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Double Standards and Distortions

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Double Standards and Distortions

The media condemns President Trump for “normalizing hatred”—while it looks the other way on Islamist violence and black-nationalist hatred. December 12, 2017
Public safety
Politics and law

Political elites on both sides of the Atlantic are still frothing over President Donald Trump’s retweeting of three videos recording Muslims acting badly. The videos originated with a reviled British organization, Britain First, deemed a hate group by the British establishment for linking Britain’s high levels of Muslim immigration to incidents of Islamic terrorism. One such video, from 2013, shows a Muslim cleric in a Syrian village deliberately shattering a terra cotta statue of the Virgin Mary. The second, also from 2013, shows a scene of civil anarchy in Alexandria, Egypt, in which Islamists push two teenagers off a turret onto a lower roof level and beat at least one to death. The third, from May 2017, allegedly shows a Muslim teenager in the Netherlands push over a white boy on crutches and repeatedly kick him while he is on the ground.

By retweeting, Trump was “normalizing hatred,” according to elite opinion. He ignored the “context” of events, claimed the New York Times—such as the fact that the icon-smasher was not just a “Muslim,” as identified in the original tweet, but an extremist cleric whose group had previously destroyed another Mary statue in his village. Why that “context” should defuse concern about the spread of radical Islamic ideology is mysterious. Likewise, while it’s true that the fatal stomping in Egypt occurred during a time of civil and political unrest, that “context” does not change the reality of remorseless violence.

As for the third video, the media and Dutch officials pounced on the fact that the tweets identified the teen assailant as a Muslim migrant, when he was in fact born in the Netherlands. Thus, his Muslim identity is allegedly irrelevant. This is the familiar strategy whenever a second-generation Muslim commits an act of terrorism in the West (which this assault clearly was not): the fact that the terrorist was not a first-generation immigrant supposedly means that Islamist terrorism is not an immigration problem. To the contrary, terrorism by second-generation Muslim immigrants is more of an immigration problem than first-generation terrorism, since it shows a failure to assimilate Western values.

The fury that Trump’s tweets have inspired is hard to square with cable news’ predilection for running endless repeats of videos showing police-officer use of force against civilians. If the media ever provided “context” for those videos, it passed by too fast for the eye to catch. That context might include the suspect’s behavior leading up to the officer’s use of force or the 911 calls that triggered an officer’s investigation—such as the Cleveland police dispatcher’s report of a black male who “keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people,” which led to the tragic shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, who was doing just that with an exact replica toy pistol. It could include the number of armed robberies and drive-by shootings in a neighborhood to explain how an officer might assess the risk of armed violence from a resisting suspect.

This context is almost never offered, however, en route to the false narrative that we’re living through an epidemic of police violence against black males. The media’s stoking of that narrative has had a far greater effect on the nation’s crime rate and on race relations than Trump’s retweets have had on public perceptions of Islamic violence.

The reaction to an FBI report on black anti-cop violence also highlights the double standards in what can and cannot be said about race and identity. In August 2017, the FBI published an internal report warning that targeted violence against police officers was on the rise, fed by a climate of anti-cop hostility in the wake of the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The report focused on violence by individuals inspired by what the report called “black identity extremism.” The FBI defined that ideology as a willingness to use violence in response to perceived white racism, sometimes in furtherance of a black separatist agenda. The report connected six planned or executed attacks on cops since October 2014 to black extremist ideology. Two of those incidents are well known. In July 2016, Micah Johnson ambushed and shot 11 law enforcement officers, killing five, in downtown Dallas. During the standoff, Johnson informed the police that he wanted to kill whites, and white police officers in particular. That same July, Gavin Long ambushed and shot six law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing three. Long had ranted against “crackers” on social media and used other black separatist rhetoric.

The media largely ignored the other four incidents mentioned in the report: a hatchet attack against four NYPD officers in October 2014; the stockpiling of explosives in Ferguson during the autumn of 2014 in order to blow up officers; an attempt to run over three police officers in Phoenix in September 2016; and gunfire sprayed at two police stations in Indianapolis in October 2016. The assailants and would-be assailants had circulated black nationalist photos and commentary, such as “[the] Caucasian needs to be slaughtered like the pigs that they are right along with the niggas who serve and protect them.”

The most obvious thing about the FBI’s list of racially inspired attacks on the police is that it is vastly under-inclusive. It leaves out the ambush assassination of two NYPD officers in December 2014 by a killer who had posted on Instagram: “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today. They Take 1 of Ours . . . Let’s Take 2 of Theirs,” and the ambush assassination of an NYPD officer in July 2017 by a killer who had posted on Facebook: “Police is f----ts, and this ain’t no gimmick. That’s where your taxpayer money be going, to pay off your own people being murdered. N----s ain’t taking it no more, Mr. Officer.” It leaves out the fatal shooting to the head of a San Antonio police officer in July 2017, while the officer was investigating a car break-in, and the fatal attack on a New Orleans police officer killed while exiting his car to investigate suspicious behavior in October 2017. Among non-lethal assaults omitted from the FBI list is the car-dragging of a sheriff’s deputy from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, in October 2017 after the officer had tried to question a female warrant-absconder in the passenger side of the car. The assailants in these and other cop attacks presumably did not have an explicit enough connection to black nationalist ideology to make the FBI’s list. But it is highly unlikely that the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers in 2016 was unrelated to the Black Lives Matter narrative, regardless of whether any given cop-killer had surfed black nationalist websites. The atmosphere of cop vilification and hatred since 2014 is much more pervasive than any specific affiliation with a black nationalist group.

