Our VoiceCulture

Racist Violence, the Threat Next Door


Jill Garvey • May 14, 2012

There is a prevalence amongst individuals who see themselves as superior to prey on those that they perceive as weak. Those that act out extremist beliefs all too often inflict inconceivable violence. This is the meaning of terrorism, and it has nothing to do with any one religion or region of the world. It comes in all shapes and sizes.

When Anders Behring Breivik went to Utøya Island to massacre a summer camp full of teenagers, he did it because it was too difficult for him to attack people in power who were protected. So instead he went after those that were defenseless.

Fueled by the belief that he was superior, Breivik is a perfect example of how cowardly hatred is. And he isn’t alone. There are many in the U.S. who share his beliefs.

In Arizona, a man long known to prey on defenseless immigrants because of his white supremacist beliefs, murdered his girlfriend and a young family, including a 15-month-old girl. His home allegedly contained hazardous chemicals and “military grade munitions.”

In Florida last week, members of the American Front, an anti-Semitic group, were arrested for allegedly planning “to kill Jews, immigrants and other minorities.” In a heavily protected compound, American Front members conducted firearms, explosives and tactical training. If they had succeeded in starting their so-called “race war,” odds are it wouldn’t have been a fair fight.

Just a few months ago not more than 50 miles away, a man brandishing a gun targeted a teenager named Trayvon Martin, because he felt that Martin did not belong. Because, as he told a 911 operator, “these assholes, they always get away.” It’s no coincidence that just a few weeks later white supremacists showed up in the same town to “protect” white citizens.

It’s puzzling that so much attention is paid to external threats of terrorism. Especially when racist violence is so prevalent in the U.S. and further threats seem to be mounting. The “war on terror” may very well be protecting us from threats from afar, but what’s protecting us from the threat next door?

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