Tuesday, February 16, 2010

fail to see wolves in white sheep's clothing

A reader sent the following email, which includes thoughts on the murderous biology professor, Amy Bishop, that resemble my own. How often do white criminals slip past the detection of other whites, simply by being white? How much are white people in general harming themselves and others that way?

Dear Macon,

Over the last few days, I've been reading about “Amy Bishop” and her shooting rampage at Alabama University. As the press continues to release more information surrounding Bishop’s past, it becomes obvious that this woman had a history of instability. Bishop was responsible for the 1986 shooting death of her brother, and she was also a suspect in an unsuccessful 1993 bombing threat against a Harvard professor.

I cannot help but wonder whether white privilege played a role in allowing Bishop to continuously slip through the cracks without even a mere slap on the wrist. Or whether it was white privilege that groomed Bishop to feel so entitled that her challenged mind deemed it necessary to kill when she felt wronged or denied.

I've always considered circumstances like the Bishop case to be one of the grim realities resulting from white privilege. I do so, because if one would envision Bishop as a black woman while adding on statistics, a separate outcome emerges.

Had Bishop been a woman of color, would she have so easily re-absorbed back into society while having such a history? Or would she be still be imprisoned after the first offense? Was it whiteness that intervened against justice, and took away from Bishop from suffering consequences? Did a pass given due to whiteness cultivate a threat to society, creating a monster?

Now, the tragic reality is that she has left more carnage in her midst. If skin is to remain so powerful that it fails to recognize wolves as long as they're dressed in white-sheepish clothing, then aren't we all victims of this system of white privilege?


  1. of course white privilege played into this, it's how being white that she got away with those acts in the past.

    I just love how the media outright IGNORES her race and her religion, but with the Ft. Hood shooting, they were eager to scream, "THIS GUY IS A MUSLIM, THIS GUY IS AN ARAB AMERICAN."

    She is nothing but a WHITE TERRORIST, period.

  2. Hard to say, really. Walter Moseley's Socrates muses that he served a short sentence for rape and murder because the victims were black. If she were a POC and her original victim was white? I have no doubt she would have been executed 15 years ago.

  3. Also, one of the most frustrating dual experiences of my life were:

    1)the ready hatred of a POC ex by my friends (unrelenting trash-talking forcing me to defend a man who dumped me when I'd rather not talk about it because I was heartbroken)- a man who did not DO anything to me, except maybe be somewhat of a cad, but I could be pointed out to be something of the same at the time.

    2) The refusal of my housemates and friends to believe that the man who actually did try to kill me- in a drunken stupor no less- and than subsequently stalked me in such an unstable fashion that I suffered from PTSD for years- that guy was "nice" and "we should make up" and "I just can't see him doing that" (read: strangling me with a towel soaked in his own urine right after I dumped him and was trying to leave the room).

    Why? Because ex number two was a white guy. Really and truly.

  4. Very good point by Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist. I had a conversation with a friend earlier today about Bishop and her background. Inevitably, we discussed how the privilege of her white skin allow her to slip easily through the cracks, without much question to her past. I thought about her motives. The 'entitlement' for more on her job, but denied certain privilege to such pleasure. A black woman would have never had so many chances Bishop was given. In fact, a black woman would probably had a much harder time proving her innocence for the shooting death of a relative because authorities would have been more likely to question the circumstances surrounding the tradgey. I remember vividly the Fort Hood shooting and the mainstream media's focus on the description of 'Muslim' and 'Arab.' I think of how a crime by a POC is depicted in the mainstream press and the sudden outrage and hatred by some whites to 'remove' or attack innocent individuals of the same ethnic background who had nothing to do with the situation. I think of some crimes committed by whites and the instances where the white criminal was will describe the law breaking individual as black to the police and/or press. Sometimes, it works like a beautiful, lucky charm and other times not so much. I remember Tim Wise in his lecture on white privilege. He discussed the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and how people (predominately white) assumed to know everything about muslim culture or individuals of middle eastern descent based on the actions of 19 men. Sighs. Yes, it's always a privilege to still be invisible and face no linkage to crimes by others who happen to share the same race.

  5. Well, it does relate to that most media outlets try not to focus on the fact that most notorious serial killers are white or that most of the school shooters are young white males. It is part of that denial to make most of white America to feel comfortable where they live and blame anything wrong that happens on all other races (ex. Black people are naturally violent or all Middle Eastern people are terrorists). Sometimes the worst killers can be in their own backyard, but they are too busy focusing on the rest of us to notice.

