By Willie James Jennings (A)theologies, Front Page, Remapping American Christianities, StoriesJune 26, 2015
Dylann Roof was wrong. The race war isn’t coming. It’s already here. It began the moment the very first old world (proto-European) citizen stepped on the shores of Africa and the Americas and other soon-to-be-colonized places and said, “God has given this land and these people to me. This is mine.”
The belief in God-given possession flows like a vampire virus through the veins of this country. We eagerly draw lifeblood from as much of the world as possible, in land, natural resources, and cheap labor. What does it mean to be born in a place that measures your value, your worth, your very life by the calculus of possession? That calculus extends through time to us from those founding greed-filled moments invading our waking consciousness and driving us forward in a strange confession.
We believe in competition born of the desire to possess. We believe in striving against others for the sake of survival and growth. We believe that excellence emerges from struggle, from the isometric pressure of opposing forces pushing against each other with all their strength until weakness of mind, body, idea, institution, and company are rubbed away through the heat generated by life forces exposed in conflict.
We could associate many names, schools of thought, life philosophies, or corporate policies with this confession, but its origins are irrelevant at this point. What is crucial is its embodiment, because it is poison. Europeans coming to this country began drinking this poison as they joined their bodies to a civilizing machine operating on two sites. The machine worked on the land and at the bodies of indigenous peoples clearing and killing away all that it deemed counterproductive. It also worked on immigrant bodies killing and clearing away all that could not be turned completely into whiteness.
Whiteness—that form of life that is also a way of seeing life—emerged not as a fixed identity but as a striving, a goal to be accomplished, and for many an achievement to be celebrated.
But not everyone has achieved their whiteness. Some cannot achieve it. Others do not want to attain it, and some live in constant frustration in their failure to secure it. Whiteness depends on possession and the possibilities of increasing possession. Enter Dylann Roof. Many have tried to narrate his assassinations inside a story of psychosis and terrrorism sprinkled with racism, so that we will see his actions as extraordinary evil.
Read more at http://religiondispatches.org/dylann-roof-was-wrong-the-race-war-isnt-coming-its-here/