Thursday, February 18, 2010

suddenly show tact when discussing white people who commit possible acts of terrorism

 This is a guest post by Big Man, who blogs at Raving Black Lunatic.

Real quick y'all.

I'm watching the coverage of this plane crash in Austin. The one where a dude flew a plane into the IRS building after burning his house.

And everybody is falling all over themselves not to call this cat a "terrorist."

It's "possible terrorist-related activity" but it's not terrorism and he's not a terrorist. What the hell?

How can you fly a plane into a building out of spite, and have folks call it "suicide by plane?" That's like calling it "suicide by portable chest bomb."

Why are media folks wondering if the FBI needs to be involved since it's a local crime? Really son? Trying to kill federal employees on federal property is just a "local problem" now?

I bet if he had a Muslim surname it would be terrorism. Yep, wouldn't be no question, just like the first thing you heard after the Fort Hood shooting was about how dude should be called a terrorist. But this white dude is heated at the federal government and attacks that same government by targeting innocents and he's not a terrorist?

Oh, hell naw. Just no. Stop it you hypocritical bastards. Just stop.


  1. EXACTLY, Mason. Thanks for writing this post.

    This is an act of DOMESTIC TERRORISM and nothing else!

  2. Whoa, glad you like the post, DIMA, but please note that Big Man wrote it, not me.

  3. Thank you! if it walks like a duck talks like a duck and crashes a plane into a IRS buliding then that duck is a terroist tell it like it is!

    But of couse since the dude name isn't Ahmed, therefore does not fit the image of what a terrorist is its something else.

  4. and they're just calling him a "disgruntled engineer"

  5. I thought the exact same thing when I saw this story moments ago.

    I am usually a lurker because I use my Psp as a medium to read articles but I can't even count the number of times the white people on screen said 'This is not an act of terrorism so there is no need to get up in arms'.

    Had his name been Mohammed then this would be breaking news on all channels but because the picture they showed was of a white man playing a guitar it's a local thing that doesn't need to be treated the same way a terrorist attack.

  6. When I read about him on CNN I had the same reaction, I swear the article had 5 different places where they said he was not a terrorist, some are even justifying his grudge against the IRS. How is this any different than the Oklahoma city terrorist bombing? Less victims but still a federal building.

  7. Preach!

    For f*cking sake! There are some people calling it an act of patriotism?! It's only an act of patriotism when its a white guy right?!

  8. I can't believe some are calling it an act of patriotism. It is an act of treason and terrorism.

  9. This shit boils my blood.

    Honestly!? I totally agree, if this man had been a -gasp- muslim, EVERYONE and their mother would be taking notice.

    Comparing the descriptions between the Fort Hood shooting "muslim" "act of jihad" with "Man angry at IRS crashes plane into building"

    I'm sure the media will be forgetting about this in less than week


  10. LMAO!

    ...and that white professor in Alabama was just having a "troubled youth". Trust me, we should all know the MSM isn't slick, so prepare for heavy rotated back-stories into this guy's history...

  11. See what I mean...most of time when a white person commits a horrendous crime, the media will try to brush over it really quickly and make it seem like he was just an angry, mentally disturbed guy or in some effed up way a vigilante hero/cowboy. I have been watching the news and they spent very little time or didn't even make a big deal about what happened in Texas (they are making the excuse that no one died except probably two people). However, if it was someone, for example, a Muslim, they would be covering it for days, maybe weeks and many would be trying to prove that he was a jihad terrorist and blame the entire Islamic faith.

  12. whooooo thank you

    Only in American can a white man burn down his house and fly a possibly-stolen plane into a IRS building after writing a "suicide manifesto" and NOT be called a terrorist.

    I tried reading that inscrutable mess, and only the end was clear:


    So... he left his teenaged daughter homeless for this mess?

    This is not comparable to the man at Fort Hood. At least Major Nidal Malik Hasan served his country when his country failed to serve him.

  13. Then let's not let them forget.

    I think we should roust the blogosphere into a frenzy and demand he be branded a terrorist. I bet the people he crashed into think he's a fucking terrorist!

    Seriously - everyone, go back to your blogs and rant. Ignore the temptation to laugh at the IRS. The "IRS" wasn't getting hurt today. The 190 innocent people who nearly died, were probably also disgruntled employees, and who sure as hell didn't sign up to get killed at work - they got hurt!

    Fuck Andrew Stack, fucking terrorist!

  14. Well what do you expect. CNN is just a hop, skip and jump away from being Fox News. At least Keieth Olbermann on MSNBC has enough balls to call it what it is....DOMESTIC TERRORISM. That man tried to kill his family before he did that mess. SO sad.

  15. If a Black/Middle Eastern profesor shot some people and a week later a Black/Middle Eastern guy flew a plane into an IRS building, many white people would be ready to start building internment camps.

  16. People refuse to see that this guy isn't some "crazy lone nut" and is a product of segment of the population. It's only a matter of time before he's being lauded as a hero, probably by teabaggers.

  17. I wonder if they'll blame this on Obama too?

  18. I was JUST thinking about this today. I've been listening to CNN, MSNBC, FOX and other media outlets report this incident as a "suicide". B.S! Flying a plane into a building?!. That's TERRORISM if I've ever seen it. If you happen to die in the process, just chalk it up to incidentals.

    TERRORISTS don't have to only be foreigners.

  19. He is (was) a terrorist. Just like Timothy McVeigh.

    I don't remember anyone having a problem calling McVeigh a terrorist, except for extremists. No, it is not justified to fly a plane into the IRS building because you're mad about losing your life savings. It'd be a suicide even if he'd walked in and committed hara kiri.

  20. How is what he did different from what the terrorists on Sept 11 did? Ok he killed less than 3000 people but seriously, he should be painted by with the same paintbrush as those guys.

  21. I can't even see how anyone could possibly think of him as anything other than a terrorist. Like I don't even have any thoughtful commentary on the subject. It's just a fact. He committed an act of terrorism. He is/was a terrorist.

  22. *sniff*

    Well. Wrote my rant.

    How 'bout y'all?

  23. @Moi: I love the phrase "pink white privilege elephant"! It's perfect.

    My contribution: Let's call it anything other than what it is.

  24. i didn't write it, but a friend of mine wrote his well enough for me to completely co-sign:

  25. Relax, peeps! This is the new "White Collar Terrorism"--you know, like victimless terrorism--or something...

    Well, okay, it's not clear. We're still working the details out. But we're in serious talks with the Tea Baggers about *what* to call this. We may go with An Act Of True Patriotism. Whaddaya think?


  26. I don't think the way this story was spun had much to do with white privilege. No, not this time.

  27. For once, the terrorist lacks a Muslim name and wasn't made in the Middle East

  28. I have maintained for a long time that domestic terrorism is far more probable than most Americans want to admit.

  29. Terrorism (via wikipedia):

    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.

    There is no systematic use in this case (because it is a one man action) and there is no coercion (the guy is dead, he can no longer demand anything)
    Hence, I would not call this terrorism.

  30. @Sherlock:

    Or we could just look up the definition for TerrorIST:

    a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.

    a person who terrorizes or frightens others.

    a person who employs terror or terrorism, esp as a political weapon

    Yea, I think that applies to this guy...

    Side note: based on your definition, the Ft. Hood incident wasn't terrorism either. But of course, you'll probably find a way to prove that it was because the guy was Muslim, right?

  31. They're failing to call it 'domestic terrorism' because we are in a War with Terror since 911. Timothy McVeigh was before this.. and I think the government is afraid to label this guy as a terrorist, as it would imply that the US is now 'at war' with its own people.

    That won't sit well with anyone.

  32. @ Spencer

    LOL & *snort*

    Some minorities in America would say a war started on American soil centuries ago and though it's shifted in form regularly since Madonna-style, it's going on as we speak.

  33. Thank you! When I heard about the attack my first thought was domestic terrorist and I knew that the news would never frame it that way because it was a white dude. So many cases of white dude domestic terrorism gets glossed over and explained away it pisses me off. And this guy flew into a FEDERAL BUILDING! I mean wtf?! If that isn't terrorism and something our government and country should focus on fighting then I don't know what is.

  34. Spencer, my thoughts have been along very similar lines. In 1995, everyone was very comfortable labeling the Oklahoma City bombing a terrorist attack, and Timothy McVeigh a terrorist. This was after first WTC attack, so the US already had firsthand experience with Isalmist terrorists. However, once the U.S. decides to engage Islamist terrorists militarily, suddenly terrorists can only be Muslim.

    I think the problem here is the conflation of "Islamist terrorism" and "terrorism" rather than the war metaphor--Americans are quite comfortable with having wars declared on us: the war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on poverty, the war on illiteracy, the war on AIDS, the war on obesity, the war on Christmas (...she said with a snort), ad nauseum.

  35. I think we're tossing around words and have forgotten what their definitions are.

    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion, according to Merriam-Webster.

    This wasn't terrorism. It was just some entitled white prick whining at the government. But he wasn't trying to coerce it into doing anything.

    Everytime someone gets mugged at the point of a gun (an experience I have had), is that terrorism? I was sure terrified! No, it's just a crime. Crime sucks. But that doesn't make it terrorism.

    Calling someone a "terrorist" is the worst thing we call each other in the public sphere. We don't use nigger, spic, towelhead, kike, or mick or cracker - we call them a terrorist. It's code for what (usually white) people really want to say.

    Well, this kike ho' doesn't care what color/background this a**hole had. Killing people = wrong. What more need be said?

    Yes, if he'd been POC the dialogue would be different. But it'd still just be code. It doesn't make it terrorism - it just means racism is alive and well.

  36. By the way, I was on Field Negro's blog just now and a commenter made an excellent point about Stack.

    What does it say about a man who owns his both his house and his own plane feeling so "disgruntled" he deliberately burns one down and crashes the other?

  37. @ Sigh

    Just because you would like to label terrorism different than everybody else, doesn't mean this motherfucker wasn't a terrorist. How is trying to destroy a federal building and kill everybody inside not terrorism???

  38. @Sigh - Thank you. You beat me to it. To further drive the point home, while there is no unilaterally internationally agreed upon definition of "terrorism", it is generally considered to refer to violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), have a larger ideological basis or goal (does not include a single lone attack), and either outright target or simply disregard the safety of regular folk. This act certainly fits the last piece of that puzzle, but doesn't fit the first two.

    The more we throw the word "terrorism" around, the more we dilute it's meaning and reduce it's affect. This. Was. Not. Terrorism. If you think it was, you're confusing your definitions, and don't really understand what terrorism is. This was a lone attack committed by a frustrated individual with revenge in mind. I wouldn't be surprised if mental illness and/or drugs were involved, but time will tell.