  6. This is exactly what worried me about the party crashers to President Obama's little shindigs. Hardly anyone expressed extreme outrage because they didn't do it maliciously. But now it's so obvious that anyone who wanted to do something would just need to be white (or white looking) to get their foot in the door. If the people who are supposed to protect him have the mentality that white = innocuous, then he's in trouble.

  7. @ Reese

    Amen. POC don't commit the most crimes in America, but that's never the point. We commit some, and that's all that matters.

    @ Victoria

    Incompetence of the Secret Service. You gotta love it.

    @ Xenu01

    No offense, but your friends are fucked. The man tried to kill you. WTF? Don't even get me started on the urine-soaked towel issue.

    *shrug* Those are just not the peeps you want backing you up when you're chatting with the cops.

    @ the OP

    Didn't Tim Wise say something about how white people are 5 times more likely to be killed by a white person they know than anybody else?

  8. "If she were a POC and her original victim was white? I have no doubt she would have been executed 15 years ago."
    But her original victim was her brother, who presumably would also have been black in this scenario...

  9. It isn't just white privilege, it's blue privilege. Bishop's mother was on the town's personnel board (presumably with jurisdiction over police salaries), and there are claims that she got the police chief to not investigate too closely, release daughter to her custody, etc.

    BTW, sociopaths can be very good at creating a favorable public image.

  10. White privileged was the first thing I thought about when I heard about the shooting on Friday. The details about her past violent history that emerged only confirmed my initial reaction. The need to open an investigation into her brother's shooting and the cops that released her without booking her need to be charged. If she'd been properly arrested for her brothers shooting no university would have ever hired her. People at Harvard were put in danger and people at U of Alabama died because of that obstruction of justice. Any brown person who "accidentally" shot a gun in her bedroom, then went to the kitchen and "accidentally" shot her brother in the chest, then went outside and tried to car jack someone with the same gun would have been thrown under the jail. Time and again these obviously violent dangerous individuals are ignored until a massacre occurs. Meanwhile I can't walk through stores without being followed by security or drive through predominately white suburbs without the cops following me.

  11. The third "privilege" that played out here was the fact that women on average are less violent than men, and incapable of handling guns, resulting in a stereotype that supported an "accident" scenario in the brother's murder.

    It's rare for an employment-related workplace shooter to be female.

  12. I absolutely think that white people fail to see wolves in white sheep's clothing. I can think of so many examples of white (mostly male) people who get convicted of some horrible crime and all their neighbors were meanwhile saying "I never would have thought it, he seemed so NICE." But if people of color move into the neighborhood, all of a sudden the neighbors are saying they "just don't feel SAFE anymore."

    However, I also have to think that her gender played a major role in slipping through the cracks in order to perpetrate repeated crimes. As Reese said above, most serial killers and school shooters are white males. Female serial killers are relatively rare.

    I also have to disagree with the suggestion in the post that "white privilege that groomed Bishop to feel so entitled that her challenged mind deemed it necessary to kill when she felt wronged or denied." Even though she's got white privilege, she's still not the top of the food chain, because she hasn't got male privilege.

  13. With regards to a youthful Amy Bishop, can’t you just hear local white police officers saying; let’s just put this behind us. "She was caught but never charged. Police said it took 11 days before they could interview family members because they were so distraught. When they finally did, authorities decided to let her go, declaring the whole thing an accident."

    She’s a good kid, and she comes from a good home/family. (Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard whites say this.) She comes from a good home, as if that alone negates any criminal behavior on her part. The young boys that shot up Columbine came from good homes as well; good kids too!" as I hear tell it. A tragic shooting yes- but let’s just leave it at that. No sense in ruining "two" lives in the process.

    Years ago, (early 90's) we had a wave of church arson/vandalism that hit the local area. For a while law enforcement seemed stumped as to who the culprits were. Based on anonymous tips (and group members bragging about their exploits) it was learned a band of young white males going by the name of, “The Merry Pranksters” were responsible. Arson- vandalism and religious desecration were their hallmark apparently.

