About Charleston, Forgiveness and Black Pain
Three days ago, a monster walked into bible study at Emanuel AME Church, the oldest Black church in the south. He sat with them for an hour before pulling his gun out and killing 9 of them. Their names need to be spoken.
Susie Jackson (87). Reverent Clementa Pinkney (41). Cynthia Hurd (54). DePayne Middleton Doctor (49). Tywanza Sanders (26). Myra Thompson (59). Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45). Daniel L. Simmons Sr. (74). Ethel Lee Lance (70).
These people were worshipping when their lives ended at the hands of a villain. The white boy did it because he wanted to start a race war. He did it because he is a product of white supremacy and a system that is committed to the denigration of Black and brown people. He did it because to be Black in America is to be a target.
Hell, it’s hard to be Black anywhere, and there are people who say “there’s only one race: the human race.” Well to them, I say “there’s only one seat: the one you should have.” If we were once race, then Black and Brown people EVERYWHERE would not have to continuously fight to LIVE. From the United States to the Dominican Republic to South Africa. If we were one race, people wouldn’t be so scared of Black power that they gun us down in our place of worship.
I have been heartbroken since the Charleston shooting, raging out on social media and finding myself unable to write 500 coherent words about it. I’ve just wanted to cuss to the high heavens because this is utterly deplorable. I have been stewing in anger, and I feel it in my bones. A long-time reader of THIS blog lost two of her family members in that shooting. I AM ANGRY FOR HER. And for all of us.
Meanwhile, as per usual people are already fixing their mouths to call for peace, invoking the name of Christ. Man, please. Remember that even Jesus flipped a table. Christ was DONE with folks’ shenanigans.
They captured the terrorist the day after the attack, but I did not feel better. Yesterday at his arraignment, the judge who presided over it even told us to think about the thug’s family members because they will need help too. NO SIR. Shut your ass up! And then the family members of the victims got up and spoke about forgiving the person who took their loved ones.
And here I am. Further angry that they even had to do that. So I ranted on Twitter. Here it is.
By the way, if you’d like to help right now, donate money to Emanuel AME Church. Go to their website and the link is on their homepage.
*shakes tambourine *
WOW!!! I believe that both of these things have to occur, forgiveness and the anger about the system that has caused this to occur. We can forgive and still be angry…
Let us be in the fetal position sometimes. Let us cry to the heavens. Let us not have to care about others’ feelings so we can take care of ourselves. Let us not have to preach mercy and peace-keeping in the middle of evil inflicted upon us
This statement I agree with 100%, however the forgiveness HAS to happen, that is how we take care of ourselves.
So much to say – however right now all I want to say is I admire how you can express yourself…while I may not agree with everything you said, you have a powerful voice. Keep talking…
I’m all the way with you on this! It’s like they’re saying look the families forgive him. Let’s move on. No, let’s stay here awhile. Grieving is a process that I’m sure takes more than a few days to get through. I wish we would give ourselves permission to be damb human and feel our feels.
Thank you for writing this . I felt the same way . I am a Christian, but getting tired of folks stepping all over and getting their way . While I do forgive , I do not forget . Now when someone crosses me after I’ve forgiven them a zillion times, I make a decision to keep them at a distance , minimize interaction with them , whether it be a prior friend , coworker , even a family member. Yes, even blood family . I no longer allow anyone to drain away my happiness.
When I heard the whole forgiveness thing in the media , my hood/ratchet response was ….” Ain’t no forgiveness bih…”
“Let us be in the fetal position sometimes. Let us cry to the heavens. Let us not have to care about others’ feelings so we can take care of ourselves.” This made me weep.
I don’t have to write the blog I was planning, because Awesomely Luvvie did it better. Much respect. Thank you for this!!
I am from SC and I still can’t. I just can’t. The past few since Trayvon have been so trying for me. I am enraged. I am hurt. And mostly I am scared. I fear for my 16-year-old son who is just as naïve as I was at 16 – thinking that the world was better, different, good. IT IS NOT!
