New Republic Editor: ‘Black Bodies Are Under Assault’ In America

In the wake of the horrific racially motivated shooting on a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina last week, CBS News Sunday Morning hosted liberal New Republic editor Jamil Smith who argued that “black bodies are under assault” all across the country. 

Reporter Martha Teichner spent much of the piece detailing the tragedy, which included the deeply held racist views of the shooter before she wondered since the country elected President Obama “weren't we supposed to be past all that?” 

The CBS reporter suggested that despite America electing the nation’s first African American president, our country still has deep racial wounds: 

In Chicago, on the night Barack Obama was elected there was a sea of jubilant people, black and white. I think a lot of people thought that it was a turning point that we had reached a post racial America. 

After Jamil Smith argued that Obama’s election “certainly didn't make racism go away” Teichner quickly tied the Charleston shooting to other deaths:

According to CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in May during the unrest in Baltimore following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, 61% of Americans, the highest percentage since 1992, believed race relations in the United States are bad, up from just 38% in February. 

So does the race factor makes Mother Emmanuel killings different from Adam Lanza’s massacre of school children in Newtown, Connecticut? Should this latest incident instead be seen alongside the police shootings of black men, including Walter Scott in North Charleston a few miles away in April?

The New Republic editor eagerly used Teichner’s comments to assert that African Americans are under siege across this country: 

It’s all part of the same threat. Black bodies are under assault and whether it be from 21-year-old “lone wolves” or they be from the police, we need to understand the urgency of that.

Last week, Smith expressed similar sentiments where he wrote “a hated people need safe spaces, but often find they are scarce. Racism aims to crowd out those sanctuaries; even children changing into church choir robes in Alabama have been blown out of this world by dynamite.”

See relevant transcript below. 

CBS News Sunday Morning 

June 21, 2015

MARTHA TEICHNER: In 1822, Denmark Vesey, one of the founders of Mother Emmanuel, organized a failed slavery volt he and 34 coconspirators were hanged. Angry whites burned the church down. Symbols of black power, black churches have often been targets. More than 300 were bombed in the 1906s. But weren't we supposed to be past all that? In Chicago, on the night Barack Obama was elected there was a sea of jubilant people, black and white. I think a lot of people thought that it was a turning point that we had reached a post racial America. 

JAMIL SMITH: I think that those people were fooling themselves. 

TEICHNER: Jamil Smith is a senior editor at the "New republic .”

SMITH: The people in that crowd celebrating understood what a pivotal moment that this was. That Barack Obama, as a symbol, offered a lot of hope. But that said, it certainly didn't make racism go away. 

TEICHNER: According to CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in May during the unrest in Baltimore following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, 61% of Americans, the highest percentage since 1992, believed race relations in the United States are bad, up from just 38% in February. So does the race factor makes Mother Emmanuel killings different from Adam Lanza’s massacre of school children in Newtown, Connecticut? Should this latest incident instead be seen alongside the police shootings of black men, including Walter Scott in North Charleston a few miles away in April?

SMITH: It’s all part of the same threat. Black bodies are under assault and whether it be from 21-year-old “lone wolves” or they be from the police, we need to understand the urgency of that. 

BARACK OBAMA: The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together. 

TEICHNER: On Friday, President Obama tried to connect the dots between race, mass shootings and gun control. 

OBAMA: I know today's politics makes it less likely that we see any sort of serious gun safety legislation. I remarked that it was very unlikely that this Congress would act and some reporters I think took this as resignation. I want to be clear, I am not resigned. I have faith we will eventually do the right thing. 

TYLER: I don't think that this tragedy is about the gun debate, personally, I don't. The Birmingham bombing, it wasn't a gun it a bomb. 

TEICHNER: AME Pastor Mark Kelly Tyler. 

TYLER: It’s just eerie how all of these things, you talk about then and now seem to kind of mirror those moments. So is it a turning point, I would just simply say this, I hope that their lives have not been lost in vein. It's already a tragedy but it would be even more of a tragedy if nothing good comes out of it. 

TEICHNER: Charleston, South Carolina is known as the holy city because of all of its churches. After Wednesday's shooting, there may have been anger but there was no violence. Only people gathered together peacefully. To mourn. And pray.

NB Daily Race Issues Racism CBS Sunday Morning Martha Teichner

Sponsored Links