    These thugs were white kids from “good homes” in the surrounding suburbs, charged with terrible- terrible crimes. Turns out, the presiding judge refused to send them to jail, for as he put it, “it might hurt their chances for future employment.” So this gang of young white misfits was placed in alternative programs for crimes most black men would have went to prison for. In the eyes of local law enforcement, a young white suspect still has potential and it would be downright criminal for the court to rob the child of opportunities because of a few bad decisions. Black youth are viewed as being criminal to the core- with little or no chance for habilitation. Those white boys most likely gave themselves numerous high-fives, walking away with a healthy dose of entitlement/privilege to boot.

    Some Whites in authority are able to weed through the criminality and see traits that are admired in the white community. Spunk- aggression, tenacity- creativity and intelligence: qualities that need not be bad things if they can be properly channeled in white youth. Because let’s face it, some white judges and policemen were kids once; as a result they sometimes see their own childhood reflected in the rambunctious antics of white youth, and find it easy to relate.

    Barbara said...
    "I remember Tim Wise in his lecture on white privilege. He discussed the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and how people (predominately white) assumed to know everything about muslim culture or individuals of middle eastern descent based on the actions of 19 men. Sighs. Yes, it's always a privilege to still be invisible and face no linkage to crimes by others who happen to share the same race."

    I think you could have several bombing incidents similar to the one perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh. In the media blitz that would most surely follow I don’t think "whiteness" would ever come up as being remotely relative. Instead the media would examine the mental health angle (bunch of right-wing wackos.) Or spin it in a manner so as not to demonize all white males, because that would be just wrong. Ask many people about Timothy McVeigh and some respond, Timothy who? Because even in death his whiteness serves to lesson his crime. Whites still fear the racial-other coming across these shores to do them harm, but regularly ignore the white menace lurking within their own communities. Dedicated- principled, upstanding God-fearing men, more than willing to assassinate doctors, or bomb buildings- for a just cause.

  14. Yes white privilledge played a role in her getting away with it and the whole "she's a good kid' crap too and also becasue she is a woman played into it too. She a nice white girl so give her a break. But if she was a woman from another race it would have been "you know how crazy those women are."

  15. [redacted -- this is a blog about stuff white people do, not stuff black people do. ~macon]

    You might find a couple of specific classifications of murder that are more frequently found among whites. But when you do find them, you will also find there is a response from the white community.

    Classes in conflict resolution, anti-bullying rules, gun-locks, and other strategies are put in place to reduce the risk of violent outbursts.

  16. A few years ago a white neighbor of mine (I am also white) went off his meds and began shooting up his house, and then turned his shotgun on the neighborhood, spraying buckshot up and down the street and putting a hole in the side of my house. The police came in with a SWAT team and a little tank, and they called him on the phone and convinced him to give himself up. Just to counter the usual media take (he was such a nice, quiet guy), I told the news team that he was a raving loony and that I wasn't surprised at his violence. In two days he was back in his house, and, not having been convicted of a gun crime, could go out and buy another weapon. The next time he fired into my house the SWAT team showed up again and took him away peacefully. Three weeks later, guess what. He was released on bail--a clearly deranged and violent man--and as far as I know, he still hasn't gone to trial (He moved away). I have no doubt that the way the system coddled my white neighbor is not what would have happened to a black man in that situation. Yes, derailers, I don't know everything about the case or his legal situation, but to me, this is an example of white privilege, and it has personally endangered me and my other neighbors.

  17. If 'white privilege' lets so many white wolves slip through the cracks, then why are there not more white murderers? Also: the term 'white privilege' suggests that the norm society takes towards the potentially violent should be otherwise. So what we should all strive for is to have something more akin to the stereotypical POC experience where suspicion is assumed up front?

    At Fort Hood, the guy was screaming muslim religious phrases as he shot up a bunch of soldiers - his background was very relevant. Perhaps your complaint is that the media went there too quickly? It certainly doesn't seem to have been an inappropriate fact to emphasize in retrospect.

  18. @rp re: "At Fort Hood, the guy was screaming muslim religious phrases as he shot up a bunch of soldiers - his background was very relevant."

    Whether he shouted something or not (and I seem to remember this being debunked at one point), the press and politicians used his religion only as grounds for calling that incident terrorism as opposed to a work-related violent incident. That is wrong. But because of the perp's "otherness" triggering the prejudice against Muslims, the story for days was about what the nature of the crime was, when to the base itself, it was work-related and not a terrorist act. I'm not saying that this week's act should be called terrorism, but that such a charge should be made in a court, not in the media or by politicians, and not based on stereotypes.

