White supremacy: The real ‘homegrown’ terrorism

GETTY IMAGES WHEATON, IL – AUGUST 06: Guests attend an interdenominational candlelight vigil at the Illinois Sikh Community Center August, … Continued

GETTY IMAGES

WHEATON, IL – AUGUST 06: Guests attend an interdenominational candlelight vigil at the Illinois Sikh Community Center August, 6, 2012 in Wheaton, Illinois. The vigil was held to honor the victims who were killed yesterday at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Wade Michael Page, a suspected white supremacist, opened fire at the temple killing six people before being killed by police.

The most dangerous enemy is the one who most resembles you. That is why the danger of white supremacy is so underestimated as a severe domestic terror threat. White supremacy is the true “homegrown” terrorism, dating back to the 18th century in the United States.

White supremacy is the greatest danger we as Americans face as a source of domestic terrorism, and one of the least recognized. It is difficult for law enforcement, as well as ordinary white Americans, to recognize the extraordinary threat coming from those who look like them in terms of race. That makes them all the more dangerous.

The Southern Poverty Law Center had tracked the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting suspect Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran with links to a white supremacist movement .

GETTY IMAGES

OAK CREEK – AUGUST 6: Members of the community hold up the mug shot handed out by the FBI of the suspected shooter Wade Michael Page after a press conference on the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where yesterday a gunman fired upon people at service August, 6, 2012 in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Indeed, not only was the SPLC the first to identify the shooter, according to an email from Morris Dees, sent to me and I presume others who support this reputable hate-watch group, but it had been doing pro-bono work on the dangers of white supremacy for law enforcement. The email stated, “Just two months ago, we [the Southern Poverty Law Center] distributed a special training video about the danger posed by racist skinheads like Page to tens of thousands of law enforcement officers – free of charge. This morning, [the morning after the Sikh Temple massacre] a number of law enforcement agencies told us that they would be urging their officers to watch it as soon as possible.”

Too little, too late? Not really. This is a kind of threat that has existed since New Testament times, and probably even earlier in human history, the threat of the one who looks like me is the most dangerous threat of all.

This summer I have been working on a book about the New Testament, and I have become aware of how those who wrote the Gospels regarded the threats in their time. The Gospel writers are aware, of course, of the threat coming from the Roman occupiers, but they are also aware of the threat posed by those much closer in their community, those Jews who do not agree that Jesus is the Messiah.

The “reformer” Jews who were followers of Jesus, the writers of the Gospels (composed between 70 and 100 C.E.), are trying to figure out why their own religious fellows reject them, sometimes violently. Matthew shows Jesus in a titanic struggle with the Jewish religious leaders of his time, the scribes and Pharisees, whom Jesus denounces as “child[ren] of hell.”(Matthew 23:15). This struggle reaches its Gospel climax in John.

At the deepest level, the struggle with those who are a threat to the early communities of those who follow Jesus is not with a stranger, far off, but is always actually an incredibly intimate struggle. It is not the struggle with the enemy who is very different, but with the friend, the neighbor and ultimately with the one who most resembled the followers of Jesus, other Jews.

For white Americans, such as me, and perhaps with many in law enforcement, the greatest struggle may be to recognize the threat posed by other white Americans, the so-called “skin-heads,” or white supremacists who espouse a “Neo-Nazi” ideology. It could seem that threats to our country would more logically be from aliens who are from other countries, or those who hold religious viewpoints other than the Christian beliefs that have been so much in the American majority for so long.

This, as the New Testament example teaches, is likely not the case.


View Photo Gallery: A gunman killed at least six people in Oak Creek, outside Milwaukee, before being fatally shot by police, authorities said.

In fact, being able to assess the extreme threat of white supremacy is critical to assessing the real threats against all Americans. Janet Napolitano, and the Department of Homeland Security, recognized the threat of recruitment by right-wing extremists in a 2009 report. This report indicated an increased risk of such recruitments due to both the election of the first African American president as well as the economic downturn. The report identified “disgruntled military veterans” as particularly vulnerable to this type of recruitment.

