“Turns out people get angry when you say white Americans are terrorists, too”

“Some of them objected to our decision to call the terrorists “white Americans” instead of “some white Americans” or “white American extremists.” Without qualifying the term, they argued, we were claiming that ALL white Americans were a terror threat. Other readers worried that the headline, though correct, was unnecessarily divisive. Some thought it was unfair to focus on racial data when the study’s summary didn’t call attention to it.
Other readers reported us to Facebook for posting hate speech. They called us racists and race-baiters. They said we were ignoring “white genocide.” They asked why were weren’t talking about “black-on-white crime.” One person threatened to file a discrimination lawsuit…
Al Qaeda killed almost 3,000 people on 9/11. The United States’ subsequent military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq — and more limited counterterrorism operations in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen — have meant the US public has spent over a decade imagining the enemy to be a foreign Muslim man with an AK-47 or a suicide vest. Combine that with a 24-hour news cycle that privileges simple narratives over nuance, and with policymakers who have too often shown a lack of knowledge about the history, politics, and cultures of the places where the US wages war and sees threats — and you’re looking at some entrenched, perpetually reinforced stereotypes about Muslims, Islam, and terrorism…
Roof’s mass shooting sparked renewed controversy over the continued importance of the Confederate battle flag to some white Southerners. While that debate has gone on, eight historic black churches have burned. At least two of the fires have already been ruled arson. If it is what it seems to be, will we call it terrorism? Will we call the people who did it terrorists?”


The scariest thing about this, to me, is that I read this and put the post on my schedule a while ago — and today, when I am posting it, it’s deeply relevant for the moment because of ANOTHER deadly terror incident: The murder of 5 people at a planned parenthood by another white man motivated by ideology.

I am, however, so glad to see this increasing exploration of white male rage and the social systems that connect these men and their successful orchestrations of mass shootings. And people are really starting to look at the impact that they are having on whether or not people can feel safe — looking at this pattern of targeting black churches, Planned Parenthoods, and college campuses.

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