Letter: Homegrown terrorism
The term “homegrown terrorism” is used by news media outlets to describe domestic acts of terror. Think the Orlando nightclub shooting, the San Bernardino attack. Unfortunately, we have learned to associate this term strictly with radicalized Islamists. Yet there are numerous examples of terrorists acts that do not receive that label:
• Dylan Roof killed nine black worshippers at the Emmanuel AME Church in South Carolina in June 2015.
• Three Muslim students were shot in Chapel Hill in February 2015, by a man who had posted anti-religious messages online.
• In 2015 there were 78 attacks on mosques throughout the United States.
The term homegrown terrorism isn’t used when reporting on these heinous acts. So why is homegrown terrorism applied when one group of people (radical Islamists) attack another group (Americans or “Westerners”), but not when white racists/supremacists attack other groups (in this case minorities)?
According to the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, “homegrown terrorism means the use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised or based … within the United States to intimidate the … government, the civilian population … or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
Certainly, then, “homegrown terrorism” should apply to the aforementioned cases, in which individuals committed crimes of terror against their fellow citizens. Why is it that attacks on minorities by white supremacists are not viewed as acts of terror? Furthermore, why are white terrorists suddenly so emboldened to act on their hate? To quote the late and great Gil-Scott Heron: “Well, America (and the new White House administration) provided the atmosphere.”
It is time we stand up and protect the rights of all our neighbors, regardless of faith, nationality, gender. If we are going to use the term terrorism, we should not be afraid to use it wherever applicable, including when the perpetrators are white.