  39. A FOX newscaster had the gall to say "but it isn't terrorism with a capital T" (I blogged about it here WTF, seriously? Ah, terrorism with a capital T, otherwise known as A-R-A-B terrorism, right FOX?


    Thanks for this post, man.

  40. @ Sigh

    ...and yet another dictionary definition is of terrorism is the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

    And so...I respectfully disagree with you. Stack wrote a manifesto denouncing the American government, its healthcare system, and the IRS. He then proceeded to crash a plane into a government building.

    Survey says? Terrorism, and a fresh domestic brand: light on the body, a little pale in the coloring, but definitely brewed.

    Spencer nailed it earlier. I mean, already a JP Morgan Chase bank office got bombed in Athens, Greece two days earlier. The last thing TPTB want is Americans thinking it's open season on corporate and political America. They just don't want the derailed revolution Tim Wise described when recalling the history of white & black indentured servitude to pick up where it left off centuries ago.

  41. They just don't want the derailed revolution Tim Wise described when recalling the history of white & black indentured servitude to pick up where it left off centuries ago.


  42. @ Jillian

    Read your blog. Awesome!!!

    @ Macon


  43. @dvicci re: "[Terrorism] is generally considered to refer to violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), have a larger ideological basis or goal (does not include a single lone attack), and either outright target or simply disregard the safety of regular folk. This act certainly fits the last piece of that puzzle, but doesn't fit the first two."

    Sorry, but by your own definition, this attack IS an instance of terrorism. It certainly was intended to create fear not only among those who experienced it first hand but among all IRS employees who have every reason to be wary of copycat crimes. And the single nut exception doesn't hold water when there is an existing movement that makes taxes and the government revenue system its enemy.

    That this guy is being called a patriot in some circles makes the ideological argument FOR terrorism in your definition, not against it. He may have planned the whole thing himself, but he has an ideological brotherhood that he addressed in his suicide manifesto. And besides, words change definition according to how people use them. The fact that a dictionary or popular opinion might not call this an act of terrorism is irrelevant if it 1) causes actual terror and 2) has so many similarities to the plane attacks of 9/11, an act that has become iconic in relation to terrorism.

  44. @ ganderer

    Read the article, did not concur with the author's conclusion that because Stack's intent was revenge, it didn't qualify as terrorism. In fact, I explained that revenge is probably the oldest motivation for terrorism. Victims have long memories; those who oppress them do not. Stack was disillusioned with his government when he took out the IRS building. The 19 men who took out the Towers were beyond "disillusioned" with the same government.

    Stack was a terrorist and America needs to accept that part quickly and move on because "what" he was isn't the actual problem now, so much as "how" his actions will influence American attitudes in the coming days. (My comment has either been deleted, or is still in moderation.)

    Either way, I'm beginning to think the current obsession with "how" to label him is merely a distraction, a delay tactic even. People [read: the white elite] just want to stall angry broke white people from coming after them. And as a POC, I can sincerely understand that apprehension. 'Cause a mob of angry white folks can get miiiiighty ugly. In the meantime, I smell a workplace shooting on the not-too-distant horizon.

    ....but whether It shall be a ripple of Good or Evil in the Force, for now...none among us can know....

  45. They didn't call the serial sniper, who was black, a terrorist either:

    They also didn't label the Virginia Tech shooter, who was Asian, a terrorist:

    So it's unclear to me how you can point fingers at white people in this case, unless you are racist yourself.

  46. baby face,

    Why are you comparing a white guy who flew a plane into a building to non-white shooters, instead of to non-white people who also flew planes into buildings?

  47. I think its unfair to say that the media immediately called Fort Hoode an act of terrorism and has refused to call this an act of terrorism. Some media outlets called Fort Hoode terrorism, some didn't. Some are not calling this terrorism and others are.

    The fact that you can't see this shows that you have selective hearing and memory.

    The fact of the matter is this. If its a brown skinned guy that kills people, Fox will immediately call it terrorism while CNN will not or will wait. If its a white guy, its the other way around.

    this has more to do with left/right leanings of each network than with racism.

    Even when 9/11 happened, not all of the media outlets immediately called it terrorism.

    Get your facts straight. You read what you want to read and hear what you want to hear in order to validate your preexisting world view.

    This is common in America these days...

  48. Okay, the fact that "not all so-and-so's did such-and-such" is so not the point. It's no different from when WP invoke the [annoying] knee-jerk response of, "Well, not all WP are like that."


    Let's try this again: The point is that someone was doing it at all...not to mention how quickly they leapt to doing it.

    The day the towers fell I heard nothing but "terrorism, terrorism, terrorism" no matter where I turned. By mid-afternoon, my campus was dripping with racial slurs. Dipshit descendants of the original illegal immigrants actually sat at my lunch table talking that, "We should just send them all back" shit. And when a particularly big burly white coed plopped his fat ass down next to my pygmy-sized brown ass in the cafeteria that day and started saying, "Fucking kill all these sand niggers - I don't give a fuck, shoot 'em all, fuck all of 'these' people; send all immigrants and their dirty kids back" I can assure you I was not, at that moment, thanking the gods for less asshole-ish WP. Probably because I was too busy thinking more along the lines of:

    O...kay. Hm, scary awkward much? I'll...just grab on tight to this fork right here, and if he makes one suspect move my way, I can sucker-stab him in the right eye and make my escape then.

    Remove head from ass now, please. For all you WP who sometimes to often behave yourselves: you don't get a cookie for not being a race-baiting asshole. Civilized people don't get nor expect to get credit for behaving as the way they're supposed to.

    PS - Stack was terrorist. Next.

  49. @Speedster re: "The fact that you can't see this shows that you have selective hearing and memory."

    Well, not really. What emerges in the hours and days after any big splash crime becomes the collective memory of the event. Like it or not, the collective memory of Ft. Hood is that it was a terrorist act, due to the right wing (conservative, bigoted--they go together) echo chamber that repeats and reports what the "opinion-makers" are saying about something. The "call it terrorism" echo is absent this time, even though the act itself is the kind of grandiose crime we would probably associate with terrorism without the media's lead. The difference? Oh, maybe the race or ethnicity or religion of the perp--the fact that he doesn't fit into a pre-existing "OK to spew hate on" category?

  50. This one is tough to label. On the one hand the circumstances seem a lot like workplace revenge type killings, where someone gets a raw deal and happens to be unstable enough to kill over it.

    On the other hand, the guy writes a note filled with left-wing political grievances and chooses a method of attack that is a smaller scale replica of 9-11. He also targets a building housing the govt agency that he hates.

    So it sounds like it could be an unstable person going off the deep end... Or an act of left-wing political terrorism. I'm trying to be impartial - maybe the media is too?

    9-11 was so different in so many ways. The 19 guys might have been mentally unstable too, but they were also very organized, they were trained for their attack, they were motivated by a very well-defined political ideology (not a series of semi-coherent left-wing gripes), and backed by a political organization with a presence all over the world. I think this is what people think of as "classic" terrorism.

    In McVeigh's case, he might have been unstable too, but he at least had well-documented ties with right wing militia groups and he was motivated by a very specific ideology.

    I could go on, but I think you get my drift. It's not clear cut like many cases are. Maybe you can call it terrorism, but I can also see why someone might not want to for reasons that have nothing to do with race.

  51. Hi,

    First I'm delurking to say that this site rocks! Also want to say re: this domestic terrorist, that his actions can be construed as being ideologically leaning simply due to the fact that there are people out there applauding his heinous action. There's even a facebook group made in his "honor".

    I think that by not labelling his actions as terrorism, the media and law enforcement authorities are setting an awful precedent, in which more copycat crimes of this nature could likely take place because the perpetrators will believe they're only "acting out in anger and frustration". Some might even plead mental insanity to get away with a lighter sentence.

  52. @deliciousburrito:

    I don't think the issue we're talking about here is IF he is a terrorist or not.

    This was just an example to stir the discussion of the TENDENCY of white folks to label POCs as terrorists more easily than they would label white folks as terrorists, REGARDLESS of whether the POC or the white person actually is a terrorist. It's just EASIER for a lot of white people to slap "terrorist" on your forehead if it's brown one.

    I mean, if a Middle-Eastern immigrant did this, I believe the media would be quick as lightning to stick the word "terrorist" in there and NOT spend time debating whether or not that guy is a terrorist and what his motivations were. He just WOULD be by default. White people get debates. Others get labeled.

    That's the difference.

  53. I think there's been a fair overusage of the term "terrorist" and "terrorism" since 9/11 . The hypocrisy of calling one ethnical group's(or race) acts of violence terrorism and the others "violence out of frustration" is clearly wrong. However I think we should generally drop the term terrorism when it is not pointed at an act of violence done by an organised group that planned it and uses it as an extension of their failed politics. If you continue like that soon you will be called a terrorist if by accident you hit a police car or a school bus or release a nasty fart in crowd that had federal employees.

  54. In the argument over the definition of terrorism, I tend to agree with the sentiment of Sigh and others that the word is overused. However it's a nasty white tendancy to call out this overuse when the perpetrator is white ("just a crazy individual") and ignore it when the perpetrator is a PoC. We should spend a lot more time looking at whether "terror" attacks by PoC are really "terrorism" or just crazy individuals. Even if "terrorist groups" try to take credit for attacks after they happen, often the evidence that the real actors were anything more than crazy individuals is weak.

  55. So...basically... what just happened here is, Macon writes about how weird it is that (most/a lot of?) white people refuse to designate this psycho as a terrorist, and then (white?) people come in and prove him right by coming up with all kinda crazy excuses as to why this psycho is not a terrorist.

    I swear. Do people even think about what they're saying, in the context of this blog, I mean?


  56. This post is just racism.

    First, it automatically assumes that a Muslim cannot be white. That there are "white people" and there are "Muslims". This is not the case.

    Secondly, I have seen numerous reports where a "non-white" (and particularly, Muslim) person has committed an act which kills multiple random people and it is NOT called terrorism.

    So, this double standard which exists only exists in your own mind.

    Given this, if a parent is upset because of a bad call by the umpire in his child's little league game, and he runs out on the field swinging a bat, should it be called terrorism? After all, the children (and other parents) were certainly afraid, right?

    If you want to throw around the word "terrorism" like it's a bag of chips, that is your prerogative. However, the whole point of the media determine what should be called terrorism and what shouldn't is based on one simple criteria - Will more events like this occur and will it be directly linked to this event?

    If the man had flown the plane into a building at the command of someone else, then clearly that someone else is still alive and is still likely to command others to also fly planes into buildings.

    If the man had flown the plane into a building and said "more attacks will be coming soon" (and his threats weren't just idle threats) that, too, would be an act of terrorism.

