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The Double Standard On White Terrorism

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The Double Standard On White Terrorism

Dylann Roof, White Terrorism

White terrorism is not as bad as Muslim terrorism.

That, believe it or not, was the crux of an argument Sean Duffy, a Republican representative from Wisconsin, made last week on CNN. What follows has been condensed for space, but it unfolded like this:

Asked by anchor Alisyn Camerota about the Trump regime’s failure to condemn a recent massacre in which six Muslims were killed by a white extremist in Quebec, Duffy allowed that, “Murder on both sides is wrong,” but insisted, “There is a difference.”

That difference, as he sees it: there’s no white extremist ISIS or al Qaida fomenting terrorism. What happened in Canada, he said, “was a one-off.”

And the Oklahoma City bombing?

“So, you’ve given me two examples,” said Duffy.

And the Charleston church massacre?

“Look at the good things that came from it. [Then-South Carolina Gov.] Nikki Haley took down the Confederate flag. That was great. But … there’s no constant thread that goes through these attacks.”

Of course there is.

“Domestic right-wing terrorist groups often adhere to the principles of racial supremacy and embrace antigovernment, anti-regulatory beliefs.” So said Dale L. Watson, then the executive assistant director of the Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence Division of the FBI, in Senate testimony way back in 2002.

Duffy is wrong about pretty much everything else, too. No white extremist groups fomenting terror? What do you call the Aryan Nations and the Ku Klux Klan? The Southern Poverty Law Center has tied one group, Stormfront, to acts of murder and terror that have killed nearly 100 people.

As for Duffy’s belief that white extremist terror is somehow rare, well, the 1996 bombing of the Atlanta Olympics, the 1999 attack on a Jewish community center near Los Angeles, the 2000 killing of five people in greater Pittsburgh to protest “non-white immigration,” the 2009 murders of three Pittsburgh police officers to oppose a supposed national gun ban, the 2012 murder of six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin., and the 2015 killing of three at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, (to name a few), argue otherwise.

Go further back and there is the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that killed four little girls. Go beyond these shores and there is the 2011 attack in Norway in which 77 people died.

Terrorism is defined as the unlawful use of violence to coerce or intimidate a government or a people in furtherance of some social or political cause. But for Rep. Duffy and others that seems to apply only to swarthy individuals with difficult names. When white people do it, it is less likely to be perceived — or reported by news media — as terrorism.

This double standard reflects not simply America’s xenophobia, but also America’s maddening insistence upon the blamelessness, the fundamental innocence, of whiteness, even when the evidence screams otherwise. “Look at the good things that came from,” the Charleston church massacre, chirps Duffy, as if lowering that odious flag somehow — what? — balances things out?

Imagine how offensive that must be to anyone who lost someone in that church. The lengths to which some will go to protect the fiction of innocence are staggering.

White terrorism is not as bad as Muslim terrorism?

Well, because of white terrorism, Emily Lyons lost an eye, Abdelkrim Hassane’s three young children lost their father, and Cynthia Wesley, age 14, had her head torn off.

So they might beg to differ.

IMAGE: June 17, 2015: A white supremacist gunman kills nine black churchgoers during a Bible study session at a historic, predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect Dylann Roof is awaiting trial. REUTERS/Jason Miczek/File Photo           

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

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  1. Godzilla February 15, 2017

    No mention of Chicago? Wow, what a freaking racist pig. Maybe you loser Liberal’s should ask Chicagoan’s what it’s like to live with their special form of terrorism. But then that would be admitting the failures of Liberal Progressive policies. wouldn’t it….hypocrits.

    1. marriea February 15, 2017

      The gang violence in Chicago is more akind to the type of gang violence in Chicago during the 20’s and 30’s.
      It is sad and maddening that so many young kids are ‘collateral’ damage is involved, but this gang war but is different because it’s not a gang war per se as it’s a block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood type thing.
      There is a ‘you kill my family member or friend so I retailate type thing’.
      You come on my block and sell drugs then I will sell drugs on your block.
      I wish it would go away also, but with the lastest shootings of kids under 13, maybe folks in those areas will start to point out the offenders if for no other reason than self-preservation.
      I suspect many families know who the persons involved are in their own families, but lets be clear, there is a thing about families not wanting to ‘snitch’ on their own familiy members breaking the law, and it’s not just among blacks.
      Since you want to make it a ‘liberal’ ‘progressive’ bias policy, how many member of say the KKK, or Nazi like parties are going to tell on their member?
      Both are wrong.
      If someone kills someone, then they should be held accountable, period.
      But you seemingly suggest that just because you don’t hear about it in the news about white doing it, it doesn’t exist, it’s not happening.
      The Canadian killings involved a white guy.
      It seemed like the media was waiting on the identity being a Middle Easterner,
      When it turned out to be a person with right wing Alt Right ties, that story was killed.
      Why is that?
      If you’re gonna comment on one, comment on all.
      Neither is good and all are wrong.

