American Statesman, Taylor repeated his global warming comparison, adding, “People do crazy, violent things for all sorts of reasons. People attack abortion clinics. People attack people who attack abortion clinics. This is a horrible thing, but I think that so long as the idea is we are dealing with facts in a realistic way, I don’t see how you can possibly modify your position.” Taylor also called Roof “a horrible criminal and a terrible embarrassment” and said that American Renaissance — a white nationalist publication founded by Taylor — doesn’t “encourage any kind of violence or illegality.”
So, do Jared Taylor and the Council of Conservative Citizens bear any responsibility for Dylann Storm Roof’s horrific act of mass murder? I ask because, according to Jared Taylor’s own logic, they do. In a 2013 video by Taylor that was featured on the AmRen website, he discusses the 2011 murder of Brittany Watts, a white woman, at the hands of a black man named Nkosi Thandiwe. Like many black-on-white murders, such as that of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in 2007, white racists used the brutal slaying of Brittany Watts to push an unfounded narrative that news of black violence is being suppressed. It’s the same mindset that Dylann Roof had after visiting the CofCC website and it’s the same narrative being pushed by folks like Jared Taylor.
Going further than other white supremacists, however, Taylor decided to lay the blame for Watts’ death at the feet of anti-racist educators and activists. As proof, Taylor cited Thandiwe’s trial testimony wherein the young man said he was motivated by anti-white prejudice. “I was trying to prove a point that Europeans had colonized the world, and as a result of that, we see a lot of evil today,” said Thandiwe. “In terms of slavery, it was something that needed to be answered for. I was trying to spread the message of making white people mend.” He suggested these beliefs were formed while attending college at the University of West Georgia.
That was Taylor’s “Gotcha!” moment. Although he admitted that it is “not possible” to find what courses Thandiwe took while at West Georgia, “if he took either of the basic US History survey courses, or the survey of world history, he learned, and I’m quoting from the course catalogue ‘the significance of ethnicity, gender, race, and class in historical events.'” He continues by quoting anti-racist professors from various universities — none of which Thandiwe attended — before launching into a smug tirade about how they were responsible for Watts’ demise:
What’s a black college student to do? White people themselves—white professors—tell them we whites are a vicious scourge and richly deserve to be hated. And, as all the experts agree, white people can never be completely cured. Every new generation is a new generation of oppressors. So Mr. Thandiwe did the logical thing. The way to eliminate the “evil,” as he put it, is to kill these incurable white people.
. . .
So I have a question for you lot: [Joe] Feagin, [Robert] Jensen, [Noel] Ignatiev, and all you other swine who teach blacks to hate us. Are you happy now? Are you happy how well your lessons were learned? There is blood on your hands. Brittney Watts was 26 and recently married. She’s dead. Lauren Garcia was 23. She will never walk again. Their families will never be the same. There are hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of whites whose lives have been snuffed out or wrecked because of the hatred that you—yes, you—spread through this country.
This reasoning proves problematic for Taylor in the wake of the Charleston massacre. As he admitted in his video monologue, we don’t know and cannot find out what courses Thandiwe took. We don’t know what his professors taught him. We don’t know exactly how his beliefs about white folks were shaped.
We do know, however, that atrocities such as chattel slavery, the utter decimation of the indigenous population of North and South America, the mass lynching of blacks, the Holocaust, and dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were committed by white people. These were explicitly racist atrocities, as well as a matter of historical fact. We know that white people are painted in such an ugly light by world history because white people did ugly things. Learning about these basic facts have not caused black people to start assaulting or killing white people. Anti-racist activists have done nothing to incite violence or suggest that white people were inferior in any way.
What, on the other hand, do we know about the CofCC and Dylann Roof? Well, unlike Nkosi Thandiwe, we know the specific source of Roof’s indoctrination. He wrote that he stumbled upon the CofCC’s website after doing a Google search for black-on-white crime. He found it, and it reinforced his preexisting racist beliefs, prompting him to seek other racist publications to further justify his racial hatred. The CofCC also routinely disparaged and dehumanized African-Americans — unlike classes on history or Taylor’s global warming comparison. The CofCC was not some neutral arbiter of facts, but an organization that traffics in racial propaganda, highlighting every criminal act perpetrating by blacks in an effort to paint a picture of an ongoing race war. The website is far from subtle, having compared blacks to apes and included statements condemning racial integration and intermarriage.
Jared Taylor himself has a long track record of racist venom. Following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Taylor wrote an article for AmRen — with rather unsubtle subheadings like “From Hurricane to Jungle” — in which he wrote, “To be sure, the story of Hurricane Katrina does have a moral for anyone not deliberately blind. The races are different. Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears. And in a crisis, it disappears overnight.” Of last year’s unrest following the death of Mike Brown, he wrote:
In Ferguson, African-Americans are acting like Africans rather than Americans. Presumptions of innocence, rules of evidence, and deliberative justice are about as rare on the street as they are south of the Sahara. Africa is notorious for mob justice. Alleged thieves are often beaten to death on the spot. Witch-burning is so common, you can now see it on YouTube. UNICEF reports that more Africans than ever believe in witchcraft.
. . .
Another reason we have riots is because whites refuse to understand that we have Africa in our midst. The official view is that the Ferguson rioters might as well be white people, except that they’re victims of society. Our rulers tell us that looting and arson are regrettable but understandable expressions of legitimate black rage.
He ended that screed by writing that “as Africa and other parts of the Third World expand in our midst, it will become harder and harder for any of our basic European institutions to function.” This isn’t racial code. This isn’t dog whistle politics. Jared Taylor’s racism is as blatant and crude as any Klansman or neo-Nazi, the only difference being Taylor’s intellect and snobbish demeanor.
So I ask: Mr. Taylor, are you happy now? Surely you understand that, by your own logic, you too have blood on your hands, and much more than your anti-racist enemies. You accused anti-racist speakers of being responsible for Nkosi Thandiwe’s murder of Brittany Watts because he may have taken classes which taught about issues of race, class, and gender. You speculated as to what he might have learned, and used that to definitively smear your opponents as accessories to a gruesome crime. Yet it was an organization that you were once the director of, and which you acted as the de facto spokesperson for, that directly inspired an act of terrorism against a historically black church that left nine dead and several others wounded. Again, that’s only if I follow your line of reasoning.
So, Mr. Taylor, which is it? If only Nkosi Thandiwe and Dylann Roof were to blame for the bloodshed, then you owe an apology to the professors and activists you so baselessly smeared. If you’re correct, however, and their rhetoric was to blame for the death of Brittany Watts, then they owe an apology to the victim and her family. And you owe an apology to the victims of Dylann Roof’s vicious act of racist terrorism. The choice is yours.