By Armand Manoukian
The mentality of Americans towards terrorism has changed since the September 11th attacks. Terrorism has become a threat that many fear every day. The issue with this fear is that Americans have associated it with a certain face. A Muslim American kid built a clock to show his teacher and was called a terrorist. Innocent refugees who are trying to make their way to America are called terrorists. Random kids, in schools all across the country, just because of their names, are called terrorists. We are so ready to pull the trigger on “potential” terrorists based on a few characteristics that we fail to see terrorism when it really happens.
Those armed white men who took over a federal building in Oregon are terrorists. They are a militia, an enemy of the government. Yet, we see sympathetic media coverage that includes little freakout, little call to action, and absolutely no response from the federal government.
Take a second and imagine what would happen if a group of Muslim American activists took over any sort of federal building with weapons and demanded, much like the white Americans in Oregon, a list of very ridiculous things. How would the country react? How many presidential candidates would propose banning Muslims? How many news pundits would frame an entire religion into one mold of violence and intolerance?
What many Americans believe terrorism is, and what the numbers really show us, are two different stories. NBC News reported a statistic via Twitter that showed that the biggest terror threat in the United States are white people.
Not the Muslim Brotherhood.
This double standard doesn’t exists only in terrorism or only with Muslims, either. It exists all around our country, for example, the way the nation collectively reacts to mass shootings. When Dylann Roof shot up a black church in South Carolina, the police took him into custody without firing any shots, without using an insane amount of force, and without doing anything illegal. According to multiple reports, the police even fed him Burger King while he was in their custody.
Just imagine if a black person shot up a white church. National outrage and media pandemonium would take place as an entire race would be labelled as thugs. Rather than show the picture of him with his high school diploma, they would show the one taken at a house party 3 years ago that was found through some prowling on his cousin’s Facebook.
Meanwhile, every time a white, Christian man is the perpetrator of national tragedy, it’s an issue of mental health. He was a loner. He didn’t do well socially. He was angry because he played too many violent video games. Never mind that Dylan Roof, the South Carolina church shooter, has several pictures of him holding the Confederate flag. He didn’t commit a hate crime, nor is he racist. He’s simply a misunderstood teen.
Everyday, GOP candidates rant on about how there is an “Attack on Christianity” in this country. In South Carolina that day, there was a real life attack on Christianity, yet the GOP rushed to accuse mental health as the real problem.
Unfortunately, they’re mistaken. The real problem is our inability to call things as they are. The Sandy Hook shooting was terrorism. The South Carolina shooting was terrorism. White people can commit terrorism.
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