The real race war in America

Loved this from Will Saletan:

This is the central thing to understand about what happened in Dallas: Black people who target whites are fundamentally allied with white people who target blacks. They’re on the same team: the race war team. It’s a lot like the global struggle over jihadism, in which Muslims who hate Christians collaborate, in effect, with Christians who hate Muslims. In the case of jihadism, the real struggle isn’t between two religions. It’s between people who want religious war and people who don’t. The same is true of race: Either you’re on the race war team, or you’re against it. [emphasis mine]

The attack in Dallas—allegedly committed by Micah Johnson, a black man—comes barely a year after a white man, Dylann Roof, allegedly shot nine black people to death in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof told friends, and later police, that he wanted “to start a race war.” “He wanted it to be white with white, and black with black,” said a friend.

Roof’s manifesto echoed the ideas of Anders Behring Breivik, a white Christian nationalist who massacred 77 people in Norway five years ago. Breivik claimed to be defending “our people, our culture, Christendom and our nation.” He declared, “It is every European’s duty to defend their people and country against the ideology of genocide, conquest and destruction known as Islam.”

Nothing helps Roof, Breivik, Duke, and other white nationalists more than hate crimes by the people they vilify—blacks and Muslims—against whites, Christians, and police officers. No crime justifies such collective vilification. But as a social dynamic, haters and killers on all sides work together, by stoking feelings of group victimization and group vengeance…

This is the war Micah Johnson joined in Dallas on Thursday night. He didn’t join the side of black people, any more than Bin Laden or ISIS joined the side of Muslims. He joined the side of tribal enmity and vengeance. He joined the side of Dylann Roof, Anders Breivik, and David Duke. It’s the wrong side. Reject it.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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