Friday, April 18, 2014

A Friday Semi-Open Thread: Rachel Maddow Asks 'Why do We Overlook Right Wing Violence and Refuse to Call it Terrorism?' Simple Answer. Because The 'Terrorists' are White

As we did last Friday, do treat this post as a type of open thread and salon where we can talk about all those news items and issues of public concern that were overlooked this week here on We Are Respectable Negroes.

Between paying taxes, my mother's car accident (the fallout from the police report does not bode well...and yes, I did get the obligatory "I am sorry to ask, but do you have x more than a few hundreds of dollars to please help me even though I know you don't" request), and a burst blood vessel in my eyeball from stress or sneezing (more likely the former), this has been one very, very, long week. I am seriously considering getting a full checkup in a few weeks to preclude that high blood pressure caused that sudden malady.

Next week should be better...I hope. I will be sharing a piece on race and the American plutocracy that I have been thinking about since the last big ruling by the Supreme Court. The podcast series will resume next week too. Good stuff.

We talked about the Neo-Nazi murderer Frazier Glenn Miller and the question of engaged and socially relevant pedagogy here. Rachel Maddow's feature on domestic terrorism is a natural companion to that post. 

She concludes the segment with the following question: "Why do we overlook right wing violence and refuse to call it terrorism?'

The shooting deaths of three people at Kansas City area Jewish community centers earlier this week by the noted Neo-Nazi Frazier Glenn Miller has refocused the public’s attention on the violent tendencies of the White Right in the United States.

On the Tuesday edition of her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow concluded a segment on the Republican Party’s deep denial about (and active protection of) its violent “Patriot” and militia wing by asking the following question: why do we overlook right-wing violence and refuse to call it terrorism?

The answer to Maddow's question is simple.

"We" don't talk about right-wing domestic terrorists and other extremists because “they” are largely white and male.

The language used by Rachel Maddow—and how it undermines the scurrilous Right-wing lie that there is such a thing as a “liberal media”—helps to demonstrate the above claim. Once more, a "liberal" news analyst talks around the obvious and is afraid to connect the words "white" and "male" and “conservative” in their discussions of white violence, murder, mayhem, and treason.

Domestic terrorism is an oxymoron in America when white folks are involved. Whiteness imagines itself as kind, benign, safe, neutral, normal, and good. "Terrorism" is something those "other people" do, i.e. the Muslims, or some other ambiguous cohort of black and brown people who "hate American values". Whiteness and the white racial frame are possessed by an acute sense of historical amnesia as well. The most dangerous domestic terrorist organization in the history of the United States was the Ku Klux Klan, a group that killed thousands of black Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Again, Whiteness has the ability to transform and shift empirical reality for its owners and those invested in it.

Whiteness also grants white people in America the freedom to always be a blameless individual. By implication, white people, by virtue of their racial group membership, are incapable of ill deeds as a group. White people who do bad things are just "bad individuals".

Patterns of violence by white people, most notably mass shootings by white men, apparently tell us nothing about Whiteness or white masculinity. Patterns of behavior that should be the basis of a critical inquiry about white culture (a logic that when applied to black and brown people inevitably returns to questions of "pathology" and “bad genes”), is a question that cannot be asked by the mainstream media, or in "polite" circles, as it is considered impolitic.

Because white people imagine Whiteness as normality, to even explore the relationship between race and domestic terrorism is an intolerable offense or social sin that fuels the howls of white conservative victimologists and their knee jerk claims of "reverse racism" and "bigotry" against gun loving American "patriots".

Whiteness is also a type of mass psychosis, one that is predicated on a rubric that those people now considered white (see: the Boston Massacre suspects) can have their racial identity revoked retroactively if they commit acts which are not in accordance with how White America envisions itself as viewed through its own narcissistic gaze.

Ignoring the various pathologies of Whiteness as exhibited by White domestic terrorists is just one more example of how Whiteness hurts white people through a slavish devotion to the profound lie that to be a member of the racial group arbitrarily defined as "white" is to thus be preternaturally good and harmless.

The bodies of many white children have been laid out at room temperature on the funeral slab because of that "innocent" white lie.

In 1860, "Ethiop", an African-American social critic and satirist asked “what shall we do with white people?” The murderous escapades of Frazier Glenn Miller, the growth of white militias, the violent and seditious rhetoric of the Republican Party in the Age of Obama, Birtherism and other types of deranged and paranoid political fantasies on the White Right, and mass shootings and well as other terroristic acts by white men, reinforce the need for asking that question in the present moment.

Of course, there will be no “national conversation” in the United States about “white cultural pathologies”.

