Reprinted from Empire Burlesque
Look, here's how it is: a white man dressed in Klan robes and a Nazi armband could shoot up a kindergarten shouting, "I'm a racist fascist terrorist deliberately committing terrorist acts to terrorize society!!!" and the New York Times would still characterize him as "troubled soul, struggling with personal issues, an imperfect but a good man."
That's just how it is. There is literally nothing -- nothing -- that a white killer can do in America that will cause him to be labeled a "terrorist." Even if, like Dylann Roof, he explicitly states that he is committing an overt act of terror in order to instigate a race war and overthrow American society as it is now constituted. Even then, he's not a "terrorist;" he's a troubled young man, a "lone wolf" who wandered down the wrong path. It is simply impossible in the current American political discourse -- even in "sophisticated" up-market media outlets like the New York Times -- for a white man to be a terrorist.
Of course, anyone whose mind and psyche breaks down to such an extent that they open themselves to evil ideas and kill innocent people actually should be looked upon as a "troubled soul." Something has gone wrong somewhere with them; something, or many things, have bent them and twisted them toward such a malevolent destiny.
But in our media, in our public discourse, this kind of nuanced understanding is never, ever, in any circumstances, accorded to anyone but white male murderers. Therefore, we can only conclude that it is the white skin of the killers that evokes this careful, even compassionate understanding of what could and should be seen as part of our universal human tragedy: the brokenness that afflicts so many of us, that corrodes our humanity and drives us to horrific acts.
And thus, we can further conclude from the media treatment of these incidents that our society -- even high on its most "enlightened" commanding heights, like the NYT -- believes that anyone who is not a white man is less than human.
That's how it is. That's how we are, as a society and a civilization. To deny this fact is to live in delusion -- a delusion that, indeed, corrodes one's humanity and bends toward malevolent destinies.