I am so tired of being tired, and hurt and scared and angry. So, so tired.
Same here. My son is 17 and I have been full of fear since Trayvon. The stress is unbelievable. I’m tired too Sis. Desiree.
I was watching PBS Newshour yesterday and Judy Woodruff starts talking about the Charleston shooting and the family’s forgiveness with “Well the good news…” Bish whet???? No! There is no good news. That animal probably held hands, bowed his head, prayed (to who?) then opened fire. There is NO good news from this. He is a by product of white supremacy and that terrorist attack was Wednesday’s manifestation of it.
I was actually just having a conversation with a coworker about this whole situation (we live in SC and this tragedy has hit the whole state from Charleston all the way to the Upstate) and she made an interesting comment. She said that she’s been praying for all the families involved, both the victims’ and the shooters’ because, as she put it, “They raised a monster and now the whole world knows. Even Christ prayed for heathens.”
The way I see it, this is one of those “forgive, but don’t forget” situations. I forgive this monster and all the other ones out there because I refuse to let the hell in their hearts sow hell into mine, but just because I forgive doesn’t mean I’m not sick and tired of this open season on me and my people.
That judge might as well have told those families “Don’t come in here getting all uppity just cuz ya’lls people been killed”. Before they could even say “I forgive you” to that piece of s*** that fat bastard on the bench had to make sure THEY knew what the terrorist family was going through and how THEY should consider their pain too. I know they feel as Christians they have to forgive, but damn now … really?
I have been waiting for this post… I kept coming in and out of this site; don’t know how many times I did so.
I couldn’t go past the first paragraphs. I don’t dare go through the comments. I am crying. I need to cut my heart wide open to you all and offer it in pain.
As I have stated countless times, I am white and I am an Argentine living in Brazil. Thus, I am not part of the “Black American community”. But right now I feel like getting drunk and forgetting I am a member of the human kind at all. And yet I KNOW it is not what should happen.
Why should I be ashamed? Several reasons. For my kinfolk. For the whole human race. For whites, non-whites, and everyone alike. For the police forces, the intelligence forces, the trillions gone into “intelligence” which is way below intelligent. For the world media comparative silence. For the protests and demonstrations when other killings were perpetrated and the lack of public outrage so far. For the media, again, endeavouring to get a picture of this animal. For the names and pictures of these nine victims not having made the front covers of every mainstream newspaper and publication worldwide. For the comparative idleness.
I do believe in forgiveness. We can do it. But Justice should not. People’s faith should allow it. The legal system of the United States of America should not. President Obama spoke some brave words on this. I don’t usually comment on America’s politics, at least not outside my circle of friends and personal acquaintances. Republican presidential candidates have stated their “unwavering” support to the right of people to own and carry guns. I am disgusted.
But most of all, I am heartbroken. I fight my tiny fights every day here to help open people’s eyes on the issue of race/ethnicity or whatever you will call it. And I am not part of the oppressed, persecuted or decimated Black community. I give my tiny little speeches every day on the issue of women and their rights and how they are not treated equally. And I was born male and identify in gender and feelings as one. I cry out my little rants every single day on the issue of freedom and equality. And I will not shut the fuck up. We need to protect each other. We must care for each other. Even though there are unhinged individuals who will try to break us down, and even when there are monstrous sons of a herd of bitches out there who will tote guns and threaten. We can not back down.
Please accept my love in my own name and the name of my friends and family, as well as the millions of human beings who do not hate, just live and try to love.
(and please forgive any typos or errors, I’m just too moved to revise)
The depth of your concern shows through your words, and I thank you.
@Marcelo N, thank you for your true compassion.
