Jesse J. Holland, AP, June 19, 2015
The weariness, the rage, the depressing conviction that black life is stuck in a murderous loop fueled by racism–these emotions resounded in black America after the deadly shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nine people who had gathered to pray in one of the main sanctuaries of black life–the church–were slain.
This, following a string of black men killed after coming into contact with police officers in cities across America and racist actions on campuses. Even though African-Americans are long accustomed to dealing with difficulty where their race is concerned, the confluence of events appeared to be taking a toll.
“We really are a people who are suffering from racial battle fatigue,” political essayist and commentator Chauncey DeVega said Thursday.
President Barack Obama, too, sounded weary.
“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times,” the nation’s first black president said Thursday. “Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.”
The Charleston slayings followed nearly a year of heightened racial tensions that began with the death of Michael Brown, 18, who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. It flared up in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, in Cleveland after the death of Tamir Rice, in Staten Island, New York, after the death of Eric Garner.
To Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, the Charleston attack serves as yet another reminder that there’s “racial tension, racial conflict and, in some places, racial hatred in this nation.”
“It just underscores the fact that we have a lot of work to do,” Morial said.