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Racism Within the Fort Hood Incident

A Socially Speaking Commentary

November 6, 2009

By Perry Redd

We should all be thankful that we had the opportunity to see racism in its reality.  CNN aired on Larry King Live, a panel discussion on a very serious subject, the mass shooting at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.  With that said, we should be appalled at the subtle racism displayed in this interview.

A U.S. soldier, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, opened fire on fellow soldiers, killing 12 and injuring 31.

Larry King explored the psychological aspects of a horrific act such as this one, and the proverbial “can of worms” was opened.  Former POW Shoshanna Johnson took exception to the speculative perceptions that Ofc. Tom Kennif made.  Dr. Phil McGraw did also…So did a hell of a lot of Americans:

  • Just because he’s a higher rank, we ought to be congnizant that we assume that he wasn’t the target of racist and insensitive jokes based on his religion and descent
  • We fail to look at people—regardless of status—as people; Kennif saw the credentials…dismissing the fact that shooter’s rage can happen to anyone
  • Labeling this act as “terrorism” is a white alarmist tactic—based in fear—that we cannot embrace; there have been numerous mass shootings in this country (just over the past three years, that I’ve tracked) and for what ever reason, those have not been labeled as terrorism—even though many have been white males who’ve committed them
  • Kennif insulted PFC Johnson by (1) challenging her service, and—he’s a National Guardsman, (2) not even realizing that she was a high-profile and celebrated POW—who served in the same war he did (Larry introduced the panelists)!
  • The JAG officer couldn’t even respect the sister!  Is it because she’s a female or because she was black.   She had first-hand knowledge of the issue at hand: PTSD stress of war), direct combat (she was shot, he never held a gun in Iraq) and a minority (target of insensitive, societal- dominate whites)
  • Beside the fact that Kennif was a JAG officer…out of harm’s way!  A coward…a clear indication of classism
  • We, as people of color, run the risk in taking on those same white, racist perceptions
  • Even Dr. Phil (more respected than the lawyer) immediately recognized the dangerous undertones of Kennif’s incendiary remarks…the seeds of hate


This interview was poorly assembled by CNN’s staff.  Kennif had not real place there.   Johnson had good reason to go “sista” on him.  Dr. Phil earned his “necessary white, liberal” credentials, for without concerned and realistic whites, black people would still be in chains, or at least “Jumpin’ Jim Crow”…

I watched it in real time, but reviewed it on Facebook…check it out.  America, we need to call racism what it is.  Subtle or Overt, it’s still devisive and racist.  This is not “post-racist America” and we need to quit faking like it is.  Using 9/11 (or the Healthcare debate) to bring back “the good ol’ days” of Bull Conner, J. Edgar Hoover and Strom Thurmond is unhealthy for my country.  Tom Kennif proved that.


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