    However, this man flew a plane into a building and died. His motives were his own. That act died with him. It may have terrified people, but this is not just one attack in a sign of "other attacks". Even if there are copy-cats out there, then it's just a case of copy-cats... not a case of terrorism.

    You can't stop copy-cats. You can, however, go after a group which is specifically plotting and carrying out attacks. Terrorism is something which can be traced and stopped. Random acts of killing is just a normal fact of life. There are always random bad people in the world.

  57. So, if a Muslim flies a plane into a building because he didn't like the tax code, owed a bunch of money to the IRS, etc... then it, too, would NOT be an act of terrorism. If, however, he attended meetings with a group who is known to have dealings with a named organization which, in the past, has specifically orchestrated and took credit for previous attacks... then it is certainly plausible to say that it may be related to terrorism.

    Even the sniper shootings years ago was carried out by two individuals. Once they were caught, it was all over. In that sense, they also weren't terrorists. They were just serial killers.

    Let's not go back through history and take the word "terrorist" and just start applying it to every serial killer who ever walked the planet. There's no need to exchange "murderer" for "terrorist" and "serial killer" for "terrorist" and "child molester" for "terrorist". The point isn't that "if people are afraid, it's due to terrorism." That is a terribly broad use of the word.

    Simply put... once the act has been committed... can you capture or kill those who are directly involved and stop future acts from being committed? If so, it isn't terrorism. It's just crime. If, however, you can capture or kill those who are directly involved, knowing there is another individual or group recruiting and training and equipping more people to commit similar acts in the future. THAT is terrorism.

    An individual flying a plane into a building, no matter how many people died, is not terrorism... it's just a disgruntled person killing a bunch of people. After his death, no group claimed "credit"... there were no connections between communications taking place between him and outsiders who are still alive and free, plotting this with him. He acted alone. His motivations might be shared by others on a larger scale, but common motivation alone isn't enough to call something terrorism. There has to be direct collaboration between individuals and groups for the pieces to fit.

  58. @Chloe,

    That line of thinking is exactly what allows racism to exist.

    Think of it this way. If someone says all African Americans are good at basketball, that is clearly a racist statement. However, someone could say "a majority of professional basketball players are African American" and it would be an accurate statement, and not racist.

    There is a fine line between something which is actually racist and something which talks about race, but is truthful.

    The person who posted this article is automatically assuming from the onset that what the man who flew the plane into the building did was terrorism. First of all, to be sure racism doesn't enter the picture at all, you need to ignore that race exists. At that point, the fact that the man who flew the plane was white should never even be considered.

    So, a man (whose race does not matter) flew a plane into a building. Is that the only criteria needed to call it terrorism?

    What if it is by accident or on purpose?

    Ok, so then we need to say "if a man flies a plane into a building ON PURPOSE, then it is terrorism".

    What if a woman flies the plane?

    Ok, so now you need to say "if a man or woman flies a plane into a building ON PURPOSE, then it is terrorism".

    What if the person was upset at another person and flew the plane in the building only trying to kill that one person? Is it still terrorism, or is it attempted murder with additional casualties?


    I would really like to know how the original poster defines this. If nobody dies, is it still terrorism? If a serial killer kills three people, then is caught, is it terrorism? If he knew all three people, is it still terrorism? If he had a mental condition and stopped taking his medication, does this still count as terrorism?

    You need to clearly define a word before you use it. The same problem happened when the government decided to declare a "war on drugs". I don't know how, exactly, you declare "war" on an "inanimate substance", but there you go. A "war" was declared. Then, suddenly, the meaning of "war" was truly lost.

  59. The way I define "terrorism" is fairly simple. If the act is one a reasonable person can assume was not an isolated incident as a result of an individual or small group that can be easily caught, then it is terrorism.

    If one person kills one person, it's just murder.

    If one person kills many people, one at a time, then it's just a serial killer.

    If two people work together to kill one or more people, then it's just a couple of killers.

    If a group of people form a group, give themselves a name, and start killing people in behalf of their group, then they are a gang and it is gang-related killing.

    If a group of people form a group, give themselves a name, then start recruiting others to carry out plans to kill as many people as possible in very public ways, then this is terrorism.

    So, with the recent flying of a plane into a building, it was not the result of a group of people with a name who recruited this guy... he was an evil person, yes... he did a really stupid thing, yes... he killed innocent people, yes. By not calling him a "terrorist" you aren't excusing his actions or trying to treat him as somehow "better" than "non-white" people... because his race has nothing to do with this.

    If a Muslim flew a plane into an IRS building leaving a note behind that said he did it because the IRS took his hard earned money, it WOULD NOT BE TERRORISM.

    The problem here is that people who are upset about the word "terrorism" being thrown around are now trying to "throw it around some more" as if it is a weapon, and everyone needs to be attacked equally. The word is not a weapon. It is a specific word with meaning. If you start using it wrong, there will only be a need to create yet another word to explain how one situation is different from another.

  60. @Bob: Wow. You wrote multiple responses but you, and a few of the other commenters like you, just do NOT seem to get it. The point, again, is to NOT to define terrorism.

    It does not matter what YOU think it is. It does not matter what anyone thinks it is.

    The media is just more likely to label a nonwhite person as a terrorist.

    Of course a white person could be Muslim. The point is that the media doesn't really tend to care about facts like that. They see brown + flying a plane into something regardless of motive = terrorist.

    White + flying a plane into something regardless of motive = random act of violence.

    This is so frustrating. Why has this post suddenly turned into a discussion about semantics, like trying to define racism, and derailing away from a true discussion?

  61. Seems to me there's really only one definition that actually "matters" in America, and (unfortunately) it reads as follows:

    §802 Definition of Domestic Terrorism
    (5) the term "domestic terrorism" means activities that:
    (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
    (B) appear to be intended: (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;
    (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

    That's the so-called PATRIOT Act (what I prefer to think of as the "DESERVE NEITHER Act"), and it's the law of the land. And yes, I'm afraid it really is that badly worded!

    And remember, Stack's stated intentions were to:
    "[strike] a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double-standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions, [so that] people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn't so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer."

    And there you have it. At least two out of three, no getting around it. Truth is, it actually does. not. matter. if he was just a "regular guy" who'd become overwhelmed by his problems. Because of that rantifesto, he's a terrorist, per the United States Code. My hands are tied. *gavel*

    So. About that PATRIOT Act.
    Seem like a good idea now, white America?
    We tried to tell you!

    Not, of course, that it's going to matter here, because 1) the guy is presumably dead, and 2) it seems that he was a one-man terrorism band. So this will all be forgotten about soonish.

  62. Every American is wary of the IRS and some American people have shown support for this terrorist act, even forming groups on facebook and so on.

    I recall after 9/11 how images were shown of Muslims, especially Palestinians, showing support of the attacks on the WTC. How political that all was as propaganda (see how They cheer at Our loss). Much later, I read articles that said that people in places like Brazil and China and other parts of the world had also shown support for the attack on America...not in any religious sense or in support of the death of innocents, but idealogical support against the neo-imperialist (and globally white supremactist) globalization machine that America is with our foreign policy and economic practieces in other countries...they saw the attacks on 9/11 as more of an attack on THAT, rich and all powerful US bullies everyone and (now they are getting theirs (an aspect that many Americans are willing to overlook). Anyhow, in both cases, the violent acts are unnacceptable, but in the recent act of white terrorism on The IRS, some American people are willing to overlook the violence and death because they do not like the IRS. They are interested in the terrorist's ideology because he was against something that they see as oppressive.

  63. [Bob, please read Sonic's comment above. Whether he "really" was a terrorist or not isn't the point of the post, and it's not the issue here. The issue is how quickly the media, and many white Americans, often are to label non-white people who commit such acts terrorists, and how reluctant they often are to use the word for those who are white and commit similar acts. THAT'S the double standard in question here. ~macon]

  64. @Sonic,

    You say "I am not getting IT". I will admit, there isn't some "IT" that I am trying to get here. I am only trying to give MY point of view so that YOU can understand. In return, your response is to say that I don't get IT. Which leads me to understand you aren't getting IT either. IT being what MY point of view is... or maybe you don't care.

    So, I will try to understand what YOU are saying. YOU are saying that the media is racist. YOU are saying that the media is more likely to declare a non-white person as a terrorist... and a white person as just disgruntled. I DO see what you're saying, but I'm only disagreeing with that declaration for one reason.

    When I listen to or read "media" which is racist... I tune out. I don't watch shows which are racist. I don't read articles which are racist. I don't listen to those who are racist. I don't need to be brainwashed.

    So, to me, MEDIA is only "that which I listen to and read and watch". So, my MEDIA is NOT racist, because I make the conscious choice to make sure it isn't.

    So, when you say the media IS racist, I say to you, "then stop paying attention to that media."

    Now, I would agree with you... there's some crazy stuff out there. Stuff which shouldn't exist. People who pay attention to this stuff that we'd all wish they didn't. But I don't believe the solution is for us to blanket ourselves with this stuff as well. That just makes EVERYONE angry.

    The goal is to try to show the angry and racist ones that the world could be a better place. To try to get THEM to change the channel and read better things.

    The media only controls those who choose to listen. And those who choose to listen to crazy stuff are probably already crazy... it's why they chose that media in the first place.

  65. Bob,

    Which media outlets do you get your news from?

  66. @Bob:
    My arithmetic is a little rusty, but as I see it, your viewpoint is:
    you agree the media is biased (+) but YOU are not affected by it (+) people who do believe it are just crazy! = not a problem because they're just crazy!

    the thing is, there are lots of "crazy" white americans out there who do believe the media and ARE the media. Still a problem for POCs regardless of the fact that you decide to "ignore" biased media (which I would argue is difficult to do unless you completely avoid the news because there are ways of being biased that are very subtle).

    Dismissing those people who do believe it as just "crazy" still doesn't do anything to help POCs or get rid of the notion that growing up to be a terrorist is easier to do if you've got dark skin.

  67. @sonic
    ...the TENDENCY of white folks to label POCs as terrorists more easily than they would label white folks as terrorists.

    No. Just not true. I can think of many cases where there was no hesitancy at all - NONE - to label white guys who committed terrorist type of acts as "terrorists." Please research Richard Jewell, Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, Scott Roeder. We could also go all the way back to left wing groups in the 60s and 70s if you we more exmaples. The evidence just doesn't bear you out.

    Like I said before, it's the act that determines whether something gets characterized as "terrorism" - not race.

  68. @Sonic,

    And you see, we're getting somewhere. Yes, there are absolutely lots of "crazy" white americans out there. There are also absolutely lots of "crazy" non-white americans out there. There are also lots of "crazy" white and non-white non-americans out there.

    Hatred is not race-specific. Hatred is not country specific. Hatred is everywhere. It is an equal opportunity recruiter.