Right-wing groups and individuals such as blogger and activist Pamela Geller
cried foul. The outcry was so loud, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security was forced to defend her agency and her report, and she ultimately apologized to “veterans.”

Napolitano should not have apologized, it is now clear. The report did not target all veterans, of course, but described exactly the kind of person such as Page who should be of concern to law enforcement.

But Page is the intimate enemy, and thus, for white-dominated law enforcement, hard to see.

White supremacy is a huge source of domestic terrorism, and has been since the beginning of a slave society in this country. Slavery depended on terrorism against Africans who were enslaved in order to keep them in control. One of the crucial ideas that accompanied the violence, and the threat of violence that kept the slave system in place for so long, was the “supremacy” of the white race.

As H. Shelton Smith so well documented in his analysis of pro-slavery preaching, “In His Image, but…Racism in Southern Religion (1780-1910),” the idea of white supremacy depends on a fundamental theological error, that of the ownership of the image of God by the white race, and the denial of the total dignity imputed by God’s image to those of African descent held in American slavery.

The face of the “intimate enemy” as a domestic terror threat has now been exposed as a white face. This is a difficult concept, both in theological and in law enforcement terms.

As white Americans, we must recognize the threat that “white supremacy” poses to the equal dignity and worth of all human beings as created in the image of God. In law enforcement terms, we must recognize that those who assert the supremacy of the white race over all other races are a dangerous threat to the safety of all.

Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (1998-2008), the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

About

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is Professor of Theology and immediate past President of Chicago Theological Seminary. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Her most recent books are "#OccupytheBible: What Jesus Really Said (and Did) About Money and Power" and, as contributor and editor, "Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War."
  • gladerunner

    “White supremacy is the greatest danger we as Americans face as a source of domestic terrorism”
    I respectfully disagree. In terms of raw numbers, instances and body count, white supremacist movements, as loathsome as they may be, cannot begin to touch the numbers punched in by the undereducated and poverty-bound gangs and thugs. Inner city and even rural rivalries typically involving the drug trade has caused much, much more violence, injury, property damage and death than all the mayhem the most zealous white supremacists could ever even dream of.
    Violent street gang members should indeed also qualify as domestic terrorists.
    Supremacists who engage in violence should definitely be dealt with to the fullest extent possible as should those in gangs, but looking historically, supremacists as a group have done far less actual damage.
    I’m not saying that supremacists are any better in any way than the gangs, but only putting a perspective on the claim ‘greatest danger. . . ’

  • WmarkW

    Zambian President prefers British colonial mining companies to current Chinese ones

    …at a Chinese-owned mine in Zambia. When workers at Collum coal mine protested about poor wages and working conditions in 2010, their Chinese managers responded by opening fire with live rounds. In fairness, they were not shooting to kill: no one actually died, but 11 of the miners suffered bullet wounds. The Chinese argued they were acting in self defence, and Beijing made clear that should charges be pressed against them, bilateral relations would suffer. Zambia, unable to stand up to its biggest foreign investor, duly caved in: no criminal case was ever brought against the managers. This year, protests at Collum have continued, spurred by the fact that its Chinese owners pay their employees less than the national minimum wage for shopworkers. On Saturday, the miners crushed a 50-year-old Chinese manager to death with a trolley.

    While opposition leader in 2007, [Zambian Presient Michael] Sata said: “We want the Chinese to leave and the old colonial rulers to return. They exploited our natural resources too, but at least they took good care of us. They built schools, taught us their language and brought us the British civilisation. At least Western capitalism has a human face; the Chinese are only out to exploit us.”

  • fromtherye

    So nevermind illegal immigration and solving that problem, no worries about muslim terrorist’s, were gonna help them here and in their countries, and take guys like the Ft.Hood shooter, and put them in a different category, with a neat little name.
    I see plain and clear. And you are so right WP, this has existed since the new testament, FEAR. It’s a marvelous tactic and I see you keeping it alive and well. Fear those that look like you, fear your neighbor, create laws, create classes for the kids. Hahaha! Can’t see it? Bah bah bahd sheeple!!

  • fromtherye

    I’m not giving muslim terrorists much legitimacy, I know that is the same thing as this. Just a new enemy to scare you into giving up more liberty for some security.
    Illegal immigration however is a more real and serious threat, but you will all see that soon enough.

