19 Jun, 2015
By Terrell Jermaine Starr
Who gets labeled a terrorist is usually a product of race, theirs and white-dominated newsrooms.
So far, we know that Dylan Roof, a 21-year-old white man, is in custody in connection with the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, S.C., where nine people were killed. Images of Roof circulating on social media show him wearing a black jacket bearing the flags of apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia, both known for their histories of state-sanctioned racism and terror against black majorities.
The Daily Beast reports that a high school classmate of Roof’s said he “made a lot of racist jokes.” Sylvia Johnson, cousin of the pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (who was one of the dead), says a survivor told her Roof said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. You have to go.” For many black people, it is clear that Roof’s alleged actions are an act of terror, making him a “terror suspect,” not a “shooting suspect.” But so far most media outlets have referred to Roof as the latter.