Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The Charlie Hebdo attack in France left 12 people dead. It was a broad daylight terror attack on a satirical magazine by what appeared to be well trained Jihadists. They stormed the building in a coordinated attack using high powered Kalashnikov rifles, executing everyone in their path. 

As I sit here listening and watching the coverage of this despicable act of violence, I find striking parallels in American society. I think the conscientious among us should ask themselves if American racism, bigotry, and neo-nazi hatred has anything in common with this Jihadi movement sweeping the world. Terror attacks arise in locations that range from the most well known like Paris or New York to the most obscure like Mpeketoni, Kenya. What is the common thread in all the attacks? We all know this. It's someone's weird flavor of Islamic fundamentalism that is always at the root. I concede all the commensurate caveats, like they're not true to their religion's own tenants, usually. They don't represent all Muslims...yada,yada,yada. Those points are valid, we've heard them before, and we'll here it a lot as coverage of Charlie Hebdo continues. 
Here's my problem, and this is where my Republican brethren and I can agree. If it is indeed true that only a small sliver of the Muslim population have these violent and extreme interpretations of Islam, then what the heck does the majority believe? Are they ok with Jihadi extremism in their midsts? Why haven't the stamped it out? Let's play with some numbers. Let's say that France has 6 million people who consider themselves Muslims. If only 1% of those people were extremists, that comes out to 60,000 possible violent actors! So, what have all the right wing pundits been saying that I agree with whole-heartedly? 
  1. Those of us outside of that community, need more intelligence and insight into which people have become or are becoming radicalized.
  2. The 99% of the Muslim community that are NOT dedicated to Jihad have to step up, speak out, and help squelch those that are.
All of the non-Jihadi Muslims that refuse to speak against those radicals the Muslim community are giving a tacit APPROVAL of the violent acts or hate-speech that is being promulgated.

Now, let's switch focus to the United States and allow me to draw some parallel lines. I submit that the neo-nazi, KKK, anarchist-militia, and the plain old everyday redneck bigot has a lot in common with the Jihadi. How you ask? Bigots, racists, and violent white-supremacists within the US are being enabled like never before. From my perspective, there is a well financed and well represented movement in America to pretend that racism somehow is just a myth and that every racist act of violence is just some magical coincidence in which the dead victim just happens to be Black. I'm rolling my eyes as I type this; but it's the truth. There is an army of pundits and talking heads who jump onto the TV and radio to cobble together excuses and alibis for crooks and bigots like Cliven Bundy and Steve Scalise. Sadly, it's working. In the last 6years, I've seen 50years of civil rights legislation being slowly peeled back. Bigoted hate-speech from people like Ted Nugent has ratcheted way up and an army of 'news' pundits to go to work to downplay it. Why does that matter? Simple. It desensitized Whites to what would otherwise be appalling. In the same way that the majority of Muslims turning a blind eye to the violent minority has been a curse on the world community; the silent white majority is playing country-dumb to the overt bigotry and racism perpetrated by a minority of whites. Let's play with some more numbers. There's roughly 316million people in the US; and about 240million of those identify themselves as white. Let's guestimate the percentage of rednecks, bigots, racist, KKK, or neo-nazis at 1%. That comes out to 2.4million people! That means we have enough racial Jihadis to have infected several segments of our society: blue collar, white collar, politics, law enforcement, and military. The reason the civil rights movement was successful in the 60s was because there were whites who refused to ignore injustice and we battled the bigots of America together and WON! We face the same challenge once again. The tea party rallies drip with racial epithets against President Obama. Confederate flag waving yahoos march on Washington. This past summer we saw 4 unarmed young black boys gunned down by the POLICE and the white community collectively said, "what's the big deal?". The big deal is that an America blind to its racial Jihadis will eventually lose its grip on order all together and decend into chaos. Think about it. What kind of country has its Krogers & Walmart stores brimming with AK47 or AR15 toting gun nuts! What's the answer? It's the same thing the Rightwing has been imploring the Muslim community to do. The slumbering white majority has to stop turning a blind eye. Silence = Approval.