Not many words needed, Ms Luvvie, you knocked the ball out of the park!!! When is “enough actually enough”! This is a sad situation. School and church are supposed to be a safe haven for our kids and us. Those days are gone but for us as Blacks, it never was anyway. I live in Birmingham and I’m reminded of the bombing of the 16th st baptist church. My heart is sad for the families of those slaughtered by that TERRIOST. I’m also patiently waiting for those who will call this TERRIOST a “thug”! Your point about Michael Vick made me wanna shout! A dogs life is worth more than a Black life. This is almost too much to handle. I saw some stats on how high crime against Blacks has gone wayyy up since President Obama took oath of office… The numbers are staggering!! When is “enough truly enough”? Where are our offsprings of our freedom fighters of the 60’s? Where are the offsprings of those who were attacked with hoses and DOGS, yet they continued to march on! Where are the offsprings of those who were hung on a tree because they fought for equal rights? Even JESUS recognized that He had a devil in His mist and he called him as such… His name was Judas! His words were “didn’t I choose all 12 of you and 1 of you is a devil”? My Lord was/is not a push over by any means. He called it like it was! Thx Luvvie for not being afraid to speak your mind!
I agree Luvvie. I am a Christian but forgiveness is not in me right now. I am angry that these families felt as if they have to speak out. Damn it! They need time to mourn the death of their love ones. They should be allowed to do that. That white Judge probably part of the hate group himself. He can go to hell with his other folks. I am so angry at the hatred and murder of my black and brown people in America.
See, forgiveness and the perpetrator still having to face the consequences of his crime are not mutually exclusive. Don’t know if I would be able to stand up in court and proclaim my forgiveness in public either…….. Ça alors!
Thank you Luvvie!!! I was about to get on Twitter and rant, cuss, and hollar. You did it so much better than I ever could.
I am a full believer in forgiveness, because it promotes self-healing. And hating the perpetrator does him no harm at all. Forgiveness for one’s own sake is the thing; slinging something at him gets you both messy. But as for my own petty prayer, I won’t wish ill on anyone, but next time you stub your toe/get a papercut/get cut off in traffic/get strapped down for the lethal injection, I hope I’m the first thing on your mind.
Thanks for voicing what I am feeling. I am a disabled Veteran and this has rocked me to my core. When a white friend of mine called yesterday I could not talk to her. I knew I was angry but that confirmed it. I went to Facebook and made the following post. “The only victims are the nine people whose life was cut short and their grieving family.” “Racism is taught”. Finally fuck that judge I got his message he was sending to his Klan.
I feel the same Luvvie. I am so tired of Black people always willing to forgive the enemy. I found myself bristling every time I heard the family members stating they forgave this monster. Meanwhile the White Supremacist are laughing, slapping each other on the back and having a good old boy time about how this subhuman took those nine black lives.
I feel you, Luvvie.
I feel you.
I understand not holding onto hate, because I’ve seen people be eaten alive by hatred over lesser things.
But, forgive him?
No. I don’t think so.
Tell him that he has his own spigot in hell coming to him.
Ya know, what a number of white Americans are grappling with even more now with this Charleston shooting, than say others, is that this “kid” (oh and fu…those calling these grown azz 21 year old man a “kid”) views as expressed are not that far removed from their “crazy” uncle/cousin/brother or Fox News watching mother/father/grandparent.
So what makes this dude different than their relative or good friend? Well its gotta be “mental illness’, or bad parenting or drugs or tv or Internet. Cause hey sure my blah blah tells racist jokes or talk about “those people” taking over the country or what about that “n***** in da White House” or them people on welfare. They talk about “taking their country back” too.
I mean who doesn’t have a “crazy”, racist, bigot blah blah in their family….doesn’t everybody?Hell naw.
This terrorist took it further than ur “crazy” relation, but he started as they are doing now…and most certainly learned hate from someone.
That’s what some white folk are having trouble dealing with after this massacre in Charleston. That’s what Fix News/GOP pols/white Christian folks are grappling with now. It’s got to be anything but the hate and jokes and rhetoric that’s been spewing for years in “polite company”.
So the killer had a manifesto…and now the family is blaming the internet, FauxNews/Conserv/RWNJ are still trying to blame Obama, or war on Christians (but wait the killer is a Christian aint’ he!)
