On January 8, a 22-year old opened fire at a public forum in Tucson Arizona, killing a federal judge, a 9-year old and seriously wounding Congresswoman Giffords and some of her staffers.
And despite mainstream media silence, we knew the race of the perpetrator instantly. No one said “a black man opened fire” and CNN was insisting that this was not an act of terrorism. So we could assume that the mass murderer was neither black nor Latino. The definition of white is someone who is not non-white. He was not non-white. He was white. Later, reports would confirm the assumption. Politicians came out in numbers to condemn this “senseless and violence act” but no public official would call it what it was: an act of domestic terrorism.
One definition of terrorism offered by the U.S. government describes terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” How does Jame Loughner not fit that description? Terrorism must then have a different definition and Loughner does not meet it. His middle name is not Mohammad and he isn’t non-white. Despite a Youtube video from Loughner where he defines himself as a terrorist, the media refuses to call him that.
Instead, he’s described as mentally ill and unstable, a lone gunman whose actions do not speak for a larger community. That’s what you call white privilege. And I’m glad he is white. For if he was black or brown, we’d have many people justifying “senseless acts of violence and vitriol” against communities of color, calling for internment camps and stricter immigration measures.
For now, we can relax and enjoy the brief hiatus of political violence against our communities. Or can we?