Progressives are applying a double standard by not trying to understand the deeper motivations of “white avengers”. Attributing heinous acts purely to evil ideology is shallow thinking. Critical thinkers should go further.
When Muslim terrorists from several countries flew planes into the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 most Americans wanted to know why they did it. A few shallow thinkers attributed their actions to pure evil. Bad people do bad things. Many also decided that their religion made them do it, thus Islam must be a bad religion. A few narrow-minded intellectuals believed the attack was committed by poor people that had lost hope. Economic conditions were to blame.
Systems thinkers tried to look deeper into the potential motivations for such a heinous act of barbarism. The conclusion that most critical thinkers drew was that the 911 attack was a violent response from a group of misguided avengers to a perceived attack on their culture. The attack was done by a group of fundamentalist Muslims who believed their lands were being invaded and their culture was being slowly eradicated. This was an act of war, and a major battle in a larger culture war. Some even characterized it as a clash of civilizations.
This week, a 21 year-old white man murdered several black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Why did he do it? Was he sick or evil? Is he “bad seed”? Was he poor and without hope? Did he have a bad religion?
Most of the news coverage of this event has focused on white supremacy. Progressive commentators apparently believe people like this young man in Charleston are acting from an evil ideology that must be eradicated. Fair enough. It is evil to kill innocent people and irrational to hold racist views. White Supremacy is an anachronistic belief system. But should we go beyond white supremacy and seek to discover deeper cultural motivations?
As in the case of Muslim extremism, might it also be that this troubled young man from a broken family represented the violent edge of a community that believes aspects of their culture are under attack and their race is being unjustifiably blamed for social conditions? Is this event the American version of similar incidents we have seen throughout Europe? Critical thinkers on the left should apply the same deep analysis to self-appointed “white avengers” that they use for Muslim terrorists. Actors from both groups see themselves as avengers that are responding to perceived threats.
The Ferguson incident that captured the national discussion involved an attack by a violent black man on a white police officer. Black witnesses on the scene constructed what we now know was a false narrative – that the attacker was standing innocently with his hands up, saying “Don’t shoot” when the police officer fatally shot him. Local agitators characterized the event as a racist attack by a white police officer on an unarmed black youth. They attributed the death to institutional racism, thus implicating all white people by extension in the death of this young man. CNN and other news networks ran with that version of the story even though it was not true. The Obama Justice Department apparently also bought into that lie and they launched an investigation. Marxist agitators from around the world descended on Ferguson to stimulate protests that lead to lawlessness and looting by local African-Americans. Even though the on-scene narrative was later proven to be a lie, nobody was arrested for perjury and nobody was arrested for inciting violence. CNN did not apologize for being wrong. President Obama did not apologize for inserting himself into a situation unnecessarily. The agitators merely moved on to the next scenario they could exploit. This was a national disaster that scarred the population.
In the Trayvon Martin case a similar scenario unfolded. Polls suggest that a lot of white Americans saw a young black male who may have been on drugs, and with a criminal history, attack a neighborhood “protector” George Zimmerman. According to reports, Zimmerman believed he was protecting his neighborhood from vandals who were roaming the streets. Zimmerman may not have been a nice man, to put it mildly, but the symbolism was not lost on a lot of white Americans who undoubtedly identified with his protector instincts. This was a powerful cultural moment.
In the Ferguson situation, white people that see the world through a racial lens may have seen black people, a black President, and a black Attorney General, in conjunction with a seemingly delusional national media, blaming them for the death of a young man that seemed like a thug that deserved the response he got from a law enforcement officer. To people that view the world through race, this could look like a conspiracy against white people.
In the Trayvon Martin situation, that was quickly racialized by race hustlers and media (even though Zimmerman was Latino), the same blame whitey scenario unfolded, but to many, the person that was killed seemed like he was in fact the aggressor. To people that view the world through race, this may have seemed like an injustice.
The enduring solution? Stop viewing the world through race – but that is a subject for a future blog.
These incidents can have a far-reaching effect on emotionally compromised people who may already feel powerless and vulnerable. Young men, especially may be programmed to respond to perceived threats to their “people” with a protector instinct. Apparently, indeed the Charleston killer wrote that the Trayvon Martin spectacle had a strong impact on him. We do not yet know if Ferguson or Baltimore impacted this demented young man, but we do know that he was apparently influenced by a number of racially-charged situations that were exploited by race antagonists on the internet.
In an era in which “blackness” is being romanticized and “whiteness” is being maligned in the national media, it is not surprising to me that a fringe young white avenger would act out in Charleston. This is a dysfunctional cultural response that makes sense sociologically if one understands human systems.
In conclusion, if we want to end the scary racial violence that is seemingly on the verge of exploding further around the country, we should try to understand the motivations of the people that are committing the violent acts on all sides. We should apply the same empathy to white avengers in the United States that we apply to Muslim terrorists in Saudi Arabia and black avengers in the United States. Progressives should end their selective moral outrage and use their critical thinking lens less politically. Deep thinkers should not be afraid to think.