    Honestly, I don't stick with a particular media outlet. I use Google News and I customize it to pull the topics I am interested in. There's no way to completely avoid racist or stupid media. So, I can't completely avoid coming across the hate.

    When that man flew a plane into the IRS building, it never once crossed my mind to ask what race he was. When I read the note he left behind, it was clear that he was an upset individual. He was unhappy with the system that we all have to deal with and rather than using his words, he resorted to violence. It's unfortunate for him. It's even more unfortunate for any innocent victims' lives he took. It's also unfortunate for his wife and his step child. Maybe he really wanted his message to be heard... and he did succeed in that... but what he failed to recognize is that his actions won't change anything for the better... if anything, it will just make things worse.

    So, unfortunately, he learned the wrong lesson in life. He failed miserably at the ultimate test of life.

    Now, I didn't dig deep enough to find out what his race was... or anything else about him. I made no assumptions. But there is one thing I knew for sure. This doesn't fit "terrorism" as I understand the word should be treated.

    He wasn't a part of some larger organization. He wasn't a part of something organized. He wasn't carrying out orders. He was no different than the kids involved with the Columbine shooting... or those postal workers of many years before that. He was just a person who went "postal", pardon the term.

    It bothers me when people overuse terms, because while some might not consider the semantics of language to be of importance, I think it is absolutely tantamount. Language is the primary way we communicate. Communication is the foundation of all types of relationships between all types of people. Most people who resort to violence are only doing so to send a "message"... to communicate... to communicate when their words did not resonate. The reason most words don't resonate is because people misuse words often.

    Imagine, for instance, the "war" on drugs. And then the "war" on terror. The word "war" has been overused for far too long. So much so, that people now just use it when there is a confrontation that they disagree with. Call it a "war" and you can convince people to disagree, too. After all, who wants to be seen as part of the war, unless you're on the "right side"? There are no right sides to war. War only exists when people give up communicating.

  69. If the media (or the government) wants to use the term "domestic terrorism", I suppose that's fine... but it sounds like a deliberate use of the word "terrorism" to invoke the events of 9/11. I would much rather we use the term "adult temper tantrum".

    I DO remember that right after 9/11, Muslims (and even individuals of Indian descent, which I'll never quite understand) were being treated poorly. Their businesses were hurting. People were essentially becoming hyper-sensitive and in this hyper-sensitivity, were becoming increasingly racist. To some degree, this has subsided... and I'm sure it still exists in some quantities.

    But each case should be dealt with individually. The moment you declare "racism itself" as some sort of "enemy" and then declare "war" on racism... you just broaden the battlefield. It doesn't help to stop the battle, it just strengthens it and keeps it lasting longer and longer.

    So, I'm not "dismissing" the racist people out there, I'm just not letting their words get to me. If I do, I become as angry as them. If I become as angry as them, I risk making the same mistakes in judgement as them. In turn, I too become racist.

    What attracted me to this post was not so much the fact that it misused the words "terrorist" or "terrorism"... it's that it specifically called out the fact that the man was white. As if to say, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." The problem is, seen another way, it says "If you can be racist, then I can be racist too." That really bothers me, because I know there are racist people in the world. It is my hope that this racism will eventually subside. It NEVER WILL until one "side" stops using race as a foundation of the argument, no matter which side of the argument it happens to be.

    You'll note that while I am definitely passionate about the topic of racism, I will never choose to blame any particular race for the "problem" because that defeats the whole point. It would be like saying, "Sexism of any sort really needs to stop... so all those women need to cut it out." It solves nothing, because it cuts with the same knife it intends to eliminate.

  70. Macon - this is precisely what I was talking about in my blog post. When [some] white folks refuse--keyword there--to understand something, they automatically brand it insanity.

  71. Semi-related:

    Macon can you please do a post in the future on the common white tendency wherein white people declare words to be "overused" or "lost all meaning" in discussions of racism?

    White people declare themselves lexicographers in conversations like this.

    Maybe I've missed the post if you wrote about it already.

  72. @Bob
    "First of all, to be sure racism doesn't enter the picture at all, you need to ignore that race exists. At that point, the fact that the man who flew the plane was white should never even be considered."

    This sentence sums up your supreme failure of understanding what racism is. The "fact" is that race colors every second of our lives, and your insistence on colorblindness is a part of the racist structure that continues to infuse society in sheep's clothing.

    Furthermore, the fact that you consider your media outlets sane and others crazy lends further credence to your own self-absorbed world.

    To piggy-back off of your logic that group activities are the only ones that can be lumped into systematized acts of violence, I propose that you are extremely racist in your participation in techniques to derail fruitful discussion on the effect of race on society through resisting any understanding of how race has played into a significant and violent event.

  73. Thank you whoever write this article! You are dead right! No pun intended. This who nonsense from society and media about a white American couldn't possibly be a terrorist because he doesn't look like the stereotypical terrorist (always a person of color even Black Americans) is nonsense! As one of the commentators said, you should call it like is! For all he could've been another Timothy McVeigh who the media was debating whether to call him a terrorist. Is Society trying to say the "only true terrorists" are people of color i.e Arabs, Nigerians, Latin Americans, etc? And some how White Americans are exempted from being terrorists or committing acts of terrorism when burning their own houses down, massacring their families and slamming plans to IRS because they do not fit the stereotype of the deranged terrorists?

    P.S. When the IRA (Irish Republican Army) used to bomb London they were called terrorists and Irish living in england were treated as public #1! Same goes for Red Brigade in Germany, etc. So why is American society and media hesistating to called white people who committ such atrocious acts terrorists when everyone can see the obvous terrorism committed? The pilot did terrify civilians, put them in harms way, meant to get the government attentions, etc read the defination.

  74. @Kia,

    I find it interesting that you said, "White people declare themselves lexicographers in conversations like this."

    I'm wondering why you think this is specific to "white people". If a non-white person explained how they define a word, would you just ignore it? Then, if a white person explains how they define a word, would you think this person was a lexicographer? I'm wondering why you give so much more credibility or hold a white person to such a superior position when they define what they mean when they use a word.

    When I tried clarifying how I use a word, it was just to clarify what I mean when I say it. If I say a word, and you define the word differently than I do... the meaning of what I say gets twisted. To clarify my meaning, I clarify the definition of the word I was using. This doesn't mean that when YOU say the word, I think that's the definition YOU should be using. If anything, I'd appreciate you to help me understand by letting me know how YOU define that word. We can both type the same set of letters... but if we have a different mental picture of what those letters represent, we'll never be communicating effectively.

  75. @Everyone,

    If anyone thinks I am out of line with what I am saying, it would be most helpful to me if you could just point out the specifics of what I have said that is hateful.

    If you point out the specifics, I will be able to adjust how I say things to that I can communicate more effectively. In the process, I may clarify what I meant (versus how it came across) because I assure you, I mean no harm when I write what I write. While I agree that the world may never be a place where everyone agrees all of the time, my sincerest hope is that we can communicate respectfully, even when our opinions differ.

    When the response is simply, "that's a typical response from a white person," it isn't helpful at all. It doesn't communicate to me... it just tosses me aside into a "white" bucket... then throws a generic insult at that bucket. It doesn't help me to understand, it doesn't help others to find common ground, and I can't imagine it helps you (unless you're just looking for a verbal punching bag, which I can understand.)

  76. @Bob, you're being intensely white right now. You're demanding we teach where you went wrong. That we hold your hand and show you..and that if we don't do this, then you just don't see the point! It's just insulting if we don't immediately acquiesce to your request. You're taking the focus away from topic and demanding we all stop and teach you, make you the center of our conversation-spotlight. But you swear you mean no harm!

    Bob, meaning no harm isn't really good enough. You've got access to google. You've got access to this blog. I think Drowned Lotuses and Macon have given you some good answers. maybe you should read up on them. Get proactive and find out yourself, b/c it's not really a big secret we're holding back from to drive you insane.

  77. "Given this, if a parent is upset because of a bad call by the umpire in his child's little league game, and he runs out on the field swinging a bat, should it be called terrorism? After all, the children (and other parents) were certainly afraid, right?"

    Let me guess, you're expecting somebody to say "yes"?

    "Everytime someone gets mugged at the point of a gun (an experience I have had), is that terrorism?"

    What's with the intentionally bad comparisons? Do you think that the posters here are really fucking stupid enough to believe that a fight or a mugging is the same as a terrorist attack?

    @Kia, I was thinking the same thing...

  78. @Pajamas,

    No. I'm not looking for anyone to say "yes" or "no" or anything other than their opinion.

    What I see happening here is everyone is calling this terrorism and that terrorism, but nobody here is willing to say where the line is. Where is the line between terrorism and murder?

  79. @Roxie,

    "you're being intensely white right now"

    I can see I am in the wrong place. I thought I entered a forum where racism was not tolerated. Instead, I have entered a forum where only one kind of racism is allowed.

    "You're demanding we teach where you went wrong"

    I apologize if my words came off as demanding. I was requesting... asking... I made no ultimatums. I am just hoping to have a civil discussion, but I can see this is just a place to rant and not accomplish any goals other than to bring together everyone who agrees with the rants and shun everyone who disagrees with the rants and call them "white" even if they never show their skin.

    "That we hold your hand and show you..."

    So, if I act as though I already understand, you call me "white" and say that I am acting as if I were superior and that I clearly don't understand. If I ask for clarification, saying that I want to understand, you say that I shouldn't need babysitting. So, is it that you just don't want me to understand, so that you can continue to bash me? Or is it that you want me to understand, but through some means that does not require communication?

    Here's the conundrum I'm in. This article appears to be bashing "the media" (or maybe "the white people") for thinking that only non-white people can be terrorists. I disagree that only non-white people can be terrorists. Maybe I am the exception? My friends do not believe this to be true, but maybe they are hiding their true selves from me? I have yet to see the media which is making this claim and, in fact, usually read and hear things to the contrary.

    Based on this article, I have no doubt that there must be some articles and news shows and television shows out there which are actively promoting non-white people as being terrorists and white people as not being capable of terrorism.

    So, where I am stuck is... should I seek these agencies out and start reading their articles and listening to their programs? Or should I continue to stay away? If I seek them out, am I not helping them to make money by increasing their viewership and, in turn, their ad revenue? If I stay away, will you just consider me to be white and ignorant by not knowing how it really is?

    Just as I can seek out "media" which would bash on non-white people... have I not stumbled upon a blog which, in turn, bashes on white people? Even though I have never shown the color of my skin, I have already been labeled and already don't feel welcome. I'm not so ignorant that I think you SHOULD welcome me. I just have hope that one day, blogs like this could help to welcome people and change people's minds. Convince people to stop paying attention to any media which promotes hate and sends a message of common ground. If the only media which exists is "we are superior and you aren't" and "no, you are inferior and we aren't"... then there would no longer exist any form of communication which isn't just "us versus them and them versus us". This keeps the hate alive.

