Political commentator Bill Maher expressed his disgust with political avoidance of the word “racism” in regard to the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17. On Maher’s weekly program Real Time, he asked the assembled panel if denial of racism is in fact racism itself.
Maher’s heated inquiry came two days after Dylan Roof, 21 and a self-proclaimed white supremicist, entered an historic Charleston church and shot nine African-American members to death. He was arrested in Ashby, North Carolina after spending 14 hours on the run.
The incident has raised conversation about the confederate flag that permanently flies over South Carolina’s capitol building. Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez suggested that removing the flag would be a good first step in the healing process, which was met with resistance by both political and non-political southerners.
Joy Reid, correspondent for MSNBC, was as frustrated as Maher regarding racism. She said the fact that Roof was wearing white South African flags over his clothes and clearly stated that he was there to kill black people made the crime racist.Roof was arrested after a woman recognized him in his car and called police. She tailed him until officers stopped him and took him into custody.