The recent murders of of Orlando LGBT patrons at The Pulse nightclub and British MP Jo Cox make me recall walking near the Tribeca area of New York City last New Year’s Eve, and observing what appeared to be a religious zealot on Chambers Street screaming at high volumes about giving “Our Souls to Jesus Christ before it’s too late.”
No one in the street seemed to pay any mind to The Zealot, who was white.
In a post that was never published to mentalunrest (Note: while I’m not Prince, I keep a vault), I mused about how The Zealot would’ve been on the Fast Plane to a CIA Torture Site if the phrase “Give your soul to Allah” was uttered even once.
And this contradiction points to a dangerous narrative: connecting the instigators of terrorism and other crimes of the world to non-Christian terrorists who have black, brown and olive skin.
It’s as if a lifetime of immersion in fast food, instant coffee and quick solutions presented by Dr. Oz makes us okay with remaining a hopeless audience for consuming fast and shallow conclusions — that is, when we’re not so busy generating a few quick and inaccurate judgments of our own.
Days after the murder of Jo Cox, British investigators and the media were reluctant to call her killer, Tommy Mair, a terrorist or even acknowledge Mair’s political motivations — despite his connections with White extremist organizations in the US, as well as his politically-chagrged rhetoric during and after Cox’s murder. Of course the coming Brexit vote figures prominently here, but you don’t hear about Mair being called a terrorist either.
Long before red and blue bandanas became must-have accessories in Gangsta Rap music videos, I knew of older, law-abiding people of color who’ve worn them for do-rags. Today, it’s difficult for anyone with black, brown or olive skin to wear one while walking their dog without others wondering whether or not the dogwalker bangs for a living.
I could slap some random victim in the head while carrying a Koran and I would likely be investigated for terrorist ties.
And this predisposition makes affixing the “terrorist” label to Orlando club killer Omar Mateen — a sexually-ambivalent, NYPD-emulating noodle who also pledged his allegiance to Islamic State — a predictable and confusing, if not troublesome, exercise.
It doesn’t seem to matter to many people that Mateen’s internal conflict with his sexuality — Mateen’s online behavior on social sites doesn’t appear to be terrorist research work — along with his mental issues could have been drivers behind his decision to bring an assault rifle to The Pulse last Saturday night. But the presence of any Islamic attribute in any incident appears to Trump any other line of reasoning. And in the case of Mateen, this filter includes disregarding news that the US Central Intelligence Agency could not find a link between Mateen and any Islamic State operative.
Need another example? Just over a year has passed since the shooting murders of nine African descendent churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina by Dylan Roof, and the mainstream media still hasn’t labeled him as a terrorist.
Therefore, we don’t …
I shared some thoughts a while back about why terrorists with white skin are able to avoid being called terrorists, but the problem is larger than selfish politicians.
This is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 51 US State Department officials signed a dissent memo that urges US military action against Syria President Bashar Al-Assad as a way to conclude Syria’s civil war and defeat Islamic State terror group’s influence in the region — a crisis the US helped to create.
The logic used in this memo is not only irrational, but it’s also dangerous given how Assad’s army is only one of many strong principals involved in the conflict. I also don’t believe Russia, one of Assad’s strongest supporters, will permit such an attack.
But a narrow definition of Freedom’s enemies, along with the absence of love, are necessary to make the case for war more efficient …
song currently stuck in my head: “tears for lamont” – kadhjda bonet