  19. something like 1 out of every 200,000 white americans will be killed by another white american in a typical (recent) year. rates are roughly similar in europe. [redacted] Beyond a bunch of crazy anecdotes, where's the evidence that low levels of white suspicion towards their own kind is leaving a lot of white murderers on the loose?

  20. @blogroller - agreee with you that Hassan's mental issues leave it unclear how much his act was terorism vs mental derangement. I do believe the sources I read that say he shouted muslim phrases and that link him with email exchanges to a Yemeni imam, but maybe I'm a dupe of the mainstream media, I certainly don't know that.

    Also - I agree with everyone that had a POC killed her brother as Amy Bishop did, she would have been much less likely to get off so easily. But what level of action towards that type of event/person should we be striving for for everyone? I don't see evidence we're letting a bunch of Amy Bishops off too easy. I do see obvious evidence we are not giving POC the same benefit of the doubt for all kinds of bad reasons.

  21. @ rp

    How do you know there aren't?

    Out here in the wonderfully neglected Appalachia, where there aren't enough black people to blame for the almost daily beatings, stabbings, and shootings of say, Wayne County, WV, killing someone and burying them "out in the hills" is not an "issue". You hear whites actually laugh about that shit out here.

    Already we have the laziest cops in the universe. My friend (white chick) was held up at gunpoint (by a white guy) the first night she worked at the city mission (located right across the street from the police station, btw). It took the police three hours to respond. And though the mission recorded the whole incident via surveillance the cops didn't bother going after him. They figured there was no point since "no one died."

    When I worked in domestic violence, I met the worst case in that shelter's entire history. White woman got beyond beaten. Her teeth were pulled with pliers, her ears were almost sliced completely off. Her hair was brutally hacked with a butcher knife, and he took flaps of her scalp with it. White dude got out on bail. Few days of freedom and he whooped the dogshit out of another white woman and landed her ass in the ICU. Got out on bail again. Woman #2's brother went after him and wound up in an ICU bed of his very own.

    Dude got out on bail again...you know, 'cause it's not like he had a pattern or anything or was a danger to society at all. Even worse, our woman was shaking in her boots and reconsidering facing that psycho in court. When news of the new victims arrived at the shelter, it was all we could do to keep her from dropping charges.

    The point here is not that we should start racial profiling whites as well--no one should be racially profiled in the first place. This is not a "let's all hate whitey" sitch. In case you haven't been reading the horror stories on here, white people are getting hurt/killed/raped by white people. Statistics already show they are more likely to be hurt by white people because people in general tend to attack and kill "their own" rather than others. And unlike POC--who are always on the lookout for everybody anyhow--whites are paying even less attention to the people who are more likely to cause them harm.

    Activists keep bringing up this particular aspect of white privilege and they keep being ignored. Now yet another group of innocents lie dead because of it (which won't mean anything for long; in the good ole US of A we have a sick tendency to ignore the dead anyway). White privilege tells white people not to care, not to pay attention, not to worry, because they live in a "nice" community and white people don't do that "crime" nonsense. Don't question, don't suspect, don't be vigilant--"We're all good people here." As Tim Wise wrote in 2001 the day after yet another school shooting, "...another 'nice' community is scratching its blonde head, utterly perplexed at how a school shooting the likes of [that]...could happen." After all, as White America would say, Bishop was a "good girl".

    Well, as Jay-Z would say, the "good girl's gone bad" and maybe--just maybe--we need to check that shit. People like Bishop shouldn't be getting away with tiny little misdemeanors like murder or assault. They shouldn't be getting out on bail. Call me crazy, but I thought dead humans and their killers were supposed to be, like, I dunno...taken seriously or something?

    And WTF was Bishop's mother thinking trying to protect the child...who killed her other child? Honestly: which one of you fine folks on here would get a pass from your parents for busting a cap in one of your own siblings? Seriously??!

  22. @ Macon re: what shriveled heart said

    I smell the denial here as well....

    Anyhoo, if anyone's interested, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1976-2005, 86% white people were killed by other white people. Now if you focus just on 2005-nowish, your eyebrow will no doubt rise at the not-so-tiny fact that more white people are killing white people than black people are killing other black people (in case you're wondering why the BJS is so hell-bent on blending in data from nigh on 40 years ago). Summary: whites are currently getting iced more than blacks, and they are doing so at the hands of other whites.

