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The Boston Marathon Bombing White Privilege Theory

White racism behind terrorism threat?
Photo Credit: postbear eater of worlds

Since the 2008 recession, “never let a crisis go to waste” has become the mantra of the left. And in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, “white privilege theory”-peddling new-age racists – those who believe that “benign” discrimination against whites on the basis of race makes them “enlightened” – have apparently taken that mantra to heart.

A favourite of those who believe in white privilege theory is Tim Wise, "antiracist essayist, author and educator". He has insisted that, no matter what, the Boston Marathon Bombing confirms “white privilege":

As the nation weeps for the victims of the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, one searches for lessons amid the carnage, and finds few. That violence is unacceptable stands out as one, sure. That hatred — for humanity, for life, or whatever else might have animated the bomber or bombers — is never the source of constructive human action seems like a reasonably close second.

But I dare say there is more; a much less obvious and far more uncomfortable lesson, which many are loathe to learn, but which an event such as this makes readily apparent, and which we must acknowledge, no matter how painful.

It is a lesson about race, about whiteness, and specifically, about white privilege.

I know you don’t want to hear it. But I don’t much care. So here goes.

White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI.

White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for whites to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening, or threatened with deportation.”

To this end, Wise goes on to list a few “white terrorists,” and goes on to decry that no one profiles white people as terrorists accordingly.

But as it turns out that so-called anti-oppression activists – who overwhelmingly embrace Wise’s favourite social pathogen – are quite keen to profile white people. More specifically, they’re quite eager to profile their favourite “oppressors” – white heterosexual males – every time some nutjob kills a few innocent people with a firearm.

Soraya Chernaly’s response to the Sandy Hook Shooting – which I’ve mentioned in these pages before – seems particularly relevant to this end:

“As I listened along with the rest of the world to the unfolding horror of what transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I was struck by the persistent lack of commentary and analysis discussing the fact that mass shooters are almost all angry, male and white. What will it take for us to have widespread, open, public dialogue about gender and violence in this country? About masculinity and identity? These are among the ‘hard questions’ we’re inclined to ignore. Instead, as I listened to the radio and watched the TV, I heard media commentators repeatedly explain how rare this scenario is. How this community didn’t have a ‘crime problem.’ About the psychological make-up of mass shooters. Law enforcement officers are looking for a motive. And people are asking, again, ‘Why did this happen?’

This is the wrong question. Mass murderers are an extreme symptom of a common, everyday problem. Yes, the risk of being terrorized by a lone, mass murderer is slim. But everyday people live with fear and terror in their homes. There is, sadly, nothing unique about men with guns in this country killing people every day. In the case of mass murders, the extreme symptom of this disaster, the question is, ‘Why did another angry, young, white man act this way and kill these people?’”

Unfortunately, individuals such as Tim Wise are unlikely to so much as bat an eye at this kind of call to profile white hetero males as potential mass shooters. Apparently, this kind of profiling isn’t oppressive, or even offensive; it’s “enlightened.”

Patrick Ross is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist.

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