How can there be when white people, by definition, are the embodiment of the universal and supreme individual, one for which accountability and questions about “bad culture” are anathema, impossible to consider?

There were many important news items this week. The Russian false flag operation and invasion of Ukraine continues. Ignored by most in the mainstream American media, neoliberalism's march is a key element in the West's great power gamesmanship in Ukraine as well. 

Matt Taibbi, and others--along with great new empirical work by Yale University's Martin Gilens--offers more evidence of how the plutocrats have subverted American democracy.

Racism is not an opinion: African-Americans are exposed to 40 percent more poisons in the air than white people: this is a flat statistic that masks how at least 7,000 black people are killed by air pollution in America each year.

The Koch Brothers, destroyers of the American middle class and enemies of American freedom, have increased the weight of their sacks of ill-gotten lucre.

I have not yet read the book Robopocalypse. I am sufficiently disturbed by this essay which suggests that a rebellion by robots could be inevitable. 

Raekwon the Chef is mad at the RZA and disappointed in the Wu-Tang Clan. A peripheral member of the Wu-Tang Clan cut off his own penis and jumped out of a window. The alternate timeline/viral trailer for the new X-Men movie has caused me ghetto nerd trembling(s) and healing paroxysms. 

What news or other related items would you like to share?


Myshkin the Idiot said...

I refer to Islamic terrorism as a conservative movement. I see the right in America as much the same as political Islam.

That Clive Bundy character, people standing with him, fighting the government the white privilege way.

Scopedog said...

ROBOPOCALYPSE isn't a bad book--it's certainly one of the better SF novels I've read in some time (along with the English translations of YUKIKAZE and ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, the novel that the film EDGE OF TOMORROW is based on).

There's another "apocalyptic" novel that celebrates it's 50th anniversary this year--Sakyo Komatsu's VIRUS. The English translation has been stateside since 2012, and it's probably one of the grimmest, most downbeat novels I've ever read--but it's a damned good one. I'd also recommend Project Itoh's GENOCIDAL ORGAN, a frightening near-future novel.

And I'm not too worried about the changes made to get DAYS OF FUTURE PAST on screen. The X-Men "filmverse" is different from the "comicverse" anyway. All I want is a good movie--and the new trailer looked great to me (and I loved that "Kashmir" was the BGM!).

lioness said...

Marcotte wrote about the conservatives' "special relationship" with the law yesterday:

On a tangential note, the Louisiana House of Representatives took a bill that would allow adoptees more access to their birth certificates that adoptee-rights' advocates had lobbied for heavily, and in the last minutes before passing it added amendments that would significantly lessen that access, thus confirming our legal status as second-class citizens.

joe manning said...

Note conservatives flocking to the defense of Clive Bundy's "Sovereign Citizens" as if its patriotic to reject Federal and State authority in favor of vigilantism. Do righties have an affinity for domestic terrorists? Similarly, conservatives were outraged by the 2009 Homeland Security report of the domestic terrorism resurgence which occurred in reaction to Obama's election and pressured Janet Napolitano into withdrawing the report. Do conservatives consider these vigilante groups to be their rear guard? If it walks and talks like a duck it probably is.

sherifffruitfly said...

and this is why chait says the idiotic things chait says on race

chauncey devega said...

Have you seen the documentary The Power of Nightmares?

chauncey devega said...

What do you think the basic plot is for the movie? "Our" X-men from the original movies are in the "accurate" timeline and the "First Class" X-Men kill Kennedy etc. and thus alter our present somehow?

chauncey devega said...

There are deep and long-standing ties between the various factions of the White Right. The Republican Party has a seditious/treasonous wing that it supports and idolizes. Are there any consequences? No. Their noise machines distracts w. fictive stories about "black racism" and made up Obama conspiracies. The "mainstream" media ignores the huge stories about the rise of the white militia movement. Liberal media...Yeah right.

chauncey devega said...

Because the Wu-tang Clan is in crisis? Just had to ask :)

Michael Varian Daly said...

Oh yes, several times, along with its crucial companion piece "The Century of The Self".

Scopedog said...

Hmmm....well, from what I have read (and I'm not trying to spoil things!), it's supposed to be Mystique killing Bolivar Trask that sets things in motion, leading to the "dark" future that's glimpsed in the film. That event is probably what alters the future.

One of the things I loved about X-MEN: FIRST CLASS was the use of the Cuban Missile Crisis as the background--that was a nice blending of historical fact with comic book fiction.

The screenwriter has said that DAYS OF FUTURE PAST would explain the odd things in the X-MEN films, but we'll see. I'm just hoping for a good film that has the soul of the original story.

Courtney H. said...