    It just puzzles me why a blog (which is a part of the media) would bash hateful media, but turn around and play the same game. Is the goal to keep the game alive?

  80. Thanks for the responses to me blog, and thanks to Macon for giving my thoughts a wider audience.

    I dashed this blog off in 15 minutes, from the typos you can see that I didn't even proofread it well. I had to write because as I sat and watched CNN all day I just go more and more frustrated.

    The discussion of whether or not the Fort Hood shooter was a terrorist, and the decision to brand him as such was immediate on every news station except for MSNBC. Fox and Cnn did not hold off contrary to what has been stated here.
    Personally, I don't think Stack or the Ft. Hood guy were terrorists. I think they were just random angry men who attacked innocents to inflict pain. When I think of terrorism, I include those types of attacks, but I also see them as part of a larger network with larger goals.

    But, since the Ft. Hood guy was labeled as a terrorist, I felt this white guy needed to have the same label, or there was a problem with bias. In addition, I was struck by how quickly and frequently the media discussed why this act wasn't terrorism, and I wondered why that same care wasn't used in dealing with Mr. Hasan's shooting.

    In a way, this reinforces the idea that minorities are much more likely to be painted with a broad brush, while whites are more likely to be viewed as individuals. The media has repeatedely linked brown and Muslim with "terrorist" so any time a violence occurs involving brown Muslims, the word terrorism is bandied about.
    However, despite the fact that the vast majority of terrorist acts on American soil have been committed by white men, the media has never linked terrorism to white, Christian men. Thus, when violence occurs involving a white, Christians man, it's easier for media folks and the public to see that as an isolated event. That's why the disconnect exists.

    My purpose for writing the blog was just to call attention to the disparate treatment and force people to ask themselves why that was happening, and what it means in the long run. I agree with those of you who said you are leery of throwing around words like terrorist and terrorism, but I wish you and the media would show that same care when the perpatrators are brown. The fact is, violence by non-whites is more likely to generate a debate about whether the actions are terrorism.

  81. "I just have hope that one day, blogs like this could help to welcome people and change people's minds. Convince people to stop paying attention to any media which promotes hate and sends a message of common ground."

    This blog's job is not to make you change your mind. YOU have to change your mind. YOU can USE this blog to educate yourself to change your own damn mind. That's what Roxie meant by "hand holding." We're not some ad, trying to tell you the best thing to do is be anti-racism. The best thing to do IS to be anti-racism and YOU gotta do the legwork.

    "but I can see this is just a place to rant and not accomplish any goals other than to bring together everyone who agrees with the rants and shun everyone who disagrees with the rants and call them "white" even if they never show their skin."

    Ah, thank you for reducing this entire blog to a "rant". Your sweeping statement has basically dismissed the experiences of POCs.

    "but nobody here is willing to say where the line [for terrorism] is."
    You obviously still do not get it even though I have written TWICE and Macon has responded to you, telling you that the point of this entry is to not define terrorism.

    And to top off the obtuse-cake you have brought to our tables today, you go pulling the "reverse racism card" - us BITCHY POCs! we just don't give those poor white folks a damn break!!!

    I'm not going to respond to you anymore, Bob, because you still need to educate yourself. Yes, YOU need to go and educate yourself.

    Macon, I don't mean to be curt or rude, but what exactly do we get from Bob's contributions to the discussion? I feel like I'm just finding new ways to bash myself against a wall.

  82. Sonic wrote,

    Macon, I don't mean to be curt or rude, but what exactly do we get from Bob's contributions to the discussion? I feel like I'm just finding new ways to bash myself against a wall.

    Not much, for sure. I've only published about half of his submitted comments; I was hoping that HE might get something from the discussion (and I declined a lot of what he wrote so as not to inflict too much of his whiteliness on others here -- my apologies if that still happened).

    I hope you've learned here, Bob, that you are indeed whiter than you probably realize, in your feelings, thoughts, and actions. You've displayed quite a few common white tendencies here. Here's hoping you can come to grips with some of them.

  83. @Big Man,

    I could agree more with your follow-up message.

    I will admit that I didn't pay much attention to the Fort Hood attack... after all, it was a military base. One would simply expect a military base to become a target of attacks.

    However, since the Fort Hood attack was not against civilians, I would say that it is not a terrorist act. Otherwise, you might refer to all military events as "terrorist acts" which just dilutes words.

    If I heard you right, you're basically saying:

    1) Let's not misuse words.
    2) IF you're going to misuse words anyway, at least be CONSISTENT.

    It's that INCONSISTENCY with the misuse of words that shows the bias, and with that I would agree whole heartedly.

  84. @ Bob

    One of the classic mistakes you're making here is looking for people's "opinions". Opinions are irrelevant (and actually unnecessary) when actual terminology is involved.

    Terrorism has a very basic definition: it is the unlawful use of force, whether by a single person or a group, to intimidate and/or coerce a population or an institution for ideological or political reasons. Stack fits this basic definition of a terrorist. He believed the American socioeconomic system was exploiting its own population; he denounced classism and political corruption--that's ideology. In fact, it's not that far off from the ideology which brought about 9/11(yes, I know, Americans like to think it's about Allah so they can comfortably blame Islam for terrorism, and our government tends to go along with that so as to keep our eyes off them). Stack then lashed out at one of the more easily visible and accessible faces of America's socioeconomic system--the IRS; uncoincidentally, the institution which "opened his eyes" in the first place.

    Now, when confronted with this, people automatically switch to the, "Well, in my opinion..." or "Well, the way I would define terrorism is..." approach.

    But their "opinion" of what defines terrorism is irrelevant. A person cannot restructure language simply to win an argument.

    The trick here, in discussions like this, is to ask yourself and others the right questions. And yes, you know what the right questions are: they're the difficult ones people deliberately avoid asking because they don't want to feel bad. They make an almost subconscious gamble and ask questions which have the higher chances of being answered in a way which will make them feel better. It's like what Pajamas was saying about making intentionally bad comparisons. Or how Macon called out Baby Face for not comparing Stack to non-white suicide plane-crashers.

    So...what are some of difficult questions people should be asking about Stack? Here's a few:

    1) Why are people so afraid to call him a terrorist? What is root of that fear?

    2) What are the implications of white domestic terrorists denouncing American government and society as exploitative and corrupt [read: harming not just POC, but whites as well]?

    3) Why are people focusing on Stack's anger towards the IRS, which was his main problem in the early 1980s, and not focusing on his overall disenchantment with America now, in 2010?

    4) Why are people more focused on debating the "terrorist" label, rather than the more alarming "patriot" and "hero" label we see currently outnumbering it? Why is America so hell-bent on a rather meaningless debate at this point, when federal investigators are alarmed and bracing themselves for similar events in the very near future?

  85. @macon,

    From what you say, you're basically saying that I need to "change". Is that to suggest that you or anything else non-white has no changing to do and are all perfect, and it is only the white people who are imperfect and who need to change?

    The way I see it, we are different. We will always be different. When I see "we" I don't mean "white" and "non-white". I mean each and every individual is different. If a non-white person agrees with me, will you call them white anyway? If that's the case, then I will understand that when you say white, you are just using a slur for "anyone with whom you disagree with".

    Communication is about both people listening. I have been listening and I have been trying to understand these mysterious ways that I am clearly unable to understand because of the color of my skin. Yet, you say that it is not your job to understand me. That I am the one who needs to change. If *I* am really the enemy, and yet I see that there are clearly people worse than me, then there really is no hope in this world of ever recovering. I apologize for bringing my "hope" into a hopeless discussion.

  86. Bob,

    This discussion isn't at all hopeless. As I said above, I even see some hope in you!

    Btw, I'm white too.

    This blog isn't about particular people, or any kinds of people, who "are enemies." It's about racial whiteness, and what THAT does to people, both white and non-white. For white people, it trains them, in many ways, to think, feel, and act in certain ways. You, for instance, have displayed many ways of thinking and talking here that are "common white ways," such as this, from your latest comment:

    The way I see it, we are different. We will always be different. When I see "we" I don't mean "white" and "non-white". I mean each and every individual is different.

    That focus on individuals is very white. It's close to a plea for colorblindness, and it's insulting in a space like this, because not only does the race/ethnicity of POC tend to matter a lot to them -- the whiteness of white people matters a lot in white lives too. White people just tend not to know that -- they want to be taken as unique, special snowflakes instead.

    Please turn that racial lens around, Bob. Your social categorization as "white" has been a HUGE influence on how you think and act, on who you think you are, and on how you see other people, both white and non-white.

  87. @ Bob:

    You'll note that while I am definitely passionate about the topic of racism...

    I call bullshit. Why? Because in the same post, you say this:

    So, I'm not "dismissing" the racist people out there, I'm just not letting their words get to me. If I do, I become as angry as them. If I become as angry as them, I risk making the same mistakes in judgement as them. In turn, I too become racist.

    In other words, the way that you deal with racism is by ignoring it. Unfortunately, for many of us, our color doesn't wash off.

    I'll play the Good Lil' Negro, and oblige you by letting you know that:

    1) Being able to ignore instances of racism because due to the belief (consciuos or otherwise) that it does not or will not affect you in any way is called white privilege.

    2) Saying that x isn't true just because you don't see or experience it is called "silencing". If you haven't figured it out by now by the replies to your comments, People of Color are fucking tired of being told to stay quite, stay hidden.

    3) Saying the people who live under the oppression of racism daily are the ones who are racist because they won't hold your hand and teach you step by step why you, as a white man, just might be wrong when it comes to racial discrimination is called derailing, being an asshole, and being racist.

    There's a saying at anti-ism blogs called "STFU&L", Shut The Fuck Up & Listen. You can never, have never, and will never have the any of the experiences with racism that people of color deal with every day. So, insisting that what you say, in your limited capacity, is the truth whole truth and nothing but, isn't just frustrating for us, it's also making you look really, really stupid.

  88. @Moi,

    I see what you're saying. When I was talking about the use of the word "terrorist" or "terrorism", I wasn't referring to it from a legal standpoint (where the definition needs to be precisely controlled). I was referring to it primarily from a linguistic perspective. From a purely "language" viewpoint, it is exactly people's opinions and their use of words that define those words.

    Take the word zoology. For years, people mispronounced the word. As a result, the common mispronunciation became an acceptable pronunciation. Or imagine the word "voluntary". When most people hear that the taxation system is "voluntary" they think that it must mean you get to choose whether or not you pay your taxes. When the legal definition and use of the word is applied, it simply means that it is up to each individual to crunch their own numbers and submit their own forms, rather than having someone go door to door bashing people over the head who don't pay up.

