Skip to content

Racial violence, hate crimes, and “Us”


By Dr. John E. Warren | Guest Oped

The recent slaughter of Black people at the TOPS Grocery Store in Buffalo, New York carries a number of messages for those who are paying attention, even in our grief.

First, we see another young white male, convinced that it’s okay to arm himself and seek out people of color to kill for no reason other than who they are. We saw this at Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina where a young white male entered a Black Church and killed nine people in a Bible study. We saw a white male in Texas drive several hours to a Walmart Store and target and kill Mexican shoppers for no reason other than their ethnicity. We saw a young white in San Diego County go to a Jewish Synagogue with the intent of killing many, and killing one worshiper.

We have seen another church in Texas, at a different time, have 27 worshipers killed on a Sunday morning, without race or ethnicity being a factor. They were all White. We also saw that the very next day, this past Sunday, six people were shot while at church in Laguna Woods, California with one fatality. We are told there have been more than 200 mass shootings so far this year. Hate Crimes are on the rise.

Now, the real question is: “What do we do about it.?”

The answer depends on who you are, not where you live. There are no safe places left. If you are Black, one of the first things you notice is that White mass shooters appear to be taken alive, even with guns in their hands.

While Black men seem to get shot for the slightest police encounter such as an air freshener hanging from a rearview mirror or a simple traffic stop. The White teenager in Michigan who shot and killed classmates was taken alive.

The killer of the worshipers at Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina was taken to a McDonald’s during his extradition back to South Carolina because he was hungry.

The Buffalo shooter had been to the store the day before and a Black man bought him a soda because he was thirsty. His response to that person: ‘Will you be here tomorrow?’

We saw White Supremacists rally support around Rittenhouse after he killed two people during the Minnesota protest and we saw the judge manipulate the jury so that he was acquitted.

Now, what is the point of all this? A reminder so that you will begin to think seriously about the Racial Violence, Hate Crimes, and how this affects each of us, as well as our options.

Second, let us realize that there is a connection between whether or not we vote and the attention, funding, and respect we receive as members of the national community. We can’t stop those who are elected to office or hold the public trust with badges and uniforms from being racist, but we can stop them from gaining and holding office and we can vote them out of office. But we have to care enough to focus on the long-term outcome which will remove such people if we vote and let it be known that we will be voters from now on.

Third, we must come to grips with the fact that we are targets at all times, whether shopping, praying, or just going about our daily lives. This does not mean we live in fear, but in awareness for ourselves and those around us. We must discuss, develop and teach “active shooter plans;” start observing those who are observing us and consider arming our households, not carrying weapons so as to fuel the violence and efforts on the part of some to start a race war.

We must rethink how and where we spend our money. We don’t have to accept “redlining” and targeted zip codes when we can question and avoid doing business with those who use such tactics against us, even if we have to be inconvenienced in our spending.

The political primary season is upon us and those who are against us are stacking the ballots and preparing for what they hope will be a political future that gives them more power. This week’s key primary is in Pennsylvania and on June 7, it will be California’s turn. “Us” can make a difference now and change the national mood which is encouraging racial violence and hate crimes.

Where are you on this?

Dr. John E. Warren is the publisher of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.