I'm glad that you brought this up. And this is a good essay. This article is two years old, but it applies to what this essay is saying:

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I haven't. I'll try to watch it sometime, I'm reading a little about it.

joe manning said...

Hence we have the Republican Taliban.

joe manning said...

Corporate media has a heavily rotated counter narrative which functions as a diversion. Libs and cons are brothers under the skin. Both camps have a huge stake in racism.

DanF said...

Tough week. Take care of yourself (and do get that BP checked!).

Artificial Intelligence (assuming it can be realized) has a distinct advantage over our wet brains in that advances, insights, facts, data, can all be instantly communicated, evaluated, and incorporated. Robots won't have political fights over Climate Change. The idea would be ludicrous as they're likely to have less bias to objective reality due to the overwhelming data they not only have access to, but can process. Emotional arguments would most likely carry far less weight.

Humans need to fear if we are viewed as a problem. I suspect we'll be kept as very clever pets in far fewer numbers.

Miles_Ellison said...

White people who blow up stuff and kill people are patriots. Any non white people who do the same thing on a smaller scale are barbaric and must be exterminated.

Black Sci-Fi said...

I found the Republlican/TP open admiration of Putin during the Syria crisis, and beyond, to be the ultimate act of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

They have moved from a party of NO (The "NEW' Lost Cause?) to the party who would gleefully endanger the health of poor and middle class whites by denying them ACA and Medicade coverage to now, (drumroll, please) the party that openly supports the militaristic actions of a despotic RUSSIAN President.
In some parts of the world that's called TREASON. So, it is a fair assessment to say that white domestic terrorism is being downplayed by media who support white supremacy, even when they and their children are the majority of the victims.

Courtney H. said...

Thank you! These need to be called out as the traitors that they are!

Courtney H. said...

Oops! It should be "these people."

skilletblonde said...

Did you catch Melissa Harris Perry, Saturday? She attempted to tackle the subject, that is, in a manner corporate media permits. But when one her guest, a Muslim woman, declared that men like Miller or Bundy -were not descibed as terrorists, because they were white men, Melissa appeared to panic. She sort of went off in a professorial rant. In the end nothing was accomplished.

Later that day I watched Craig Melvin down play the domestic terrorist label, as well as Karen Finney. To deny the truth, is a staple of Mainstream Media. It is especially sickening to watch African Americans do this. However, when white males are caught spewing blatant hate speech or acts of terror, or violence, there is always an attempt to protect their dignity. After all, they aren't really bad, they're white. I believe it was journalist Brian Roberts who described white, supremacists terrorists, like Randy Weaver and McVeigh ,as Uber Patriots. Barbara Walters glowingly described Tim McVeigh as "All American with Sapphire Blue Eyes, and Blond Hair." David Duke was once featured in Vogue Magazine with a title that went with something like "Hate with a Beautiful Face,"

The truth is America has a love of fascists and racists. After all, they are diehard supporters of capitalism. For example, compare and contrast, how the police evicted the unarmed Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zuccotti Park? Now look at how the weaponized Bundy Terrorists were coddled? Here is another example. On March 21, 1993, the Washington Post printed an article from the Associated Press, titled " Military Spied On King,Other Blacks, Paper Said." The article originally appeared in the Commercial Appeal, a Memphis newspaper.

The article basically states that the United States Military had been spying on African Americans for 75 years. It centered on Southern Churches. The spying on Martin Luther King began with his maternal grandfather. It further states, the Army used wiretaps and information from the Ku Klux Klan to keep track of the Civil Rights Movement's leaders. Now listen to this?: "U2 SPY PLANES ALSO WERE USED TO GATHER INFORMATION ON CIVIL RIGHTS DEMONSTRATORS THROUGHOUT THE 1960'S, PAPER SAID."

The reason for the spying , according to the Army, and you'll love this folks, "Blacks were ripe for conversion by German agents during World War I, and later by Communists, and anti- war groups." How about that? Also, General William P. Yarbrough said, "Blacks were using the uncertainly of the Vietnam period and taking advantage of it." Obviously, the General was off his rocker considering African Americans were approximately 10% of the population, but one out of ever 4 soldiers, in Vietnam.

As you ponder over the Bundy and Miller crowd, please remember this? On April 4, 1968, the day King was killed, 8 under cover Green Berets were present in Memphis to spy on him. The unarmed King who lead a peaceful movement of unarmed citizens to ask America to simply obey its constitution -instead of ignoring it. For this they were often the victims of violence and death. Furthermore, as you know, law enforcement has no problem shooting black men 41 times for a wallet or throwing a trashcan. Yet, white, right-wing terror, with guns blazing, and bombs exploding, lives on unscathed.

Courtney H. said...

Thank you for informing us about this stuff. This is scary as hell!