  • syzito

    All are created equal if you believe in myths and fantasy,however not all “evolved” equally.All cultures are not the same nor are all of them “good” and beneficial to mankind.The Mid-Eastern cultures still live in the 9th century and believe all mankind should also….is that “good” and equal? Maybe? If you are a politically correct fool or a Democrat….same thing.

  • persiflage

    Mass murderers in the USA are overwhelmingly white males (about 80% are caucasian) with commonly shared characteristics. They tend to be loners with distinct anti-social tendencies, and remain isolated even when affiliated with all-white hate groups. Mass murderers are often suicidal, but not always – narcissism keeps some of them alive to witness the after-effects of their heinous acts.

    They are generally highly organized killers and don’t meet the textbook definition of insanity – sociopathic personality disorder is more accurate….a trait they share with spree killers or serial murderers. They’re impossible to stop………….as experience has proven over and over.

  • gladerunner

    “The demographic difference is that white supremacist groups that engage in violence do so from ideology, while the gangs and drug cartels for mere profit.”
    Which matters not one whit to the civilian body count, nor to the families of innocent victims.

  • gladerunner

    “The topic of discussion is terrorism and white supremacist groups, not “body count”.
    In another reply I ask for a definition of dometic terrorism, in order to be able to determine what is or is not the 1 instigator of that.
    I assume some malicious intent is involved, not just criminal negligence.

  • persiflage

    ‘Thank you for you insight; but what has that to do with white supremacist groups being the greatest threat of domestic terrorism?’

    Domestic terrorism means home-grown terrorism as opposed to imported terrorism from outside the USA……and so it should be obvious that white separatist groups (generally affiliated with some form of Christian Identity ideology) present a potential threat to the greater society. Where’s the confusion?

    Global terrorism is another matter……….

  • gladerunner

    Once again, we need to define domestic terrorism to know what is or is not part of the debate. The topic is “homegrown terrorism”.
    And once again, the effect on the vicitms and the families of victims, of either idealogical or ‘simple’ criminal activity is identical.
    If some cold idiot murders a baby, or a school kid, simply because that kid got between the gun and the intended target, it is of little concern whether the shooter was defending a principle or simply protecting his wallet.
    People willing to commit violent crimes with little or no regard for colateral damage are in my mind, terrorists.

  • gladerunner

    Thanks, I agree to a point.
    In the list they included the Bath, MI schoolhouse bombing, 1927. I’ve previously done some research on this incident. The ‘tax’ issue was a suspected motive, though the actual motive(s) were not really fully determined, since as with the recent Sikh Temple killer, the killer died in the attack. It appears that he had white supremecy as a motive, but we don’t actually, at this point, know that for sure.
    As for Bath: “These events apparently provoked Kehoe to plan his attack.” In all other aspects it seemed to be the work of a deranged individual with psychopathic/sociopathic issues, much like other school massacres. The perp worked in that school, so it would be a ‘natural’ target for him, familiar, a place where he had access to, unlike other ‘bombings’ such as in OK city, etc that were more obvious poltical targets by a somewhat more organized group, with a declared political agenda. Kehoe worked entirely alone, killed his own wife, and burnt down his own farm prior to setting off the explosives at the school. He even tied up his farm animals so they would not be able to escape the farm buildings he set fire to. More like the act of a sociopath/psychopath than a political ‘freedom fighter’.
    I only bring this up to point out that the definition of ‘domestic terrorism’ is a bit vague, and applied liberally, even today.
    It could be argued that street gangs, though their motives may not be strictly political, are certainly an effort to control/alter society/neighborhoods through violence and threats of violence in accordance with thier own codes of justice.
    For the sake of this debate though, I’ll concede to your point.

  • Sairis

    the concept of terrorism is essentially the act of using violence with a ideological (whether political or theological) motive to inspire fear and distrust. Even if the WTC and Pentagon crashes occured with 0 casualties or injuries, it would still be a terrorist attack, and just because the unibomber didn’t blow up a building, doesn’t mean he was not a terrorist.

