If You Haven't Watched Jon Stewart's Charleston Monologue You Need To
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Politics and Activism

If You Haven't Watched Jon Stewart's Charleston Monologue You Need To

If You Haven't Watched Jon Stewart's Charleston Monologue You Need To
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Heartbreaking reports of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina have been all over the news this past week. Nine African-Americans, brutally murdered by a white man motivated by hate and vicious racism. Politicians, reporters, public figures, and comedians have been unsure of how to respond. It's beyond unsettling to have to face the fact that racism still exists in our country, and violent acts of hatred spurred by this racism still occur. While our country has struggled with our response, Jon Stewart, a comedian known for his satirical approach to drawing laughs from news stories and interviews with celebrities and politicians, delivered a monologue at the beginning of his June 18th show that strayed greatly from his usual style. If you haven't seen it already, you need to watch it now:

"I honestly have nothing, other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other in the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn't exist."

In his monologue, Jon Stewart expresses the concern that even after acknowledging the continuing prevalence of racism in our country, we still won't have the courage to do anything about it. He explains that when other countries have attacked us through acts of terrorism, we have responded swiftly and harshly through extreme methods in the interest of keeping Americans safe. So what do we do when nine people are shot, in a church of all places, in our own country by an American citizen fueled by racial hatred?

Jon Stewart has opened the door to some important questions.

Will the outrage over this horrific event last longer than the story is on the news? If it doesn't, what does this tell us about our society? What if we overcome our fears and take the risk to have honest conversations about racism in America? What would it look like if we don't forget about the events in Charleston?How can we stop pretending that racial indignities don't exist?

Every year on Martin Luther King Day, we take the time to remember and appreciate Dr. King and how far we've come since he delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech on August 28th, 1963. But how far have we really come? Nine African-Americans were just murdered in an act of racial hate while they were praying in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. On September 15th, 1963, shortly after Dr. King's speech, four young African-American girls were killed (and one more seriously injured and permanently blinded) by a bomb while they were preparing to take part in the Sunday service at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. 16th Street Baptist Church was a prominent church that had served as a rallying point for the African-American community since its construction over fifty years prior to the bombing. (For more information about this bombing, one of many sparked by intense racism in the 1960's, see here). The similarities between these two hate crimes are alarming. It could even be argued that the Charleston shooting is even more disturbing than the historic bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church, as the attacker brutally murdered his nine victims face-to-face after he was welcomed into their church and sat with them as they prayed for an hour during their Wednesday night bible study.

Sadness and bewilderment. Confusion and disgust. What can we do to end racism in America? To keep talking about it and stop pretending that it doesn't exist would be a first step.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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