Wednesday, 15 August 2012
On Race and terrorism:
Inspiring article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/14/privilege-blindness-roots-of-terrorism
The article covers the belief that the terrorism of white people is not acknowledged as terrorism because of white privilege. I think while it's right that white privilege plays a role, it also misses several important parts of the context as to why the narratives are so different.
1. Imho many white terrorists are Right wing in political leaning.
Many of our "leaders" are right wing. No right wing politician who secretly is cheering on or agreeing with a white person who say bombed a planned parenthood or who shot down a Person of color for racist reasons, is going to call the person a terrorist.
The right wing often work to control the narrative we hear, if they've got ugly views and let's face it the right wing is replete with ugly views, then acknowledging someone who acted violently on similar beliefs to them as a terrorist raises uncomfortable questions about their beliefs and how hateful they are. Those are not questions that many right wing people want to ask themselves.
One thing I've learnt as an autistic is that NT people in general are very good at lying to themselves and to others about the ugly bits inside of them. From the bully who cries victimhood when called on their bullying to the racist who defends their racism with a derail, NT people in general are very good at ignoring what they don't want to see in themselves and their own group. Acknowledging any given white terrorist as a terrorist might puncture that lie for many white people, and thus I suspect that this is also a reason why the labeling of white terrorists as terrorists is often avoided.
2. The human cognitive bias when it comes to violent people is to see anyone who is 'like' us as being 'not like' us if they do something horrific is not limited to white people.
You get similar arguments in the minority community, difference is that doesn't end up on fox news as a general rule.
I've had plenty of PoC basically sit there and tell me that issues I know exist actually don't, same as white folks tend to deny that racism still exists in response to a white person murdering a PoC over skin color.
Blaming such "this person isn't like me" solely on white privilege ignores that it goes on in minorities as well. It's a human cognitive bias for a reason.
3. Ultimately, no matter what the color of the skin of someone who has done something horrifically violent and/or hateful, they will have cultural reasons behind them to some degree. Solely blaming white privilege tends to white wash this issue out of the debate without addressing it.
It's a cross cultural issue, it needs to be treated like one.
Minorities suffer from the same issues as the majority all too often, in some communities people are brought up in a cultural echochamber especially in very insular and dense communities, and thus don't acknowledge the negative messages they're taught about other racial groups or indeed any other group. It's very hard to argue that upbringing does not play a part of why some people do the most horrific things, on both sides.
Yet all too often people do scramble around labeling calling minority groups on this problem as racism, when in fact we should be looking at these reasons which exist in all cultures for such violence against other groups. I have spoken to people who were absolutely convinced after a culturally isolated upbringing filled with negative comments about other groups that anything, no matter how violent, hateful or criminal that they did to the groups they'd been socialised against with negative beliefs about was perfectly acceptable because those groups "deserved" it, and those people? Aren't all white.
Ultimately all cultures do socialise their children to some extent in general against other groups. A minority group might not have the power to make that an institutionalized socialisation that everyone gets, but it's still a widespread issue.
Basically, I think the issue is much more complicated, and really needs an embracing of multiculturalism and integration by all groups to actually be solved. Without full integration in our communities, the most vulnerable are put at risk no matter what racial group they belong to.
It's very hard to become a bigot or to harbor prejudice against people when you receive a mixed message about others from personal experience instead of an echo chamber of prejudice. People who are connected, stand together against terrorists. Ultimately full integration would protect against such acts and make it easier to call a terrorist a terrorist.