Odd title -
How do we identify the next Wade Page before he murders people who aren’t white? It won’t be easy
Imagine my surprise a few years ago, when I first started researching my book, and I found the Celtic cross as the very first image in the ADL’s online database of “general racist symbols.” The text responsibly notes that the cross “is used widely today in many mainstream and cultural contexts. No one should assume that a Celtic Cross, divorced from other trappings of extremism, automatically denotes use as a hate symbol.”
“Other trappings.” That’s called “profiling.” The Celtic Cross is brought up as a McGuffin so that she can dismiss herself as a profiler – “see… I’m not profiling anyone that has a Celtic Cross” (“but I’m well aware of the “trappings.”)
I don’t think people are going to automatically associate the Celtic cross with white supremacy, since most news accounts of Page’s tattoo describe it as customized with the number 14 with its implicit pledge to protect “White Children.”
NOW they will. Thank you, Joan.
Most people will know not to assume a Celtic cross makes a person a white supremacist nutjob. But are there other ways to spot right-wing haters who are likely to turn to violence? I’m just not sure.
Ahhhh, but what about “the trappings” you spoke of, Joanie?
When Sen asserts that “the link between violence, masculinity and whiteness is well-established,” I think she goes too far. Violence doesn’t always, or only, go along with white masculinity. So where does reasonable social caution and concern end, and racial profiling begin?
Better question: When does unreasonable political correctness endanger society and prudent racial profiling begin? I’d say this begins at THE AIRPORT!
Clearly, we have to be able to talk about the rising tide of right-wing, racist organizing.
What Joan means is, “Clearly we have to focus on nutbag white people over the illegal immigrant felon problem, the rampant black on black crime problem, and the Muslim terrorism problem, none of whom is considered insane. I cannot thank these mentally ill white people enough.”
I don’t believe in racial profiling, of any group, but I think we should take the terror potential in right-wing extremist organizing as seriously as we take the potential in any violence-committed group. (Although at the end of an otherwise insightful piece, Bergen warns about “left wing extremist groups,” even though he fails to give any examples of them.)
How about… the Obama Administration?
I’m not sure exactly how we prevent future violence, though. Rinku Sen rightly observes that some combination of tougher gun control and more widely available psychological help would make a difference. She also urges white people to be more proactive about confronting the racists in our midst. “I implore of my white friends, when your nutty uncle or classmate goes off about some set of foreigners, you must make a fuss, cause a family crisis, become unpopular, speak up. We cannot do this for you.” I’m fine with that: I’ve ruined my share of parties and holidays by calling out someone’s racist jokes or comments, and I’ll continue to.
I’ve ruined my share of parties by running clips of the Twin Towers crumbling into an ash heap amidst cries of Allahu Akbar. I also like to splice clips of Islamic beheadings in with clips of left and right-wing douchebags who minimize the actual threat confronting the world – Islam. I’ll be adding this article by Joan Walsh, who ends her article with profiling -
We should also remember that one of the heroes of the Oak Creek attack is officer Brian Murphy, who was shot by Page eight or nine times but who discouraged medical attention so paramedics could save wounded worshipers. There is no word as to whether Murphy, who is presumably Irish Catholic, with family in the New York Police Department, has ever worn a Celtic cross.
Brian Murphy is also, presumably, anti-Obama. (I can play too, Joanie.)