Yesterday a bomb exploded at an NAACP office in Colorado.
I posted the Reuters story above which didn’t even bother to include a photo. At least some news sites did. You’d have thought, by the news accounts, that this did not deserve national attention. As someone who was on Facebook on and off much of the day and evening and checking in with email, not once was this occurance posted about or discussed. Not on Yahoo news, nor on the front page of my partner’s news feeds. Or at least it didn’t garner his attention.
Possibly it didn’t because he’s white and such an action as a bombing of the local office of an organization that works on behalf of non-white folks doesn’t hit home as much. Possibly I never saw any news because again, being in a mostly white dominated community geographically and online, this news item didn’t spark enough outrage to shadow over other perceived outrage of the day.
Or perhaps, as it seems when I did a Google search this morning, after seeing a commentary on this that someone posted on an anti-racism page, the mainstream press wasn’t too moved by this news item either. While many print and local Colorado Springs news establishments list on the Google search on the issue, but NBC News (and that’s the local station in Colorado Springs) has a listed news story at all among television press. When looking at the news stories, the report is limited to the typical few paragraphs of cold facts and nothing more. (with the exception of the Colorado Springs Gazette, linked at the bottom of this commentary).
Where’s the outrage among pundits? Where’s the table-pounding about terrorist groups attempting to squash our democratic freedom of expression? Where’s the “stop the presses” analysis of how domestic terrorism runs rampant in this country? Possibly because such analysis would lead directly to the sordid history of racism and how such acts as this bombing indicate we’re nowhere near the “post-racist” culture many pundits waxed about after Obama’s election.
Most often when media discusses race issues, including the recent exposure of cop behavior (pulled out now from the people exposing the tragic deaths of innocents through live video even though people have focused on this issue for decades) pundits especially have a tendency to immediately jump back to Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement.
Apparently, within their perception, one has to look back that far to find egregious cases of racism. Yet, any person who lives with the identity of “white” will know full well by personal witness throughout their lives, that racism exists in operational form on every level in their community. From words spouted by an angry co-worker or relative to references to specific actions, like denying an apartment, refusing to interview to an applicant, even to the small act of referring to any non-white person first by their as if knowing such has some stand-alone relevance that everyone must note, to rationalizing racist acts and thinking or belittling those who speak up out about racism.
Or as in the case with the NAACP bombing, just blithely not noticing and calling out what one could safely say was a racially motivated act. News organizations have a long sordid history of framing stories in ways that reflect the views of the dominant class. From the Islamophobic and flammatory coverage of wars against the people in the Middle East that downplays the role of US foreign policy in their suffering, to stories of poverty or reproductive health access that downplay the real systemic victimization of people and their suffering, news media openly and unabashedly reflects social biases and in the process suppresses or becomes blind to the real stories underneath the story, or in the case of this story, blind to the importance of the story at all.
When progressive folks speak of concern about potential violence in their communities, they speak from a place of privilege. Non-white folks have suffered violence against their very existence since white folks trafficked in Africans for free labor and also annihilated native people in order to take their land. What does this attack mean, especially after months of open outrage against the murder of young black men by police officers? What does this attack mean when we look at the surge of open racism and the growth of domestic terrorist groups in the US since the election of Obama? What does this attack mean also to the dominant community when its relegated to short-story news? The answers point up to a culture that refuses to deal with the insidious, fascist anti-democratic, anti-human rights element of American history and of our current dominant culture.
For more opinion read Johnny Silvercloud’s opinion on Onyx News, “War on Terror Immunity: Colorado NAACP Bombed”
Colorado Springs Gazette reports information about the suspect FBI are searching for: “FBI Looking for Man Regarding Explosion Near Colorado Springs NAACP Office” This report also includes photos, video and more extensive reporting.
h/t to Johnny Silvercloud and the Facebook group “Deconstructing Whiteness”