    Race related hate crimes get into a grey area, are they really hate crimes? or did someone anger the wrong people that just happened to be of a different ethnic back ground? Is it a hate crime if a white male drug supplier continuously kill black male drug dealers who continuously short him and sell for the supplier in a predominantly black region? Or is it a matter of coincidence that the only people the white guy can get to deal in those neighborhood without getting singled out by the cops is a black male?

    The members of the Klan or Al Queida commit crimes that are terrorism, but they also commit crimes that are not, they also may not commit crimes at all. Basically not all activities by racially driven groups are criminal and of those that are criminal, not all are terrorism.

  • larryclyons

    and what is your point, aside from a very racist screed? After all what has this to do with white supremacism in the US? Last I checked Zambia is not a state of the US.

  • eddikon

    Members of white terrorist organizations should be treated the same as members of Jihadist terror organizations: They should get a one-way ticket to Gitmo with the loss of their constitutional rights. Why are they treated differently?

  • larryclyons

    Every one of those wackjobs were affiliated with a supremicist group. The BS regarding the acts being committed by individuals is just a figleaf. There have been hundreds of attacks by right wing supremicists over the last 20 years. I suspect that my father would be rolling over in his grave to see how much the fascists and the Nazis have taken over.

  • larryclyons

    Are you calling the Obama administration fascist?

    That is so RICH. such profound ignorance. Seriously take a course in political economy, you really have absolutely know idea what it is. At least that way you may be less likely to demonstrate the depth of your ignorance.

    Moreover what is it with your right wing whack jobs that you must twist each and every little thing to your obsessive hatred of the Democratic Party and the President. Do you do the same on the obit pages. Scrap that after seeing some of your posts scattered in some really unrelated articles, yes you probably do.

    Seriously get a life.

  • xexon

    Let’s talk about another kind of white supremacy. The kind nobody wants to talk about.

    Let us draw a comparison between white America of the 60′s and white Israel of today. The zionist movement may have started with good intentions, but it has since evolved into a white Jewish supremacist movement. Israel is the country these people founded in their image. A zionist state.

    It’s a police state if you’re the wrong color. Not unlike the old south. Even Jews of color are at the bottom of the social scale. The real trouble makers are the white Jews. Especially the settlers. They constantly attack Arabs and their property. Domestic terrorism. And one that the government itself sanctions. Again, just like the old south. I know because I was living in Alabama in those days.

    Zionism is also responsible for stirring up trouble here in the US. I watched them come into the more fundamentlist churches in the south in the early 1970′s. That’s why you have people like that Koran burning preacher in Florida. These “zionist Christians” are deeply programmed people. Pro Israel, with an almost insane hatred of Islam. They would sell out the US in a heartbeat if they thought Israel was in danger. That makes them a national security risk.

    Zionism is just another white supremacist movement. And it’s one of the driving forces of domestic terrorism here in the US. It hides behind a religious mask. (Like the KKK) But it’s really about race.

    x

  • Svenn Brengard

    This articis even pathetic for Zinist scum. Afrika den Afrikanern. Asien den Asiaten. Moslemische Länder den Moslems. Die Türkei den Türken. Weisse Länder für j e d e r m a n n ! Es ist Volkemord. Flooding all and only White countries with Non-Whites is Genocide.

  • rosenpepper

    Ms. Thistlewaite is blaming “White Supremacy”, White people etc. When are you going to blame the shooter?

  • packoftwenty

    Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is advocating GENOCIDE of white people.

    Has she not heard of ‘freedom of association’?

    What a crazy idea- allowing white people to simply live with their OWN kind. The problem is, of course, that MOST white people want to ‘simply live with our own kind’, and the likes of Thistlewaite can’t allow it to happen.

    ‘Racist’ white people are simply white people who don’t enjoy being FORCED to be part of a ‘diverse’ society. Doesn’t Thistlewaite understand that it’s wrong to force people to associate with people they don’t want to?

    The entire ‘civil rights’ movement was nothing other than denying white people the fundamental right to simply GET AWAY from non-whites, who are now destroying our country.