    Taking the legal definition of "terrorist" or "terrorism", it says "to intimidate or coerce". Honestly, if someone blows themselves up in front of me, I will be afraid at first... but I won't be "intimidated" or "coerced" unless I felt that they were still in power somehow.

    Imagine, for instance, one person goes into a bank with a gun and says, "Give me all of your money or I'll shoot." Certainly coercion and intimidation. People will really feel compelled to hand over money to spare their own lives.

    Now, imagine a second person goes inside of a bank and shoots a couple of people, then shoots himself. Upon inspecting the shooter's body, they find a note that says, "I did this because you wouldn't give me any money."

    Is anyone thinking at that point, "Should we give this guy some money?" Why? He's dead. By the time you even realized he was a threat, he wasn't a threat anymore. He wasn't part of a larger group, so the threat is gone. It ended as quickly as it began. Sure, people were killed and the outcome wasn't any better or worse than if he had shot people in another manner, but I don't see any "coercion" or "intimidation" going on, because there is no long-standing threat.

    I do get your point, though, that you cannot merely redefine a word on the fly to twist a point around. If anything, it is the twisting of words that I was trying to defend... not Stack. He was a killer. If a killer who tries to intimidate (even if they fail miserably) is a terrorist, then I will agree with you... he's a terrorist. I have no problem calling him that word, I just feel that I need to go shopping around for yet another word to convey the concept of "organized terrorism" that still exists and is uniquely different from what Stack did.

    The same thing happened to the word "marriage". It was clearly defined as a union between a man and a woman. Then, people of the same sex started getting married. Others tried defending the WORD "marriage", even if they were OK with people of the same sex forming a union. So, suddenly there were terms like "civil union" that came about. This was further debated, saying that everyone has an equal right to use the word "marriage" and it basically turned into a big lexicography fight.

    Some will say "stick to the issue and forget about the words", but to some it is the WORDS that are the issue. Should those who value words not also have their own opinions be heard?

    I don't mean to distract from the real issue of "racism", which is why I have made myself clear that I cannot stand racism of any kind. In turn, I have been called ignorant, racist, and white. What chance does the world have when the only people who are actively trying are constantly being shot down?

  89. @Aan
    It almost seems that way, doesn't it? I have an aunt from Spain and she said that ETA, a Basque separatist group was also a threat.
    It seems that in America, we're to believe that we're so perfect and everything's all rosy.

  90. Bob wrote,

    I don't mean to distract from the real issue of "racism", which is why I have made myself clear that I cannot stand racism of any kind. In turn, I have been called ignorant, racist, and white. What chance does the world have when the only people who are actively trying are constantly being shot down?

    You ARE distracting from the real issue of racism, even in the limited number of comments from you that I've published so far.

    Yes, you've been "called" white. And I'm now asking you -- why are you ignoring those of us who are asking you to look at that aspect of yourself? Why aren't you "actively trying" to do that?

  91. What chance does the world have when the only people who are actively trying are constantly being shot down?

    But you're not actively trying. Actively trying would not be to claim people are racist for pointing out racism. Actively trying would be to say, "Since this person - a person of color - sees life in a different way than I - a white man who has never been oppressed by a racist insitution - that person may have some insight on the issue that I may not.

  92. hey Macon, I submitted a comment to this post (and one other) this morning that seem to have been lost. Did you see them come through?

  93. thesciencegirl,

    Dang! No, I never saw them . . .

  94. @Angel H,

    "I call bullshit."

    When I made that statement, and said "I don't let their words get to me." I don't mean "I don't listen". When I hang around people, I tend to become a little like them. If I hang around violent people, I start feeling myself leaning towards violent tendencies. If I am around compulsive liars, I tend to be more inclined to lie myself. If I am around loving and forgiving people, I tend to become more loving and forgiving myself.

    So, for the values that I hold dear, if I find myself "slipping" into violent ways because I am hanging around violent people, I will distance myself. This doesn't mean I don't listen, it just means that I don't allow myself to be negatively influenced.

    I welcome debate. Debate is the only way anyone can grow. Surrounding yourself with only those who agree with you is the surest way to be locked into a prison of ignorance.

    When I saw the original post, I could have just "turned a blind eye" and, you're right... that would have been ignorant. So, I joined in... I participated... I exchanged ideas, even with those who disagreed with me.

    And yet, for participating, I'm being called ignorant and being told that I am only distracting from the real message. If these doors of opportunity for exchange of ideas keep getting slammed shut, we will all forever be ignorant. Keep in mind that although we may all speak the same language, we don't use the same words to convey the same meanings. When some people say "You don't really have to get me anything for my birthday" or "I don't like surprise parties"... sometimes they really mean it... other times, they want you to read between the lines. This nuance makes it nearly impossible for anyone to get the meaning right the first time (or even the seventeenth time). So, it requires constant communication and exchange of ideas. Some might call it "hand holding", I just call it communication.

  95. Angel H,

    "But you're not actively trying."

    You're right. I'm sorry. Since I disagree with racism, and saw that the foundation of this post was anti-racism, I should have just chimed in with a "me too".

    What triggered me to post initially wasn't about "racism" but was about "language". I guess one of my trigger points is seeing two people arguing, even if they both really agree with each other at heart, but don't realize it because they're both reading hidden messages between the lines.

    I think I have made my point as clear as I can, and I recognize that this wasn't the appropriate forum for my point. I really appreciate the fact that Big Man clarified his post with a follow-up, and I realize that he and I agree with a lot more than may have been obvious from his original post. This doesn't mean to imply that I think he's "on my side", just that I feel more compelled now to be "on his side". We don't have to agree on every little point or on the semantics of language to both agree that racism is an evil in the world that should be dealt with and should never be forgotten or taken for granted.

  96. I would like to relay an event that happened to me in 5th grade that doesn't have a huge amount of relevance to the original post, but it might help to shed some light in how I feel about race.

    In 5th grade, there were two boys on the playground who were fighting. Fights didn't happen very often at my school, so when it did happen, it was quite an event. In this instance, it happened to be two black children who were fighting. As onlookers started to form, different random things were being shouted out. One person said, "oh look, a fight!" Another person, a friend of one of the fighters, started cheering his friend on. Another kid (who was notorious for being a huge bully) shouted "look, the n*** are fighting!" (Needless to say, it was the "n word" which I personally have a problem ever using, so I am self censoring myself.) Right around that same time, I shouted out, "They're throwing punches!" To me, this was a big deal. In 5th grade at my school, if two kids fought, it was mostly wrestling or shoving.

    Right at that moment, our teacher showed up and he had heard what the bully had said (the "n word") and his only inquiry was "WHO SAID THAT!?" Incidentally, the last person who had said anything was me. He didn't make it clear to the other students what his question was referring to, so a number of students pointed at me. I was a deer in headlights at that moment.

    He was a fairly physical teacher and you definitely knew when he was angry. He grabbed me by my arm and dragged me into the class. I was a fairly timid child, so I only kept asking "What did I do?" When he told me what "I had said"... I tried defending myself as best a 10-year-old can, but he was insistent that I had used a word that I would never use.

    It was the first time I had ever had to be on "detention" and it was a horrifying experience for me at that time. I felt speechless and defenseless.

    As I grew up, I understood his anger and respected it. I admired that he stood up for racism yet, at the same time, felt a lack of respect in that he didn't try to do more to get to the bottom of the situation. Meanwhile, the real bully and racist "got away with it"... and I was wrongly punished.

    Fast-forward to today, that memory is still pretty fresh in my mind. I am not "blind" to race, but I do try not to let coincidences of race cloud my judgement or decisions.

    I'm not going to lie and say that I am some great defender of racism. I don't hold rallies and am not running for office to change politics. I'm just a simple man living a simple life who hopes to raise his son in such a way the he does not tolerate treating people differently because of a physical attribute of their birth.

    Since I would never personally say "That's such a [insert-color-here] thing to say" to anyone, and I would be upset if my son ever said that to anyone, I also feel hurt when someone says that to me. Maybe I should be "OK" with it because I'm not a minority? If so, I'll know better to just roll with the punches.

  97. @ Bob

    1) Stack was a terrorist. Remember, a terrorist can target either a population (e.g., civilians) or an institution (e.g., a government). Because he did not target civilians, civilians are not afraid of Stack and have no reason to be--in his mind, civilians were already victims...of an institution.

    So, he targeted an institution. Yes, they got scared, and yes, they are still scared. Already IRS locations report employee hesitance to come to work. Federal investigators already predict near-future incidents similar to this one. The FBI is barely able to shut down all the Stack fan pages cropping up across the net.

    2) The evolutionary process of language, in this instance, does not apply. Your examples were, in themselves, examples of "intentionally" bad examples. They were unnecessarily long and deviated from the topic.

    You also didn't even try to answer any of the difficult questions I posed; in fact, you ignored them altogether. In summary, you clouded and derailed a discussion about race and denial.

    3) You said, "I cannot stand racism of any kind. In turn, I have been called ignorant, racist, and white. What chance does the world have when the only people who are actively trying are constantly being shot down?"

    So when you finally did get back to [briefly] mentioning race, you made it all about you. And not only did you make it about you, but you went all god-awful 300-style on it (e.g. "Greece was the world's last hope for civilization..." *rolls eyes*. Please)

    Bob, you are ignorant, however, it's an easily reversible condition--and I'm not being sarcastic. All you have to do is admit you don't know something, stay on topic, listen, and ask questions rather than offer opinions. Just read and don't post except to ask someone to clarify something you don't understand.

    Bob, you do have racist qualities, and that's not meant to simply insult you. Many POC have some racist qualities, just like many women have sexist qualities. Your job, however, as a white person posting on this blog, is to root out, confront, and examine your racist qualities, and see how such qualities--when left unchecked in society--cause damage and to whom. (FYI, one of your racist qualities is racial arrogance. Your tone is condescending, you automatically second-guess the facts and theories presented by others, you're shocked by rejection of any sort, and you overall just don't handle people disagreeing with you very well).

    Now, Bob, by your own are white. So we're going to leave the sociological and fully enter the clinical for a moment because there's no way I'm letting that delicious bit of "word choice" go.

    1) Why do you see "white" as an insult as instead of a psychological and/or behavioral characteristic (as has been explained already)?

    2) Does being white bother you in some way you have difficulty verbalizing or even addressing? Did you expect this blog to help you unburden that "whiteness" in some way? That is, did you expect to come here and talk about the difficulties of being white?

    3) You're displaying symptoms of what I'm now calling Ecirb & Rankin Syndrome (will elaborate on my blog later this evening). Did you come to a blog like this in hopes of finding shortcuts to acquiring the love, respect, trust and admiration of POC? Do you have hopes of being a leader in social justice for POC?

