On Domestic Terror and White Supremacist Hate Crimes - Legally Bold

On Domestic Terror and White Supremacist Hate Crimes

domestic terrorism and white supremacy

“Our past is bleak. Our future dim. But I am not reasonable. A reasonable man adjusts to his environment. An unreasonable man does not. All progress, therefore, depends on the unreasonable man. I prefer not to adjust to my environment. I refuse the prison of ‘I’ and choose the open spaces of ‘we.'” – Toni Morrison

These were some of the headlines on Buzzfeed this week in no particular order:

  • Zillow Is Buying and Selling Lots of Homes and it’s Almost Half It’s Business Now
  • At Least 22 People Were Killed In A Shooting in El, Paso Texas, That Officials Describe as a “Hate Crime”
  • This Women Found a Genius Way to Text Body Pictures
  • Nine People Are Dead and Dozens More Were Injured in a Shooting in Dayton, Ohio
  • All Those Texts You Receive From Political Campaigns Actually Work
  • The Garlic Festival Shooter Killed Himself Contradicting Police Claims That Officers Fired The Fatal Shot
  • Trump Blamed This Weekend’s White Supremacist Terror Attack and Mass Shooting on Everything But Guns

Buzzfeed presented all of these headlines on it’s “news” page with equal weight and billing.  But the problem here is that the importance of each story is not equal.

Given this moment in our culture, the President’s racist, misogynistic rhetoric, and the fact that, since January 2019, there have been at least 17 mass shootings according to ABC News (248 if you use the definition of mass shooting as defined by the mass shooting Wikipedia page), the white supremacist terror attacks in Gilroy, CA, Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas should be all we are talking about.

Racism is killing America.  Yet, we are all still moving along as if  3 mass shootings in 7 days is a normal part of American life.  

Here’s what should have happened instead…

  • The President should have declared this week a national week of mourning.
  • Officials should have closed businesses, schools, and banks.
  • News stations should have provided round-the-clock coverage of the fight for justice surrounding these crimes included profiles of victims, exposés on white supremacy, and interviews with gun control experts.
  • Congress should have been called back in session to vote on an emergency gun control bill and federal legislation on white supremacist terror attacks.
  • We all should have been allowed to stay home and grieve as we deal with the anxiety of wondering what happens next.

Instead, the media gave us those headlines right next to articles announcing the next season of Keeping Up With Kardashians.

As for me, all I can think about are these deaths, and here’s what I know for sure.

Every heinous period in our global history begins with ever-increasing hateful rhetoric and acts of violence until it reaches its final climactic moment. That climactic moment is usually more violent and horrific than anyone could have anticipated, and only after seeing that violence, do we fight back and change things.

The incidents this week make me feel like we are leading up to that climactic moment today, but my plea is that we make a different choice. 

Just because we see history repeating itself doesn’t mean we have to go over the cliff with it. We can stop ourselves, and Americans can instead decide to grapple with the question of why it continues to define itself by, and rely on, racism.

Of course, the particular type of racism facing our current landscape is nothing new. Every generation has experienced the shock, horror, and anxiety of living in a society that claims to hold “liberty and justice for all” as its highest value on one hand. While at the same time enslaving, killing, raping, imprisoning, firebombing, mass shooting, brutalizing, unarmed murdering and otherwise victimizing anyone that isn’t white and male on the other.

But at this moment in time, when we all believe ourselves to be more conscious and loving. Where people meditate, practice yoga, drink kale smoothies with almond milk, hire life coaches, and are “beyond meat” in their burger choices, it feels like the dissonance between those two realities is too great to bear.  

In fact, I won’t.  

Instead, I will pray that we lean into the more conscious part of ourselves, pulling us toward a more tolerant and loving future.  And I’ll use my little platform in the internet universe to advocate and feel more because nothing else deserves more of our attention than this.