    Now, I know that white America LOVES the word "rates" as in "Negroes are fucking each other up at MUCH higher rates than white folks." *shakes head* Doesn't change anything. We're 12% of the population. Factor in actual population numbers and vanilla trumps chocolate every time (by the way, white men have the highest rates and numbers of suicides according to suicide.org, with white women as the runner-ups. Apparently firearms are the method of choice. Why is this even remotely relevant? Because when whites obsessively focus on POC fucked-uppery, white fucked-uppery goes ignored, giving it free reign to occur in much larger numbers...while POC get the necessary wake-up call to work double-time to combat the stereotypes and try to change some shit which, according to the BJS, we have! Ha!)


    "I can think of no other way to say this, so here goes: white people need to pull our heads out of our collective ass... Rethink their stereotypes of who the dangerous ones are. But deep down, I know better. The folks hitting the snooze button on this none-too-subtle alarm are my own people, after all, and I know their blindness like the back of my hand."--Tim Wise

  23. a) If she were POC and students had been complaining about her erratic behavior to no avail, the media would be saying the behavior was ignored b/c of political correctness.

    b) If she were POC and people had been complaining about her teaching skills the way her students did, the media would be saying she got her job due to affirmative action - they're not saying it now even though white women are the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action.

    c) I'm pretty sure if you bring up this post in a convo with the avg. white they'll hypocritically say you're investing race in a situation where race isn't a factor because whenever we see what they can't we must be imagining things.

  24. We have the trifecta of privilege here: white, woman, family members in positions of power.

    How many times have we seen this story, the story of a person who's "a good person, from a good home," who gets away with horrible things, only to commit more horrible things later on? It's appalling on so many levels.

    What's worse is I don't see this changing much any time soon. If you're lucky enough to live in a community with decent newspapers, you might get media backlash on a situation like when she got away with killing her brother...but newspapers are becoming mere shadows of their former selves.

    As a former professor, as a white woman, as someone who quit rather than face being denied tenure, I have a small inkling of the shame and anger and sadness she must have been feeling. That she would go to such extremes in expressing this anger speaks to there being severe underlying psychological difficulties.

    I have to wonder if her privilege didn't protect her from scrutiny of her psych profile. Was she just considered "eccentric?" Would a person of color with that psych profile have also been labeled as "eccentric" and left alone?

  25. It always rubs me the wrong way when people say women have this "privilege". The fact of the matter is PEOPLE DON'T TAKE WOMEN SERIOUSLY. That's why women can get away with things. I'll be glad when women have a harder time getting away with things, because that will mean we are being taken seriously.

  26. Beyond a bunch of crazy anecdotes, where's the evidence that low levels of white suspicion towards their own kind is leaving a lot of white murderers on the loose?

    Everybody raise your hands if you remember the media speculating that the Oklahoma City bomber was a Muslim terrorist before McVeigh got caught. [raises hand]

    Raise your hand if you remember Charles Stuart from Boston who blamed an imaginary Black man for his wife's murder. [raises hand]

    Keep your hands up if you remember Susan Smith. [hand raised]

    The "runaway bride" who claimed she was abducted by a Hispanic man? [hand still raised; shoulder getting sore]

    The woman who carved the letter B into her face and said she was assaulted by a Black man?

    I'd list more examples but I'm losing circulation in my fingers.

  27. Would a person of color with that psych profile have also been labeled as "eccentric" and left alone?

    Has any Black person ever been called eccentric by the mainstream media? I don't even think Michael Jackson was ever called that.

  28. @Moi re: "Summary: whites are currently getting iced more than blacks, and they are doing so at the hands of other whites."

    And because we see other white people as individuals and not as part of a racial group, we don't see statistics like that as an indicator of anything about white people in general.

  29. My blood ran cold— and then hot— when I read about the five students who got together and complained about her affect (not effect) in the classroom... and then the one student who was quoted as saying, "whatever, she seemed nice enough." Now, obviously I wasn't there; I don't know exactly what happened. But I couldn't help but think, "white!!" The other students complained about her teaching; this guy felt it wasn't an issue because she seemed "nice." They compared her to the other professors; he seemed to be comparing her to nothing at all. Relative to nothing in particular, she "seemed nice." That got to me because no matter how nice I am, I'm rarely seen as nice. Intimidating? Oh yes! People tell me that all the time. ("When we first met, I was scared of you! Haha, isn't that funny!?" Um... no. Actually, it hurts my feelings, thanks.) The threshold for nice is much higher for brown women.