      1. R.E.A.L Human Rights February 15, 2017

        75 percent of terrorist plots and / or attacks on the U.S. homeland over the past 8 years have been by radical Islamist extremists. That’s why people jump to such conclusions. It is simple math. Considering that American Muslims represent 1 percent of the population and extremists from their identity group account for 75 percent of terrorist plots and / or attacks on the U.S. homeland over the past 8 years – yes there is a real problem there. There are problems with other extremist and terrorist threats too, but it would be absurd to ignore the biggest problem today.

        1. Faraday_Cat February 15, 2017

          You are attributing one number from a report to a different measure. 75 percent of attacks have been committed by citizens or legal residents, only 1/3 of all those attacks were muslim extremists:

          “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims”


        2. marriea February 15, 2017

          One does not have a lot of activity if you are only in the 1% of the populaton
          However one must take into account that anything involving whites involved in having mutiple killings are pretty much downplayed. Why is that?.

    2. The lucky one February 15, 2017

      Ahh. Goonzilla, still a fool I see.

      1. iamproteus February 15, 2017

        Leopard..spots…you know the drill.

  2. Dan S February 15, 2017

    So the takeaway is white terrorism is less traumatic than Muslim terrorists ? ????

    1. xena44 March 10, 2017

      My take is that terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. Duffy is downplaying it. Not the author .

  3. William LJ Clark February 15, 2017

    Born and raised in Missouri, this Duffy joker don’t show me (being nice) diddle!

  4. 11thStPopulist February 15, 2017

    Sean Duffy apologizes for long term white supremacy terrorism because he is a fellow traveler, like most in the Trump administration. 168 people alone murdered in Oklahoma City, including 20 babies, and very small children, from the hero of the alt-Reich Timothy McVeigh. Learn your history people.

  5. R.E.A.L Human Rights February 15, 2017

    We need to continue to challenge White Supremacism extremists and those plotting terror/committing attacks like any other group. But in recent times (the past 8 years), those plots and attacks have represented a significant minority of the total plots and/or attacks. R.E.A.L. has recorded 85 notable terrorist plots / attacks, and out of those there were about 14 plots and/or attacks or 16 percent out of the 85. Referring to terrorist attacks in the previous century is not a credible argument. Here are the recent ones, and I am including “radical anti-Muslim extremists” in here, although one could also argue they are focused on anti-Muslim hate, rather than racial white supremacy.
    1. 2009 Maine – Dirty bomb parts found in slain man’s home – James Cummings (white supremacist, Nazi)
    2. 2009 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum attack: James Von Brunn – U.S. citizen (white supremacist/Nazi)
    3. 2010 Florida – pipe-bomb attack outside Islamic Center in Jacksonville – suspect Sandlin Matthews Smith shot dead in Oklahoma (Anti-Muslim Extremist)
    4. 2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple attack: Wade Page – U.S. citizen (white supremacist/Nazi)
    5. 2011 Washington Spokane – terrorist bomb plot on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March – Kevin William Harpham (Nazi white supremacist)
    6. 2014 Overland Park Jewish Community Center attack: Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr. – U.S. citizen (white supremacist/Nazi)
    7. 2015 Charleston church attack: Dylann Roof – U.S. citizen (white supremacist)
    8. 2015 New York – threats to attack “Islamberg” mosque in Hancock – Robert Doggart, U.S. citizen (radical anti-Muslim extremist)
    9. 2015 Lafayette Louisana attack – movie theater attack by John Russell House, U.S. citizen (Nazi, white supremacist)
    10. 2015 Minnesota – Minneapolis shooting attack on BLM protest 4th precinct – Allen Scarsella, Joseph Martin Backman, Nathan Wayne Gustavsson,and Daniel Thomas Macey – U.S. citizens (charged with riots, assault, no fatal injuries) (white supremacist)
    11. 2015 New York – Rochester – bomb maker leg injured while making bomb – Michael O’Neill, U.S. citizen (white supremacist, Nazi)
    12. 2015 California threat against Richmond mosque – William Celli – U.S. citizen (radical anti-Muslim extremist)
    13. 2015 California mosque firebombing attack – Carl James Dial Jr. – U.S. citizen (radical anti-Muslim extremist)
    14. 2016 Kansas apartment and mosque – anti-Muslim terror plot – Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright, Curtis Allen – U.S. citizens (radical anti-Muslim extremists)

  6. R.E.A.L Human Rights February 15, 2017

    I know of no basis for the author’s claim that Robert Dear’s radical anti-abortion terrorist attack was based on racial white supremacism.

    1. Faraday_Cat February 15, 2017

      Author called it “white extremist terrorism”, which is correct terminology as the attacker was white, his position was extreme (religious), and the attack was terrorism. I don’t believe the author was equating the fact that the attacker was white with racist views, just as an example that not all terrorism is carried out by non-white individuals, as Duffy was trying to argue.


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