The reaction to the FBI report, however, was one of shocked indignation that anyone would posit such a thing as “black identity ideology.” There is no anti-white ideology to be found among blacks, according to the liberal elites. “The F.B.I. is linking disparate conduct and unconnected groups to come up with a manufactured black race-based ideology for suspicion and investigation,” Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the New York Times. The Congressional Black Caucus has demanded that the FBI retract the report and that director Christopher Wray repudiate it. An unnamed former intelligence official with the Department of Homeland Security told Foreign Policy that the FBI was deliberately playing the race card. The only connection among the killers mentioned in the report is their race, he said, not any larger ideological connection. The fact that they all killed cops out of hatred for whites and for law enforcement apparently escaped this former DHS official’s attention. In a final intended coup de grâce, the official offered what he viewed as the definitive refutation of the report: “Imagine lumping together white nationals, white supremacists, militias, neo-Nazis, and calling it ‘white identity extremists.’”

Actually, it’s not hard to imagine grouping together alleged “white nationals,” white supremacists, militias, and neo-Nazis under the label “white identity extremists.” Such a grouping would be more targeted and accurate than our current racial typology, which lumps all whites together under the label “bearers of white privilege” and, increasingly, perpetrators of “white supremacy.” A Cardozo law professor unapologetically declared in a New York Times op-ed last month that he teaches his son to distrust white people. Blacks “cannot be friends” with whites, wrote Ekow Yankah, because race has become a “proxy . . . for decency.” Unless a white has affirmatively demonstrated his “allyship” with blacks, he or she will seem “unsafe.”  (Yankah’s New York Times op-ed piggybacks on the rapturous reception conferred upon Ta-Nehisi Coates, who earns accolades from whites by characterizing all of American history as one long white effort to destroy the “black body.”)  A Yale sophomore calls on whites to get out of the way so that blacks can take the power that a racist college administration has denied them. Writing in the Yale Daily News, Sohum Pal urges a “liberation politics that would decenter whiteness.” Black Lives Matter Philadelphia banned whites from attending its “Black only space.” Entire industries within the private sector and in the educational realm devote themselves to the association between whiteness and oppression—academic offerings in “whiteness,” implicit-bias trainings, “privilege” walks, and postcolonial and ethnic studies departments peddling the idea that whites represent a unified bloc of oppressors. University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax is branded a “white supremacist” for supporting bourgeois values like delayed gratification and hard work—but don’t you dare call Dallas cop-killer Micah Johnson a black supremacist.

Diatribes against whites and white oppression have become the wallpaper of academia, so normal as to escape notice. In November, the executive board of the Columbia University Democrats publicly condemned itself for allegedly supporting “violence” against an “identity-based group.” The CU Democrats perpetrated such “violence,” the board wrote, by publishing an op-ed that had, with qualifications aplenty, mildly supported free speech on campus. The backlash from “identity-based groups” was immediate, leading to a grammatically strained, show trial-like self-accusation: “The fact that we did not apologize for our statements immediately after the release of the op-ed placed an unfair burden on the groups targeted by white supremacy to bring attention to our failures.”  A student columnist at Texas State University published an op-ed in the campus newspaper in November telling whites:  “Remember this: I hate you because you shouldn’t exist.”

Critics of the FBI cop-killer report nitpick over the FBI’s term “black identity extremist,” which they consider an unwarranted new coinage. The fact that no group may identify itself with that exact phrasing does not refute the fact that anti-white hatred in inner-city black culture is real and consequential. Whites politely turn their eyes away from this sentiment, but it is there for the asking if you hang out around 125th Street in Harlem, the National Action Network, Chicago’s South Side, or East St. Louis. I have been told by residents of one public housing project in East Harlem not to go to the neighboring project, because they really hate whites there. This anti-white sentiment is far more pervasive than any anti-black sentiment among whites, and is in fact authorized by elites.

Cardozo law professor Yankah tried to justify his stance against friendship with whites on Fox News, telling Tucker Carlson that “blacks are under more threat than ever before.” Blacks are under more threat today than in recent years, but not from whites: the post-Ferguson rise in the homicide rate, due to depolicing, has led to the deaths of an additional 1,800 black males over the previous two years, their killers overwhelmingly black. As for interracial violence, blacks disproportionately commit it. Between 2012 and 2015, there were 631,830 violent interracial victimizations, excluding homicide, between blacks and whites, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Blacks committed 85.5 percent of those victimizations, or 540,360 felonious assaults on whites, while whites committed 14.4 percent, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks. If anyone is under threat from another race, it is not blacks. As for threats from the police, a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

There is no support for white supremacy in American culture at large. There is, however, enormous support for the idea that white supremacy is rampant, which is tantamount to an anti-white ideology, embraced by blacks and by whites. The consequences of that ideology are serious, but may not be mentioned. Meanwhile, violence committed by non-whites, including Muslims, is minimized, viewed as random and almost never ideological. That is a distorted reckoning.

Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

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