The system of white supremacy has left the United States in a precarious situation, one in which hateful policies inflicted on people of color around the world have been retaliated against through vicious acts of terrorism both domestically and abroad. But before we point fingers at foreign enemies, we must examine the motives and thoughts that have birthed acts of terror right on American soil.
Our country has been referred to as a melting pot for many years; a place where anyone can assimilate into an American “norm,” an idea that has been framed by a Eurocentric framework. Luckily, a growing number of people of color are refusing to accept this norm and are challenging the common narrative of “White is right.” White America notices this shift, and it scares them. The Washington Post recently published an article highlighting a significant number of white Americans- 43 percent to be exact- who believe that discrimination against whites has become as large of a problem as the discrimination against blacks and other minority groups. Many of the people polled claimed to be nostalgic of the 1950s, a “simpler” time for whites, and quite horrific for anyone else.
The overwhelming support of Donald Trump is the largest indictment of how far white fear has spread. Following the Paris attacks, Trump proposed a plan to ban Muslims from the U.S., which would begin with implementing a Muslim tracking system in the United States. Since the attacks, there have been 38 hate crimes against Muslims or people who “looked Muslim.” Additionally, 2015 has been recorded as the deadliest year for American Muslims, with 63 attacks on mosques thus far. Trump’s racist ideology extends past Islamophobia; it also targets Latinos and justifies ideas of eradicating undocumented immigrants by labeling Mexican immigrants in particular as rapists and criminals.
Trump could not exist without the support of millions of Americans, so vilifying him is not the answer. Our problems are deeper than one political figure, we are getting a terrifying peek of deep-seated prejudices that have spiraled out of control due to racism fueled by a fear; a fear of losing supremacy and dominance; and many people have proven they will go to great lengths to maintain the status quo or, at least, an illusion of power.
Dylann Roof- the murderer of 9 black church goers in South Carolina this year-was considered to be an anomaly, but the mainstream media failed to cover the eight churches that were burned in the local area within a ten day period after the massacre. Moreover, we didn’t hear much about the six black churches burned within a nine-day period in St. Louis, Missouri during the month of October in response to the Ferguson protests. These are more than strange coincidences; they are acts of terrorism.
White fear is killing us both on an individual and state level. This year’s statistics shows that U.S. police kill one American every 8 hours, and these killings are racialized. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population yet they are victims of 26 percent of all police shootings. Meanwhile, Native Americans are also being killed at alarming rates by law enforcement. According to an article published by The Free Thought Project, “While Native Americans only make up 0.8 percent of the population, they make up about 1.9 percent of all police killings. It has become a cultural norm for people of color to be subject to state-sanctioned killings, so much so that a seemingly obvious statement such as “Black Lives Matter,” needs to be asserted, screamed, and defended repeatedly. Many times the citizens killed are unarmed, but according to police accounts, they still felt like their lives were being threatened, and a great number of the public remain sympathetic to these murders.
State-sanctioned murder is terrorism. Bombing places of worship is terrorism. Terrorism has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with wielding power over others through fear tactics and death. Oppression is not selective, and we have a responsibility not only to people who look like us, but to any group of people that has been told by society they are inherently defective based on their culture, appearance, or beliefs. We must unite against white supremacy because it’s a system that will not be satisfied until all that is unlike it is silenced and erased. Remember that terrorism begins on American soil. Our voices are needed to change the course of history. The time is now.
Featured Image: Michael Vadon via Flickr Creative Commons