Like I said last night…It too much for some white folk to handle, that this killer has the same or close to the same attitude and views as they themselves have expressed or someone they love or “respect” has expressed. But hey, no way would their family do what this killer did…
But hey, what about that grandson or nephew or young cousin who’s listening at pop-pop’s knee, or who’s playing with their toys on the floor as ole cousin Raymon’ spouts off about “heritage and the Confederacy”…
Hate begets hate. Racism is learned/taught.
Couldn’t agree more on the issue of learned racism/bigotry. It is just every good person’s duty to teach otherwise.
My condolences again
When that judge sat there and made that comment about that monsters family, I to throw a chair at the t.v.. For real for real for real. I would have stood and totally disrespected him and that whole court. I would have said fuc him, fuc that monsters, and fuc his family. Because no matter how bad they have it, theIr son is still breathing. Am so freaking mad. Sometimes we need bazh Mister head in Nd worry about heaven later.
“Black people are emotional superheroes, man. But also, this whole “be strong” thing is killing us softly.” Yes, this. Luvvie, it is like you were reading my mind. Thank you for all of your excellent and on-point writing you have been doing these tough times.
This shooting is something that defies human comprehension. The fact that he took his demented azz up into a church and sat there for an hour before shooting them and then had nerve to tell one woman that he was leaving her alive to tell what he had done has really left me feeling deflated.
I have not been commenting a whole lot about it because I do not know what to say. But I will say that those families are better than me because had some pitiful lunatic killed anyone that I love then forgiveness would not even be in my vocabulary. To hell with him and those like him.
I just hope that this is not the beginning of a long & bloody summer because there have been too many instances of violence against Black folks — one right after the other — and folks are going to start retaliating at some point.
My heart is so very heavy about the whole thing.
Fuck him, fuck the judge and fuck his parents. I hope his life is long and torturous. The ideas in his manifesto are the same shit we read under the fox’s news, reddit and other comments.
I wouldnt forgI’ve shit, also fuck that judge I hope he loses someone he loves to violence so someone can spout the same bulls hit he said that day.
I live in Charleston and the thing that burns me up about this massacre is that NOBODY is addressing what this lunatic said about black men raping white women. When was the last time anybody heard about that happening? If a black man does rape a woman, she’s likely to be black, not white. I’ve heard it said that criminals rape/kill where they live. This has been one of the biggest lies told to keep racists spewing their filth. I’m sure it happens a few times but it’s not an epidemic. So the first thing this idiot says is that “you rape our women and are taking over our country.” Then he shoots an old woman FIRST. Why kill six black women if he’s convinced black men are the problem? This was political as well racial because the person the killer asked for first was the pastor who was also a state senator. He sat down next to him. And the last I checked, we black folks aren’t running A THING. Who has all the businesses, the political clout and all the money? Sure ain’t us! So what country are we taking over? In terms of numbers, we aren’t that many in a country of over 300,000,000 people.
You’re so damn right! I was shocked at that freaking bullshit comment about rape as well.
I know these are times of mourning, not to go on a sociology/politics chase, but hey, such lies left unrebutted!! It’s just the way the world of racist/classist lies is made to turn by the likes of the mainstream media, awful bigots like this monster and his ilk, and whoever else will have it. And there are so many helpless people out there to pick it up unwittingly, like children, the ill-informed, the lesser educated and the inarticulate. Bless their souls. We must continue to try our utmost so that this sort of venom won’t reach any further.
I am angry and pissed. I am petty to the highest petty degree. I still roll my eyes at a coworker who cced my boss on something she shouldn’t have. I will be fighting the urge to drop kick a white dude w a bowl cute for a while! !
Luvvie, you speak our minds, our hearts, our souls, and our truth. Your voice is so important in these times and we greatly need it. Sincerely, thank you for this!
“I know forgiveness is for YOU. Which is why that statement of forgiveness doesn’t need to be in the media. It makes THEM feel better.”