    Why are all these non-whites so desperate to live around white people, if “We’re all the same” and “There is no such thing as race”? You don’t see millions of white people FORCING ourselves into Africa, India, or China every year…. Why is that?

    MOST white people want to live in all white countries.

  • packoftwenty

    You would expect 80% of mass murderers to be white because 80% of the adult population is white.

    Nice try though…

    Still, you are WELCOME to SEPARATE and get the hell away from us ‘evil’, ‘racist’ whites, but you non-whites just can’t seem to do it, can you?

    Why don’t non-whites want to live around THEIR OWN PEOPLE?

  • Rob123420

    1) White people are the minority on Earth.”White Supremacy” is a propaganda smear term, not a valid movement. At this point all White Nationalists want is peaceful seperation, and an all-White homeland. We are not allowed this, but rather are forced to accept no freedom of association, or self determination, while every White homeland is being over-run with non-Whites. We are forced to accept slow death by crime and assimilation. There is nothing “Supremist” about wanting a homeland. Quit lying.

    2) Since the Vietnam War, more White people in the US have been murdered by Blacks, over 70,000, than the total number of war dead. Blacks have been murdering Whites at a rate of 35 to 1, since the war. Now, they “flash mob”, beat, rob, rape, and murder our people practically at will, and the US media refuses to report the scope of this. The US MSM is complicit in what can only be called White Genocide. The numbers go up daily, and Blacks are only encouraged when they are protected by police forces who only impose “Hate Crime” charges on Whites, only rarely on Blacks. Our people are victimized daily with near impunity.

    3)Do a YouTube search for Dr. Kamau Kambon, who openly states he wants to exterminate the White race. Or the Black Panthers, who openly call for White Genocide. There are many others out there who openly call for our death, and not a peep out of the self rightious left. If any White people had said any similar things, it would be the “Hate Speech” of the century.

    4)White people are not even allowed to have any schools, civic orginizations, or representation, at any level, in any previously White homeland, despite the fact that our people have built this nation. Contrast that with La Raza (The Race, that would be Mestizo), or the Congressional Black Caucus, etc. Whites are forced to just roll over and give everything our ancestors built for us away.

    5)Now, White males are being singled out as some kind of “threat”. This has been played over and over throughout

  • xexon

    What tater truck did you fall off of?

    You can’t defend hundreds of years of oppression and colonization by WHITE people upon people of color. You enslaved them. You raped their countries for it’s natural resources. And you’ve kept them pushed down economically and socially so as not to challenge your supremacy. This is the root cause of terrorism in the Middle East.

    Someday, when whites are a minority, you can complain about being treated unfairly by the majority. Until then, nobody is going to buy what you’re trying to sell here.

    And I say this as a white person of Nordic/Irish decent.

    x

  • Rob123420

    “You”? Excuse me, but I have never enslaved anyone, and find the practice of slavery abhorent. As to the question of African slaves, they were enslaving each other long before non-White slavers sold Africans into slavery. And, slavery is still practiced in Africa today. Then, if you want to continue to speak of slavery, let’s talk about White slavery, a very old phenomenon, and not just among White people. Muslims were taking White slaves long before any White people ever had any African slaves.

    Nor have I ever oppressed anyone. In fact I’ve been on the butt end of reverse discrimination more than once.
    Nor have I ever raped anybody’s resources. In fact, I do care about the Earth, and have worked in conservation. Have White people exploited other people’s resources in the past? Yes, but tell me who has not.

    Further more, blaming White people for the mess in the middle East is foolish, and shows you either do not know who is running the show there, or do not want to admit it.

    Do a search on Earth population, by race, you will find that White people are in fact the minority.

    I suspect you won’t research anything I have mentioned, because either you don’t want to know because you have been brainwashed to hate your own people, if you are in fact White, or because you are afraid of the truth.

    Your “tater truck” slam was a rather uneducated pathetic attempt of a slam, btw. Anti-racist is a code word for Anti-White.

  • flamtap

    Jewish supremacy is by far the biggest threat to this country and the world.

  • george

    Only when the MSM is controlled by the anti-white global elite plantation masters, then they can scapegoat white people anc call them naziswhowanttokillsixmillionjews.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

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