In the Name of God: The Exceedingly and Eternally Loving and Caring
I had submitted the comment on the NY Times web page calling for comments on the coverage of the Austin terrorist. They wanted to know what I felt about the coverage, and this is what I submitted:
The coverage is ABSOLUTELY different for White Christian attackers. Had the Austin terrorist been Muslim, there would have been national hysteria. It’s a double standard and must be called out every time.
And, my comment appeared on the NY times article discussing reader responses to the coverage of the Austin terror spree. I am very humbled and grateful that my voice was added to the national conversation.
The point, however, remains salient: had the terrorist in Austin been a Muslim – with all the same rationales as Mark Conditt – he would have immediately been labeled a terrorist. Period.
In fact, I knew that the Austin terrorist was not a Muslim or person of color, because had he been one, there would have been national hysteria. And multiple tweets from the President about banning Muslims or building that wall. And backlash against innocent Muslims who have nothing to do with the criminal acts of Muslim savages.
The quiet coverage tipped me off to the fact that the Austin terrorist was probably a White male. And it is so interesting: when the attacker is a White male, then everyone becomes technical about the definition of terrorism, including the NY Times:
Under the law, terrorism is a violent, criminal act intended to intimidate civilians and governments for an ideological, political or religious purpose. In this case, we have yet to see evidence that the attacks in Texas were politically motivated, though certainly there has been suspicion that there was racial animus because the first two victims were African-American.
Yet, just as the Times article points out, such nuance and thoughtful analysis does not apply when the criminals are Muslim:
The Times typically follows the lead of law enforcement for when to label a particular crime as terrorism, given that it has a specific legal definition.
As we’ve seen, law enforcement does not always apply the formal term terrorism to acts of mass violence.
In the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting that killed 14 people, law enforcement officials called Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook terrorists. The same was true in Orlando, Fla., where Omar Mateen killed 49 people at a nightclub.
But in Charleston, S.C., where Dylann Roof murdered nine African-Americans at a historically black church, law enforcement did not label him a terrorist. The same was true in Las Vegas, where Stephen Paddock killed 58 people at a concert.
How can this not be seen as a double standard? It is exactly that, and this double standard must be called out every single time.