Thank you. When the “forgiveness parade” first hit the news, I told my husband that I was feeling some kind of way about it. It reminded me of when Matt Lauer interviewed Trayvon Martin’s parents and asked them if they, “as Christians,” forgave Ziimmerman. He then seemed a bit put off when Mr. Martin didn’t answer in the affirmative. I have yet to hear ANY white victims of crime asked if they forgive the perpetrator. It really angers me that WE aren’t allowed to have human emotions. We have to be stoic and saintly all the time; even when we are being constantly crapped on.
BTW I am Christian and I believe in forgiveness, but IMO it is a personal thing that must be done in one’s own time; and it doesn’t need to be done “out loud” to be valid.
Let the church say Amen!!!!!!
I’ve been lurking for some time, but this, this right here is the ragefilled rant that has been bouncing around my head for years. ..
And subscribe button has been pushed.
Luvvie, I am so grateful for your eloquence. Thank you for finding the words when so many of us tried, and just could not.
Over here on the other side of the pond, at the weekend, I opened a Saturday newspaper and saw an article headed up with the words, “Relatives of the dead forgive gunman who wanted to start a race war.”
I supposed it never even occurred to anyone that perhaps something like “Distraught relatives of the 9 shot in worship at Charleston church meet gunman in court” might have been more befitting.
It is sickening and inhumane that the focus for too many people is on ensuring that White people don’t feel guilty, rather than that Black people aren’t tramatised out of our everlastingly loving hearts and minds!
[…] This morning, as I was reading through Facebook posts, I was jolted out of bed with one by Luvvie. She questioned why the Charleston shooting victims’ families would forgive the killer. […]
Thanks for finding the words to express my sadness and anger when I could not.
A white friend told me that I needed to be careful with my rage because the white people that are interested in “helping” with the social justice movement might not really want to if we are going to criticized them. I told him that
1. Racism is not my problem, it’s white folks problem
2. If they were interested in social justice, it would be be because its the right thing to do, not because he is “helping” us in some way
3. The fact that you even thought to make that statement shows your privileged.
4. Black folk are entitled to their pain, rage, and mistrust.
You didn’t see the families of the victims of the Boston Bomber on TV talking about forgiveness, you didn’t see a rally in Newton CT talking about forgiveness.
I simply have no more cheeks to turn.
This, this and this above!!
I have done the forgiveness boat ONCE. I don’t think I can do it again. And I don’t have mercy for demons.
Times like this I’m relieved that I am not a Christian – don’t even have to wrestle with the whole forgiveness and turn the other cheek mantra. I don’t want to just turn that table over – I want to pick it up and beat that murderous bastard to a pulp with it.
Thank you! Forgive that animal? Never!
Black people are supposed to forgive this terrorist for this heinous crime because “it’s what Jesus would do.” O_o Meanwhile America’s slogan for 9/11 is “Never Forget” and resulted in a war with like four countries.
We’re supposed to “get over it” in three days? Nah. FOH.
“Meanwhile America’s slogan for 9/11 is “Never Forget” and resulted in a war with like four countries.”
Oh, Chevonne, I’d hug you breathless right now!!!
Maybe it’s just past high time y’all did some Rethinking America? (no offence meant, please!)
I had to de-lurk and bow down… this post is everything and oh so true. I don’t understand why we are supposed to always suck it, made to feel guilty for our feelings, or treated like we are the ones who have the problem when we respond to people behaving in a disrespectful manner towards us. And this happens in just about every type of social situation we are in with other races. I don’t accept it and am quick to get folks back in place when it happens to me. I am not angry, just fed up with this bullshit and disappointed how far we have NOT come after all this time. All hail the queen.-Your Humble Seven in Pettiness T
“You can forgive the person who did you wrong but Black folks always got to make their statements publicly so White folks can feel better.”
Luvvie, this is so true.
