Just this weekend, 26 people, half of whom were children, were murdered in a church mass shooting, marking this year as the deadliest year for mass shootings in modern U.S. history.
The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, a 29-year-old white man, was dressed in all-black tactical gear and armed with a rifle when he attacked the Texas church. However, Kelley shouldn’t have been able to purchase the gear or the firearm due to his long history of domestic violence.
So far, Kelley has yet to be referred to by mainstream media as a terrorist.
Let’s be clear: White Terrorism is violent white men killing people on a daily basis via mass shootings and riots. I have previously written about how toxic masculinity, white supremacy, and capitalism drive this intense white terrorist phenomenon in America.
Yet, despite the fact that White Terrorism clearly falls within broader descriptions of terrorism, the white men behind these crimes are never called terrorists. They are extended the “lone wolf” label, and repeatedly excused by mental health issues. At worst, they are generically referred to as “mass shooters.”
White Terrorists are also not treated the same way as other terrorists in court. In cases of domestic terrorism, when the perpetrator was an Islamic extremist, sentences are often longer and harsher than those given to their far-right wing extremist counterparts.
If you look at the list of mass murderers since the infamous 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the majority are white, young men with histories of violence. White Terrorism is a real thing. And the problem is growing.
In the wake of 9/11 U.S. citizens are seven times more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than an Islamic extremist. But, even though far-right wing terrorism is responsible for the majority of mass shootings, federal law enforcement agencies continue to focus on fighting and preventing Islamic extremism.
Based on this, it seems that White Terrorism won’t be going away anytime soon.
Given the lack of action from our government, we need to take a good, hard look at what’s happening and be truthful about what we see and use the term “white terrorist” when appropriate. Only then will we be able to begin to refocus our country’s discussion on preventative legislation regarding terrorism.
Sometimes it is helpful to see things in digestible bites. So we put together this comic panel to get a visual look at instances of White Terrorism in the last decade, regardless of whether it was called by this name.
To learn more:
- 3 Things America Doesn’t Want To Tell You About White Terrorism
- 3 Reasons You Might Be Afraid To Speak Up For Muslims – And How To Do It Anyway
Nahal Amouzadeh is a reporting fellow for Everyday Feminism. She has two B.A. degrees from UCLA in English and Gender Studies. She is a writer, poet, second-generation Iranian-American, self-identified postcolonial feminist, and cat lady. Her twitter is @nahalll.
Meggie Ramm is a Contributing Comic Artist for Everyday Feminism. She is a cartoonist whose work primarily features stick figures. She currently resides in Oakland, where she teaches comics, reads comics, and makes comics. Check out her comics here.