Something is happening to black churches around the southern part of the United States of America, but not very many Americans are aware of — much less talking about it. But why? The Political Garbage Chute wanted to know, and so we reached out to 250 Americans via email, cell phone, landline and traditional string-and-can methodologies, to find out just why no one seems to be talking about the spate of fires that have consumed now seven black churches since white supremacist and winner of the 2014 America’s Dumbest Moe Howard Lookalike contest Dylann Roof assaulted the First Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine of its congregation.
“I just want to be consistent,” Barry Threft of Galveston, Texas told our pollster. “I mean, I’m an American and I was born at a time after slavery and during the civil rights movement, so I just got used to everyone else paying attention to the plight of the downtrodden African-American community, and I’d like to keep it that way. Do you have any idea how hard it is keeping track of four fantasy football leagues when you’re being bombarded with questions about systemic racism, culturally ingrained discrimination and a never-ending cycle of the same,” Threft asked rehtorically.
Mary Glenwald of Spring Hill, Minnesota told our interviewers that “it’s not like [she doesn’t] care about black people” but that she is “too busy watching reality TV competition cooking shows” to be “bothered to check-in on the societal problems created by centuries of slavery, another century and a half of systemic and open discrimination, and then another half-century of willful ignorance on top of that.” Glenwald insists she’s “just being consistent” so that she doesn’t “end up being the person who starts caring about the plight of the black people in this country and tips the scales and all of a sudden we’re like doing stuff about it.”
“Hey, we have a black president don’t we,” Lawrence Schumpert of Rock Gorge, Mississippi asked our pollster. “I mean, as far as I can tell, that means we’re so post-racial that racism technically doesn’t exist. So even if there were, say, hypothetically seven black churches that burned down, since we know that racism doesn’t exist it wouldn’t have been for any racist reasons that the churches burned. Ergo, I don’t have to pay attention, so neener-neener,” Shumpert insisted.
While speaking to us from his home in Coral Grove, Florida, Mickey Carter told us that “the Supreme Court already told us back in 2013 that racism’s dead” and that he “stopped caring about the plight of the African-American community after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas convinced me that it’s all the poor black people’s faults for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps like the rest of us do,” Carter’s interview with us was cut short as he had to go check the mailbox for his Social Security check.
“I’m not racist, I swear I’m not at all, I have black friends,” Jane Cousins of Flintwick, Iowa told us. “It’s just that I’ve never been forced to confront the idea of whether there are truly two Americas — the one for the white, normative people, and the ones for the ‘other’ category is all. I mean, is that privilege? I guess so, in that I’m privileged to never have to really deal with whether or not we’ve actually made enough progress in wiping out the horrible damage we did to the black community, so I haven’t paid attention to the churches burning because why would I start thinking outside my ivory tower existence now,” Cousins asked.
“If I can’t be bothered to question why black people make up less than a third of the population white people do, yet have been shot by cops at a rate that implies the populations would be much closer in size than they are,” began Terrence Phillips, “then why the hell would I pay attention to a few churches burning. I mean, the other day a white church had someone break a bottle in the parking lot, and that didn’t make national news. It’s like, if I have a white pride parade all of a sudden I’m a supremacist, but the black folk get entire one month — the shortest month — of the year to teach us about their history? Sure, the other 11 months of the year we teach our kids about white people doing shit, but this racial way of looking at things simply has to stop,” Phillips exclaimed.
A man who only wanted to be identified as “Tony S.” told our interviewers that it’s “unfiltered gobbledy-gook and bimbly-wimbly-boo-bah-ism” to imply that Americans don’t pay enough attention to the black community because “think of all the blacks playing professional sports.” According to him, “it’s a sure-fire sign of the hinky-stinky-stoodle-woodle-doodleness of progress that so many black people aren’t being lynched anymore” and that “since we have at least a handful of the blacks in Congress and the White House no one need concern themselves with the consequences of letting a subsect of society drift in and out of concern, only bringing us out of hiding when the oppression gets so bad that riots break out where tensions have risen so high as to have no other ribbity-pibbity-libbity-squibbity way of resolving themselves.”