On certain right wing fundie blogs I have been depicted as a biased blogger, already jumping to the conclusion of a domestic (and presumably ) White American terrorist along the lines of Timothy McVeigh, or Eric Rudolph (who did the Atlanta 1998 Olympic bombing). To which I plead ‘guilty’! The reasons aren’t hard to fathom: if god forbid some radical Muslim or other brown-skinned ethnic derived individual turns out to be the perp – all hell will break loose and the U.S will once more react like a deranged madman – bombing and strafing whatever the nation of the perp’s origin, as it plows another two trillion into more “wars” in the name of security!
So if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world we all ought to worry, especially given the fact our military state is already malignant and eating up our annual budgets. From our own history (see e.g. Oliver Stone’s ‘Untold History of the United States’), when such individuals break laws in such a high-profile way, the U.S. media and especially warmongers cite them as both proof that entire demographic groups must be targeted, and that therefore a more systemic response is warranted. This is what transpired after 9/11, so instead of mounting a specific and targeted police action we went ape shit and launched two all out occupations that will now end up costing us well over $5 trillion.
We cannot afford to do that shit again! And there will be other damaging consequences. You can make book that conservo imps, aka Repukes, will again demand NO defense spending cuts or any Afghanistan withdrawal, despite having already squandered whatever good will and chance for dignified pullout we once had. They will also further expand surveillance by our already overgrown and intrusive National security state as well as other encroachments on civil liberties. (Read: more black bag searches to break into your house, DL your computer content, then put it into black box files at the NSA)
You can also bet your sweet bippy that conservatives will cite Boston as a reason to block immigration reform. Think I’m exaggerating? Look at yesterday’s comments by right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham, whose talking points often become Republican Party doctrine. Though authorities haven’t even identified a suspect in the Boston attack, she (like other conservatives) seems to already assume the assailant is foreign, and is consequently citing the attack as rationale to slam the immigration reform bill. But you can be sure this will only be the beginning. Look for Patriot Act II next with the demand that all Americans carry “papers” wherever they go!
So YES, I absolutely want the fucker culprit to be a Whitey, preferably a white Southerner, maybe former military- who learned how to make claymore- type pressure cooker bombs in EYE-raq.
Insane? Race Traitor? Fuck no! Eminently rational! Here’s the skinny: white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for any mass killings or mass shootings. Just because Adam Lanza and James Holmes each murdered more innocents than the Boston bomber doesn’t mean all white men are now suspect, stopped on the streets and frisked or asked for ID. Even red-haired whiteys (like Holmes) don’t have this happen to them!
Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as “lone wolf” threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters. Meanwhile, non-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats — the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.
Author Tim Wise accurately observes:
“White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for your group to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening or threatened with deportation. White privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Dublin. And if he’s an Italian-American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.”
Given such undeniable and reprehensible double standards, the specific identity of the Boston bomber (or bombers) emerges as not some minor detail. It arguably has momentous significance to our future national policy direction, how much more our civil liberties will be curtailed, how much more our deficits will explode from “defense” spending and how much more anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Xenophobia is spread…..like a cancer. Anyone who can't see this is a blinkered moron.
Moreover, it will almost certainly dictate what kind of governmental, political and societal response we see in the coming weeks. That means regardless of your particular party affiliation, or even if you have none, if you care about everything from stopping war to reducing the defense budget to protecting civil liberties to passing immigration reform, you better fucking hope the bomber was a white domestic terrorist. Since only in that case will privilege work to prevent the Boston attack from potentially undermining progress on multiple other issues, hurling us further into national decline. To know this is true is to simply consider how America reacts to different kinds of terrorism.
Now, although FBI data show fewer terrorist plots involving Muslims than terrorist plots involving non-Muslims, America has mobilized a full-on war effort exclusively against the prospect of Islamic terrorism. Indeed, “War on Terror” has come to specifically mean “War on Islamic Terrorism,” involving everything from new laws like the Patriot Act, to a new torture regime, to mass surveillance of Muslim communities.
By contrast, even though the U.S. has endured a consistent barrage of attacks from domestic non-Islamic terrorists, the privilege and double standards insinuated into our national security ideology means those attacks have resulted in no systemic action of the scope marshaled against foreign terrorists. In fact, according to Darryl Johnson, the senior domestic terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, the conservative movement backlash to merely report the rising threat of such domestic terrorism resulted in DHS seriously curtailing its initiatives against that particular threat. In the meantime, DHS, the FBI and others have relentlessly tracked every move of Occupy Wall Street, e.g. http://www.brane-space.blogspot.com/2012/12/national-security-state-spied-on-occupy.html
Cruelly and hideously, the 9/11 attacks came just as we had a budget surplus of $400b and the opportunity arose for attention to domestic needs such as infrastructure. The over-reaction to those attacks set us on a full scale war footing that has bled us in the intervening years since. The Boston bombing, meanwhile, came at the very moment the U.S. government was planning to withdraw from Afghanistan, considering cuts to the Pentagon budget, and discussing civil liberties principles and debating landmark immigration legislation.
Hence, and more hideously, the Boston attack could easily become the fulcrum of all of those contentious policy debates and that ultimately depends on the demographic profile of the assailant.
If recent history is any guide, and the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident and it will have no bearing on any larger policy debates. Entrenched white privilege will work to not only insulate whites from collective blame, but also to insulate the political debate from any fallout from the attack.
If instead of my expectations (and hopes) it turns out to be a radical Islamist al Qaeda operative or derivative cell that did it, watch out! ‘Murica then hurtles further into the shit hole and massive national decline, along with deprivation of civil liberties, more massive military buildup, retrenchment of any progress on multiple fronts. Oh yeah, and exploding 'war" deficits!
In other words, we likely fully enter the dumpster of history up to our collective eyeballs and ears as opposed to just our asses.