    4) Lastly--and answer honestly because this one says a lot about you--which of these films do you enjoy?

    Blood Diamond
    DragonBall Z
    (not the show, the movie)
    The Last Samurai
    Journey into the West
    Dances with Wolves
    (yes, the new one)
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    The Forbidden Kingdom

  98. @Bob: In this particular field, the way to start learning is not by debating. As you've already been told - shut up and listen. The way to learn is not by strolling into the room and starting arguments and asking questions that zillions of white people have asked before. (Don't worry, we're going to get to how to learn in a minute.)

    Let me also explain: the reason you're being told you're acting white is because we see white people doing exactly the same thing you're doing, all the time. And I myself did exactly what you're doing a couple years back (not on here, on another forum).

    So here's what you do:
    1. Don't continue trying to defend yourself or explain where you're coming from or why you're saying what you're saying. Just drop it.
    2. Go read. Here's a Racism 101 that I wrote for people like you and me, and it covers the basics: the definition of racism, white privilege, derailing, etc. Google for "Racism 101" and you'll come across other good guides as well.
    3. After you've finished with that and you've got the basics, start reading the back entries in this blog. Don't comment (because you don't understand enough yet, and you're going to make the same mistakes you're already making), just read.
    3. Hang around for a few weeks and continue to just read. Don't chime in, don't argue, just listen to what people are saying. Gradually, things will start to make more sense to you. What you've been reading about the common tendencies of white people will start to "click" because you'll see people doing it.
    4. You'll begin to understand how you act out some of the common white tendencies. (This part goes on for the rest of your life.) Once you've begun to grasp that, then start commenting if you have something valid to say.
    5. If a few people tell you you're wrong, don't get argumentative, step back and give it a great deal of thought. It may take weeks to figure out. (Hell, it took me a couple *months* to realize it when I derailed the comments on a post on SWPD awhile back.) But just sit on it. It'll become clear in time.

    The thing to understand is that regardless of whether you personally don't support racism - regardless of the fact that you yourself would never use racial epithets - you and I are still part of the racist system. We still benefit from white privilege and oppress PoC in a million tiny ways, and even though we don't mean to oppress them, we do just through sheer cluelessness, and the end effect of oppression is the same whether we intended to or not.

    The way that you have been defending yourself here has been continuing to silence the PoC voices that have been speaking up. You are being part of the problem. If you want to start being part of the solution as well as part of the problem*, go back and start on the list I just wrote for you.

    * There's no real way for us not to be part of the problem as long as systemized racism is in place; the best we can do is to be both part of the problem AND part of the solution - and no, those two don't cancel each other out.

  99. @Moi,

    I appreciate you taking the time to at least hear my side. Thank you for helping me realize that I should have just kept my opinion to myself (because it comes across as arrogance) and that I may have distracted from the real issue which I believe (and please correct me if I'm still not getting it)... if people are going to call the Fort Hood shooting "terrorism", they better call Stack a terrorist. I agree whole heartedly with that sentiment.

    To your questions, I apologize if I didn't answer your questions. If you can re-post any, I would greatly appreciate it. When responding to long posts, I can easily become distracted and miss key elements. With that, I will answer your recent questions:

    1) "Why do you see 'white' as an insult as instead of a psychological and/or behavioral characteristic (as has been explained already)?"

    I don't see merely being called white as an insult at all. It is a physical characteristic. If someone were asked to describe me and they said "white male", there would be no issue. I do have a problem with comments like "that's a white thing to say". It gets especially confusing if a POC is said to say something "white". Sure, in many comedies, it works well as a joke. But in a serious discussion, if someone had said "that's a very POC thing to say", I would have a problem with it.

    I guess I see race as purely a physical characteristic. Sure, there are cultural differences, and genetic differences, and I don't ignore these. However, I don't see the culture as being the same thing as the skin color. To say a POC is acting "white" or a white person is acting like a POC just doesn't compute with me.

    But, to be honest with you, in trying to figure out why it "bothers" me, I don't have a solid answer. And in imagining different scenarios, I believe I see where you are coming from.

    For instance, I tried imagining fruit were people. If an orange looks like an apple, smells like an apple, and tastes like an apple... then it IS an apple. But then the question is, why was it even called an orange in the first place? I think that's where I am tripped up.

    Since I have white skin, it doesn't matter HOW I act... my skin color doesn't change. So, to me, my actions have nothing to do with skin color. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when you use skin-color in the context of this blog, you really aren't referring to physical attributes, but to a sociological behavior. Am I close?

    I suppose I don't see TOO much harm in doing so, I just feel concerned that there is a line that is too close to being crossed there. I think it comes down to "judging a book by its cover". If you can associate a term of physical characteristic (such as skin color) with a psychology (thinking a certain way), then it would be too easy to see someone with that particular physical attribute and automatically judge them as "thinking that way", even before you've truly gotten to know them.

    In other words, I was assumed to be "white" merely by my words. Might someone on the street assume me to think a certain way, just because of my skin color? If one direction is racism, isn't the other direction?

  100. "2) Does being white bother you in some way you have difficulty verbalizing or even addressing?"


    "Did you expect this blog to help you unburden that "whiteness" in some way?"


    "That is, did you expect to come here and talk about the difficulties of being white?"

    Absolutely not.

    "3) You're displaying symptoms of what I'm now calling Ecirb & Rankin Syndrome (will elaborate on my blog later this evening). Did you come to a blog like this in hopes of finding shortcuts to acquiring the love, respect, trust and admiration of POC?"


    "Do you have hopes of being a leader in social justice for POC?"

    No. I mean, I'd love to fight the good fight, but I don't consider myself qualified to be a 'leader' on the subject. I don't feel that only the leaders should speak, and I would gladly support others in the fight, but I wouldn't expect to earn any respect doing so. It's the cause which is important to me, not how it makes me look.

    "4) Lastly--and answer honestly because this one says a lot about you--which of these films do you enjoy?"

    Blood Diamond (Saw it and enjoyed it.)

    DragonBall Z (Didn't see it.)

    The Last Samurai (Didn't see it.)

    Journey into the West (Never heard of it.)

    Dances with Wolves (Saw it a long time ago, but honestly don't remember if I liked it or not.)

    Avatar (Haven't seen it, but plan to because I like good special effects. I'm not expecting too much from the plot because I've heard it's typical of something like Pocahontas.)

    Memoirs of a Geisha (Didn't see it.)

    The Forbidden Kingdom (Didn't see it.)

    I have to be honest, though... I generally don't see a movie expecting to be "moved" by it. To me, a movie is an escape from reality. A complete fabrication by someone looking to make money by entertaining people. If a topic in a movie does move me, I will usually study more about that topic to get the real scoop and to hear other viewpoints, rather than taking the movie-writer's viewpoint to heart.

  101. I really like that this aspect of the story is being addressed. When I first heard about the story my first reaction was that this was an act of Domestic Terrorism and was more then a little confused that the media didn't seem to label it as such. I do think that it is mainly due to the current "war on terror" that they are hesitant to hand that label out. Don't want to distract us from the "real" fight?

    Anyways this whole discussion has given much to think about.

    @Bob - I think the main problem you are having here is that everything is so filtered through your eyes that you have a hard time seeing the flip-side of the coin. I can not stress enough how important it is to really read the words of the other people here and try to understand where they are coming from. Even if you don't always agree with their point of view you will still find yourself learning a lot. Part of growing as a person is learning to understand things that you are not familiar with. It can help to sit back and read for a while without joining in. I mainly lurk here myself due to the fact that I am still learning and want to make sure I can join in on the conversations in a way that contributes rather then hinder them with my own lack of understanding.

    I will also say that while it feels like you are trying to gain your footing on one hand, on the other, sometimes it reads more like you are going through the motions without actually taking the time out to understand what is being said.

    @Moi- you said:

    4) Lastly--and answer honestly because this one says a lot about you--which of these films do you enjoy?

    Blood Diamond
    DragonBall Z (not the show, the movie)
    The Last Samurai
    Journey into the West
    Dances with Wolves
    Avatar (yes, the new one)
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    The Forbidden Kingdom
    Being fairly new to sites such as this I am really curious on thing such as this. I figured I would answer that part myself and see if perhaps you would elaborate on the significance of liking or not liking these titles.

    Blood Diamond - never seen it
    DragonBall Z (not the show, the movie) - Don't ever want to see it. I am still upset over casting.
    The Last Samurai - liked it
    Journey into the West - never seen it
    Dances with Wolves - seen it years ago and thought it was so-so
    Avatar (yes, the new one) - never seen it
    Memoirs of a Geisha - loved it
    The Forbidden Kingdom - thought it was entertaining

    As far as The Last Samurai, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Forbidden Kingdom go; they all had some pretty significant problems and glaring inaccuracies but I felt entertained enough to think they did their job in that regard. I like movies from all over the place and they had some aspects of films that I enjoy from Japan and Hong Kong. However that is also where those 3 fall short for me. They felt watered down and customized for an american audiance. Exotic, but not so much so we eliminate our america audiance. I don't understand that habbit of holywood.

  102. @ Bob

    Ladies and gentlemen, we've achieved something of a breakthrough (ish).

    Bob, when people say something is "just sooooo white" they're actually being very accurate, because they describing a centuries-old way of thinking. Ironically even, this very notion of what it means to "act white" or "talk white" was actually developed and described by whites themselves.

    Racism 101, by Moi
    Racism is a social construct which carries no biological basis in fact. Therefore, "race" can't be a purely physical characteristic; it doesn't even exist in those terms. So those genetic differences you mentioned? To say they are scientifically negligible would be a gross understatement.

    So what's the problem? The problem is, when people (even some POC) learn this little tidbit, they're tempted to jump on the "we're all human, racism is a myth, let's be colorblind, kumbaya" fast train.

    Whoa. Slow down.

    Race may be an easily dismantled myth, but racism is most assuredly not.

    If you click a link Macon posted on here earlier in response to moi, you'll get some really good details on the historical "creation" of the white race.

    In the time of early racism, none of those rich white elite folks --despite their privileged educations--knew anything about DNA, genetic markers, phenotypes, etc. People often forget that, and when they do, their dialogue instantly becomes horridly anachronistic; they talk about "perceived" genetic differences in races being the main cause of racism, and yet the science of genetics wasn't even around when racism's foundation was being laid.


  103. Still @ Bob


    Obviously, the elite from centuries past didn't know anything close to what we know about biology. "Biology" didn't have a damn thing to do with the initial "cause" of racism. Classism, on the other hand, is one of humanity's oldest sins. It is one of our very first crimes against ourselves.

    "Money is the root of all evil." "Money is the oldest reason to commit murder." Sound familiar? When in I was in 10th grade my history teacher tacked on another one, "All wars are about money...especially religious wars."