    OMG, exactly. I don't know if I'll ever stop grinding my teeth about that. It's right up there with those fools who think chivalry is about women being respected. As if! I think a lot of people are able to escape understanding the concept of "privilege" because of the vocabulary. [It's a rant for another day, but I am so effin pissed about the fact that we anti-ismists are forced to used the clunkiest, most imprecise language. It makes it so easy for people to blow off the concepts. The vocabulary doesn't stick, and I DO NOT believe it's an accident.] As far as her femaleness, you're so right. It was a "reverse privilege" (or whatever term makes sense!)— she got leniency not because women are seen as more valuable or whatever, but the opposite: women's emotions are discounted (she had a public meltdown, but she was prolly just upset; you know how women are); women are seen as incapable (poor thing just doesn't know how to handle a gun); women need to be protected from reality by men (we can't send this delicate flower off to jail!). And as far as intersection, she's a 100% woman, because she's white. Compared to her, I, as a WoC, "aren't a woman."

  30. @Bingo,
    Oh man, when you're right, you're right! And I'd say A and B (affirmative action and "political correctness" through fear) are really one and the same. I have yet to see any mention of affirmative action— even though people are wondering left and right why she wasn't disciplined when students complained. They just can't figure it out; how could this happen??

    SWPD: Assume that a white person's future holds more potential than a PoC's (and work to make sure that becomes true).

    Not like I haven't heard it before, but for some reason, in this case I am angered to the point of tears about the "well, there's no need to ruin another young life over this" re: shooting her little brother in the chest with a damn shotgun. That community-sponsored coverup helped her out every single day for 25 years— they literally reached in and rearranged things to ensure that her life would go smoothly. For one thing, she would never have gotten the university job in the first place if they'd handled that correctly. For another, she would probably not have been able to go off in a store screaming "do you know who I am!?" without getting arrested again and adding to her record. For a third, imagine how that pipe bomb investigation might have gone if her record had reflected her, y'know, actual record. It takes a village, indeed.

    It just makes me so. ANGRY. that law enforcement et al (everyone, really) is fully aware that tangling with them— for any reason— can ruin your life, and yet that has no effect on actions or attitudes. I saw COPS just last night (ugh), and watched a black man get arrested for no effin reason. Basically the cop got scared— he thought the guy was dangerous, but he wasn't. And when it was determined that he wasn't, he was arrested anyway. Not because he did anything wrong, but because the cop mistakenly perceived danger/resistance— and he admitted as much. I guess the guy just didn't "seem nice," so nobody cares about his future. (What future? PoC have futures?!?) And 25 years later, when he maybe can't get a decent job, nobody's going to put it together. He'll just be another one of "those people" that "we" have done "so much for." Right.

  31. ["just throwing this out there," don't be a crybaby, especially about things that aren't true. Go and try to serve that White Whine elsewhere. ~macon]

  32. @ macon d

    I don't really know what that means. And I don't know who you're talking to.

  33. leedevious,

    As I explain in the provisional Comments Policy, I sometimes explain in brackets why I rejected a comment, for the sake of the person who submitted the comment. "just throwing this out there" was listed as the Name of the person who wrote the rejected comment; sorry for the confusion.

  34. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35460268/ns/us_news-life?GT1=43001

    Breaking news, someone just crashed a plane into an IRS building in Austin TX. Based on the fact that the media has not yet mentioned his race, I'm going to assume he's white. It appears that he INTENTIONALLY crashed the plane into the IRS building because of his ongoing struggles and dissatisfaction with the American government, and with the IRS in particular. However, Fox News has already put out a statement that the incident was deemed NOT an act of terrorism by the NTSB.

    If this guy had been Arab, or Muslim, he would have already been declared a suicide bomber, a terrorist, his race and/or religion would have been identified. Regardless of what the suicide note said.

    I will do the CHICKEN DANCE down the hallway of my office if I see a single media article labeling this guy a suicide bomber or a terrorist.

    The hypocrisy is astounding.