And it’s got to stop; not the forgiveness part, but the way that our precious people are apparently expected to put our feelings and humanity to one side, “extra early” to make sure that those treating us with depravity and savagery can continue to feel good about themselves!!
“Black trauma is never given space to heal because we have to make sure the white people who hurt us don’t feel too bad about it.”
Opened another paper yesterday, and saw “It’s not evil or madness – but only in America”
The words beneath in the article, included, “The silly boy posing with guns and burned flags….”
The silly boy??!!
And it seems Operation Protect Brand White People continues…
It’s sad as “black people” we are considered a strong race mentally, physically, and emotionally so why wouldn’t they take advantage of that and keep pressuring us to forgive and forget… they (Racists (because not everyone is a racist some have hearts) are the abusers we enable them to keep doing it because we rub their backs and say “it’s ok I forgive you i shouldn’t have been standing on the corner with an Arizona ice tea while you throwing your temper tantrum anyways… just wait a couple weeks and go do it again” it’s sickening the hope of we should get over it because we’re strong is getting old… sometimes the abused gets tired and fights back.
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I still can’t, and based my my compounding reaction each time some BS , like this happens I don’t expect I’ll ever get over it. I’m still fighting air, still cussing in my head and lining up all the folk who want to mitigate this nonsense with “mental illness”, lone wolf, war on “faith” for a “Moonstruck – snap out of it” slap!
Especially for those who persist in calling him a “kid” or “boy” (at 21) when these same folk were adamant and arguing about Mike Brown (at 18) being a “grown man”. *fights the air, some more!*.
Larry Wilmore Show 6-23 (S1-Ep34?), Joe Morton as Papa Pope: https://youtu.be/cBZrNY–ObA
[…] About Charleston, Forgiveness and Black Pain […]
And another thing, we are “expected” to forgive OUT LOUD, in public to the mass media. I do understand forgiveness and why we as believers are required to do so…. It’s for OUR SAKE and NOT the sake of the other person/people. Also it is written “we forgive so that we can be forgiven”, NOT TO MAKE THE PUBLIC feel better. I have NOT read his manifesto because it’s all the same rhetoric like the others. My point, and I’m about to address it is I’m a almost 24/7 History channel and the likes viewer. 90% of the time they are doing a special on the holocaust, 90%!!! I’m a history buff so I know from wince I speak, and NOT ONE TIME have I EVER heard them ask a survivor “to forgive”!! NEVER!!!! Even tho Catholics, gypsies, disabled (mentally or physically), and gays were slaughtered in the MILLIONS, we only hear about what happened to the Jews. You never here them talking about forgiveness and they talk about it SO MUCH is because they want generations to come to REMEMBER what happened and REMIND THEM that if you don’t watch your back, IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN!! Right now, I’m feeling so many things but most importantly what am I to tell my 3 young grandsons?! They are at the age of innocence so as they grow and start paying attention what the heck am I suppose to tell them when they ask me “what were your generation and the generation behind you doing when that flag been flying over the capital building for 200 years”? My message now is don’t forget and don’t feel guilty about remembering!!! When other ethnic groups “REMEMBER” it’s accepted but when WE REMEMBER it’s like “Black People, get over it and move on! Why are you guys so hostile”?! As some wise person once said “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it”. Heaven help us!
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I support you fully in your refusal to forgive, and your determination to speak loudly and angrily. Thank you for this post.
Wow just wow. I really love this blog but one thing I cannot wrap my mind around all the racism towards whites that comes from you. No I’m not here taking the monster’s side, I’m here about all your comments about whites as a whole. Product of privilege? You would know maam considering you brag about growing up well off in Nigeria with “a maid, a driver” blah blah blah. YOU have had more privilege that 99% of the rest of us, black and white, in this country. The truth is you can’t possibly relate to the majority of ANYONE who is underprivileged in this country, so stop acting like some ghetto queen when really you’re just another beyonce using her skin color alone as a ghetto pass. DONE.
[…] would like to thank Luvvie for calling out black bloggers who have been silent. We may not have written before today but we […]