    In short, Bob, very early "racism" sprung up from the desire to protect money, assets, and the leisure of wealthy whites--all at the expense of poor indentured whites and blacks (slavery hadn't even started yet--that's how early we're talking). They liberated the white indentured servants, gave them a couple of pennies, pulled a "You're white like me now. You're not an ignorant, ugly, lowly savage like them dark folks" and thereby diffused any chance of poor blacks and whites uniting against the white elite.

    And that's what makes racism so very dangerous. It's not the blatant epithets and hate crimes--people get sued and go to jail for stuff like that now. No, it's the viral factor, the incubation factor, the infectious, insidious part of racism which causes one group to exclude, mistreat, discredit, and dehumanize others--ultimately to its own destruction.

    Now, what does this have to do with Stack and terrorism? How does this make him a terrorist and why is there such a desperation to pass him off a selfish, suicidal loon? Stack declared that the classist institutions of America have duped and exploited their fellow Americans for centuries, and that their fellow Americans have blindly gone along with it. He then went after such an institution 9/11-style.

    Now, your average American who's wrangling with taxes in mid-tax season is shedding no tears for the IRS--let's be honest, y'all. But with JP Morgan Chase Bank getting bombed in Athens, Greece just two days earlier, the elite are shaking in their boots--which happens once every neon moon in America. After all, how do you fight pure anger? Anger's older than racism, older than classism, lying far beyond the realm of any social construct invented by a human.

    Look at this way: Tim Wise once pointed out that America spends over $400 billion on defense every year. But $400 billion a year didn't stop 19 men from bringing down two towers. $400 billion a year didn't stop one man from crashing into an IRS building. $400 billion a year--can we get a refund?!??

    And it is for this, Stack fans are calling him a hero. It is because of this that the media--owned by rich whites, btw--do not want the public thinking Stack--and any white person who would denounce America as corrupt and exploitative--is anything but insane (even though I found it interesting Stack directly addressed insanity in his manifesto). Because when $400 billion a year on defense can't stop those guys, it can't stop anyone.

    *switches to Chris Rock mode*
    Now, I'm not a Stack fan and I'm sure as hell not sayin' he should've crashed his own plane into an IRS building...but I understand.

  104. @delciousburrito
    Bullshitter. You think you're slick!
    Did you think nobody would remember? Or check? Think again; I like research.

    Roeder has not been universally condemned as a terrorist. A murderous asshole w/ personality flaws, but not a terrorist. From jail, he's threatened that "similar events [are] planned around the country"— which rather implies a terrorist org— yet there has been no backlash against radical "pro-lifers," and and DHS is not looking into his "pro-life" associates. He's a lone, apolitical nut, apparently.

    McVeigh/Nichols? MSM was reporting that it might be terrorism that day because a) it was the anniversary of Waco, and b) the Sheik Omar trial had just started in NYC. In other words, it was maybe-terrorism BEFORE McVeigh was ever a suspect.

    Ditto Jewell and Rudolph: the Olympic Park bombing was widely reported as terrorism BEFORE there was any suspect, because hello, it was the Olympics. Days passed before the media went batshit on Jewell. And remember, he was exonerated within 10 weeks— and not by some underfunded social justice group, either— and that was (for once) VERY widely reported. Oh, and Rudolph? He set the bombs to punish the gov't for allowing abortion. Yup: another one. Lone apolitical nut, that is.

    All of these cases were unusually egregious, and in every one, the perps expressed zero remorse. Some w/ glee. So no surprise they're not beloved in the public opinion— still, they're doing better than can be explained, considering. I've never seen anything mainstream pegging their crimes to their being white. As in: haven't heard anyone suggesting that the gov't keep an eye on white churches cuz they're hotbeds of anti-American rhetoric. Nobody's saying they don't feel safe letting white people work in intelligence or the military. No jokes about sitting next to a Christian on a plane ["then dude started to pray, and I was like, oooh shit, we're goin' down!"]. There's no visceral fear about all these glaringly white, increasingly extreme political groups/militias/cults. You can still be a gun-flaunting teabagger screaming about watering the tree of Liberty with the blood of Congress, and the (white) populace will still just shrug. You won't be arrested or even tailed— not that I'm not saying one should be, I'm just saying: a MoC can't carry a freakin' pear in public without frightening trained police so much that they shoot him dead. White people, though, are just not scary no matter WHAT godawful/crazy shit they do. Nothing stains white.

  105. I have to say I cannot pretend that I am not pissed that this discussion has all but stopped in order to educate Bob. Quite honestly, I don't really believe he wants to learn anything. He doesn't look like he's trying at all, imo. He keeps repeating the same things, as if we've never heard them before.

  106. @Moi
    Props to you for taking the time to talk with Bob. However, I feel that he's bending the discussion into some high-brow conversation with himself, but nonetheless, good on ya for your effort.

    Btw, loved your Chris Rock insert!

    You still haven't even touched the points I (or many others for that fact) raised, but I doubt you will. How white of you.

  107. @Drowned Lotuses,

    I did address most if not all points, but not all of my messages have been approved. If you can clarify the points that didn't come across, I will happily respond. Of course, if you think it will just be a high-brow conversation with myself, I will understand if you would rather just leave it be.

    Whether you believe it or not, I really have had my eyes opened quite a bit about the exchange which has taken place. It was definitely not in vain, even if it was only beneficial to little old me.

  108. @Bob
    True, some of your postings did not reach here. However, you do come across as rather high-brow. Glad to see you've gotten something out of the forum at the very least...I think.

  109. Whether you believe it or not, I really have had my eyes opened quite a bit about the exchange which has taken place. It was definitely not in vain, even if it was only beneficial to little old me.

    You seriously don't get it, do you?

    That's exactly why I'm taking a break from this type of discussion for a while.

  110. Bob,

    With regard to the "that's a very white thing to say" issue:

    When people on this blog say things like that, they're not talking about mere stereotypes, or things that "just happen" to be stuff that white people do more than people of color -- like, say, bicycling, or listening to punk rock. They're talking about white tendencies that are crucial to maintaining racial discrimination.

    The implication, when people say something you're doing or saying is "white," is not merely that you sound like a white guy. It's that something in what you're saying represents a common white way of (a) discounting the voices of people of color, or (b) avoiding conversations about racism or responsibility for racism.

    For example:

    When Roxie said you were being intensely white, she was talking about this. (Man, I need to bookmark that post -- that's twice in one week I've had to link it...)

    When Macon said the focus on individuals is very white, he's talking about how white people tend to talk about how they "don't see black and white, just people," and this has the effect of denying/discounting the very racialized experiences of people of color. People of color are constantly and painfully reminded of racial distinctions. Talking about "seeing only people" has the effect of trivializing the differences in experiences, opportunities and behaviors people of different races have -- and therefore trivializing racism.

    When Kia talked about white people declaring themselves lexicographers, we have to interpret that in terms of a broader white tendency to control dialogue by claiming authority they don't have (in this case, the authority to decide what words mean). In your case, you were using a thoroughly nonstandard definition of terrorism (one that I've never heard) and projecting it onto an entire conversation. It may have been a reasonable definition of terrorism -- I see nothing wrong with it in principle -- but the point is that your participation in the discussion started, more or less, with "Let us define 'terrorism' as..." -- disregarding the fact that others in the conversation were already using the word, and with definitions other than the one you were using. When people say this is a "white" thing to do, they don't mean just that lots of white people do it (let alone that all white people do it, or that no nonwhite people do it) -- they mean that it's something a lot of white people do to reinforce whiteness.

    You'll notice that people haven't been accusing POC of saying "white" things, because when "white" is viewed in this context, it doesn't make sense. A POC can say the exact same thing, but it wouldn't be a "white" thing to say because it's not directed at (and doesn't have the effect of) maintaining that POC's white privilege. The way commenters on this blog talk about white people "acting white," the phrase has a completely different meaning from the meaning it takes when it's used to attack POC who, say, play golf.

    [By the way, I don't mean to say that the whiteness of bicycling and punk rock are thoroughly innocuous. It's been discussed on this blog before that if something is thoroughly dominated by white people, that's almost never a coincidence, and it almost certainly represents a history of exclusion in one form or another. But I do think it's important to maintain a distinction between the white tendency to listen to the Clash and the white tendency to listen to, say, David Allan Coe.]

  111. @Per,

    Thank you. Your words are definitely resonating with me. Everyone here has helped my brain to become "unstuck" from my way of thinking just long enough to question myself, which is the first step of a longer journey. It was specifically something Moi said that flipped that final switch. Some points by Robin, Angel H, and macon d chipped away, but Moi's words gave me the light bulb moment.

    I realize now that when I entered the middle of the discussion with my "Listen up, I've got something to say" attitude, that I basically stepped on everyone's feet. As a natural result, everyone responded with their declarations of pain and dislike. Rather than apologizing, I immediately tried to explain WHY I stepped on everyone's feet, pointed out how some feet were just in the way, or just declared that I didn't MEAN to step on any feet... when all I should have said was, "I'm sorry" and learned to be more careful next time.

    This is already something I have had to learn in my marriage (When my wife tells me about her horrible day at work, she's not wanting me to give advice or help fix it, she just wants me to feel her pain so that I can empathize.) I just need to apply this principle more often in other areas of my life.

    I also recognize now that talking about "seeing only people" has the effect of trivializing the problem which still exists. Since what I really mean is that I "don't judge a book by its cover", I should just stick to that phrase.

    I'm sorry for derailing the topic.

  112. Moi

    I think you are in dangerous territory when you tell Bob that he can't restructure language to suit his needs, and then give him a dictionary definition of terrorism.

    Who wrote the dictionary? When did they become the last word on what things mean? I disagree with the dictionary definition of racism and prefer the one advanced in the book "Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?". Why can't I choose a definition that I feel more accurately describes what racism is?

    Yes, we have to all agree on definition before we can have real conversations, but I think that only way that happens is if people admit to what their definition is. Therefore, it's vitally important that people like Bob explain their perspective, their opinion matters since when it comes to words and word meanings there are no true facts.

    Language is fluid.

  113. Big Man,

    Language is fluid and evolutionary--again, not arguing.

    And yet, we still study the roots of words--and by extension, concepts--to know where they evolved from.

    I said this to Bob because he, like many others, are trying to fit terrorism into a narrow definition which closely resembles 9/11. More importantly, they're trying to rely opinion, rather than entymology, history, theory, or any other kind of research.

  114. @Moi,

    Thanks for the article. While I can't relate 100% to the context of the message itself (for I am privileged), I can relate with the concept when it comes to the way men are portrayed in movies and commercials. But that would be a topic for another blog.

  115. I thought this article would be appreciated.



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