  35. Southern Masala said...
    "If this guy had been Arab, or Muslim, he would have already been declared a suicide bomber, a terrorist, his race and/or religion would have been identified. Regardless of what the suicide note said."

    Rick Sanchez of CNN says this. A lot of people are saying (on twitter- facebook, and emails sent in to me) I understand this man's anger. No mention of his whiteness..and no mention of the word terrorist. Instead there is sympathy for what drove this white man to such lengths. It could very well be his white skin that’s causing the race-bonding and the solidarity amongst followers of the story online. But oh my Lord, is this had been a man of color. I totally agree!

    Excuse me- the terrorism aspect was just mentioned by his co-anchor (why aren’t they calling this an act of terrorism?) and Rick said this, “the semantics game is one that we can play till midnight tonight. I think it’s best not to play it when it involves one human being- with one grudge directed at one particular group- or one particular person. The notion of a terrorist act was completely and utterly dismissed by this analyst. This man is an “Individual” a spaced out wacko, and therefore should be accorded all the rights and privileges his whiteness can extend. Even when it seems clear to me he has indeed committed an act of terrorism against the IRS.

  36. @Southern Masala and M.Gibson:
    WTF?? "one human being— with one grudge directed at one particular group" somehow excludes terrorism??
    It's best not to "play the semantics game"? How is redefining "terrorist" just so this guy Stack isn't one not fucking with semantics??

    And yeah: white people who do godawful things are ALWAYS "driven" to it. There's always some "explanation." Because they're fine upstanding stable people, by default. Therefore, something has to have "gone wrong," and dammit, WE WILL FIND OUT WHAT IT WAS! In fact, that is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to be thinking about! We'll invent something, if necessary. It's the IRS! They're so frustrating! They're so unfair! Why they gotta fuck with everybody? They hounded a no-doubt-innocent man into suicide!! That explains it!

    And yet according to SM's link, whaddayaknow, old boy had his company shut down for... nonpayment of income taxes. For um, the second time. Ten years before, a whole 'nother company of his was shut down for not filing taxes at all. But by all means, let's assume this is all about the IRS, amirite!? He couldn't possibly be a TAX DODGING TERRORIST. (Just like how the Bishop case is all about the grueling tenure system.)

    Jeez. Two people in the hospital and another missing because of this nutjob, and already the wagons are circling to protect him! And no, I don't want to jump to conclusions on the IRS case. But the news is already jumping to conclusions (it's their nature), and they never seem to jump to "there must be some explanation!" when it's a nonwhite perp. And I WILL confidently make one conclusion, that they don't seem to be able to: this Stack guy was an attempted MURDERER. Period, the end.Calling him a suicide is a (totally unsolicited!) kindness. An attempt at suicide is when you try to kill yourself. This guy made a point of trying to kill other people. That ain't semantics.

  37. Hmmm....Interesting post.

    I have noticed that most of these shooting sprees are usually done by White people who will take guns into schools or shopping centres/malls and just start shooting innocent people at random.

    I do agree that she is a WHITE terrorist. Also, terrorists come in all colours, same as fraudsters, crooks and scammers.

    Over here in the UK, I only saw one article about this woman who had previously shot her brother then went on a shooting rampage. If that was anyone of another colour, you would get the story for all day breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, all day everyday until the whole population was aware of it.

    Another one who fits the title of this post is the white woman who all the current evidence shows killed a black guy who won millions on the lottery. This woman was a "person of interest" to the police but they took their time arresting her, even after finding his body under concrete slabs under her boyfriend's house. Had that been the other way round, the outcome would have been quite different from the start.

  38. Oh wait, what am I saying? Fox News is sure to declare this guy a terrorist. Not so much because of what he's done, but because: Obama.

  39. karinova said...
    @Southern Masala and M.Gibson:
    WTF?? "one human being— with one grudge directed at one particular group" somehow excludes terrorism??
    It's best not to "play the semantics game"? How is redefining "terrorist" just so this guy Stack isn't one not fucking with semantics??

    If you read my post..I was quoting Sanchez verbatim: this was his personal opinions not mine...
    Please go back and read it again... “Rick Sanchez said this”

    I put the machine on pause just so that I could get it right. The absurdity of it all was astounding. My point was, he went out of his way- almost breaking his neck NOT to call that white man a terrorist; viewing him solely as an individual. Something whites love to do. That was my angst.

    I was commenting on the analysts’ state of mind: In his eyes this man is an “Individual” a spaced out wacko, and therefore should be accorded all the rights and privileges his whiteness can extend. That's how these white men see it sitting behind the anchor's desk.

    "Even when it seems clear to me he has indeed committed an act of terrorism against the IRS." This was my point can you see it now? Maybe I erred in not putting some of this stuff into brackets- or quotation marks, and for that I apologize.

  40. Oh and as far as the cartoon/picture at the beginning is concerned, I always think Please God, I hope it wasn't a black person/let it NOT be a black person who committed that crime. Of course relief always washes over me when it is not.

    So, that cartoon is spot on!

  41. @M.Gibson,
    Oh, no, sorry; I wasn't clear there. I was trying to agree. I understood that you were quoting Sanchez. (Believe me, I read that baby about 5 times before the brainlock cleared!) My "wtf??" was supposed to mean something like, "that was so patently stupid, I cannot believe he said that! wtf?!"

    Sorry about that.
    I'm completely on your page with that whole comment— both, now. "Absurd" is exactly the right word. (And maybe also "confounding"!)

  42. karinova said...

    Oh, no, sorry; I wasn't clear there. I was trying to agree. I understood that you were quoting Sanchez. (Believe me, I read that baby about 5 times before the brainlock cleared!) My "wtf??" was supposed to mean something like, "that was so patently stupid, I cannot believe he said that! wtf?!"

    Please forgive me..looks like I went and did the very same thing.

    "I cannot believe he said that! wtf?!"

    Bet your jaw dropped as much as mine did when he said that. Thanks so much for your reply.

  43. Preach it Moi preach on! And to DIMA I hear you that topic was covered very well by my 'hero' and favorite def poet Suheir Hammad. Her poem on DefPoets 'first writing since' about 9/11 and all the anti-Arab malice that came with it is on youtube you should check it out.

  44. yeah, i agree about white people being much more dangerous to me than black people-i am actually more cautious around a white man than a black man. most crime is within race, especially violent crime. now, it is true that the only time i have ever been mugged it was by a black guy-but. i was not hurt, just scared. so that was not violent crime, at best, property-and he only got $5. if that's the only time i am victim to crime, i will consider myself very lucky. i am, in fact, most likely to be killed in my own home by an intimate partner, if you take the statistics.

  45. On your original question, why white criminals slip past other white people un-noticed, I see that this theme figures prominently in popular media. I am currently writing about the show, Dexter, where a white guy hides behind his whiteness (white girlfriend/wife, white suburban lifestyle including big house in segregated neighborhood, white sports such as bowling and golf) and commits grisly crimes. I argue that a Black Dexter wouldn't work -- he could not be so anonymous. I'm sure there are other examples, but your post made me think of the stuff I'm working on now. And Dexter, like other white murders, become popular heroes. Weird.

  46. So true, just recently in Austin Texas a white man flew is play into a federal building because he didnt want to pay taxes.

    Because I go to school in Austin my mother called to make sure everything was okay. I hadn't gotten word of the incident because I was in class all day. I asked her do they know who the suspect is/was. She said they know his name but they haven't show pictures or given a physical description. I instantly said he is a white man. She laughed and agreed, I told her no seriously if it was any other race of person their picture would have been all over the place.

    White privileged plays a big role in news coverage...

  47. What about Seung-Hui Cho, that dude who killed all those people at Virginia Tech? He had a history of mental instability and was removed from classes due to teachers who felt uncomfortable with the violent subject matter in his creative writing. I agree with all the posts here, but this one, not so much.

  48. breakbot, it is my understanding that most school shootings have been perpetrated by white men/boys. In that context, Cho was an aberration. I'm afraid that saying he negates wolves in white sheep's clothing is a fallacy.

  49. I think breakbot missed the most important point of the topic s/he brought up. Does anyone else think the failure to see Seung-Hui Cho as a threat might itself involve racism - the refusal to see Asian men as strong, "masculine", or capable of doing anything "individual"? Same old "model minority"...

    I also must agree with Katherine. The simplest explanation I can find is that PoC have real problems to concern themselves with (i.e. racism), and only white boys have the privilege to dwell in their privileged angsty fantasy worlds out of which so much of the school shooting phenomenon arises.


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