When The Media Has Failed Us
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Politics and Activism

When The Media Has Failed Us

Race Privilege In The Media

When The Media Has Failed Us

In the last decade there have been over 200 mass shootings in America[1], bringing up the question as to whether or not citizens are safe in schools, malls, and anywhere in the general public. But who exactly are the people behind these mass killings? It is certainly not any form of the Islamic terrorism that 52% of the U.S. population says they are “afraid” of [2]. Instead, most shootings in public spaces are a result of white upper-middle class men, but those acts aren’t deemed terrorism by the media. But why are these killers exempt from the highly destructive label immediately stamped on people of color who partake in the same exact horror?

Just mere days ago, 24 year-old Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire in a Tennessee military recruiting facility brutally murdering 5 American servicemen. However, with the motive still unclear, investigators have seen absolutely no connection to any terrorist organizations. With that, attorneys looking into the tragedy as an "act of domestic terrorism"[3] and rightly so because of the sheer senseless inhumanity of it all.

But take a similar shooting spree just week ago by white supremacist Dylann Roof who went into an African-American church and killed 9 people because he wanted to make his statement of supporting the pro-apartheid actions of a country once known as Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. He proudly bore the Rhodesian flag on clothing that he was photographed wearing. But his actions are only being classified as a hate crime. However, the definition of terrorism is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”[4]. And wasn’t Roof explicitly displaying a certain governmental agenda when he decided to wear those flag patches called segregation?

So why isn’t this being called terrorism? Simple: because Roof is a white man, and the terms 'terrorist' and 'terrorism' seem to be strictly reserved for people of the Muslim faith. And while many terrorist attacks now-a-days in the Middle East are self-proclaimed ISIS and Al-Qaida deeds, the ones that occur at home should be seen as the same no matter what the race or income class of the perpetrator. It is not fair to force stereotypes of violence on groups of over 1 billion people, but when people such as James Holmes from the Aurora shootings, Adam Lanza from the Sandy Hook shootings, Dylann Roof, etc., commit real violence, to not see them as terrorists. Why do we give a person of the Muslim faith this death mark when others have done the same exact crime have not been so villianized?

The media must stop separating relevant cases into different categories when they are perpetrated by people with particular ethnicities and beliefs. Only then can we get to the root of the mass shooting problem that our country faces currently.

[1] http://www.gannett-cdn.com/GDContent/mass-killings...

[2] http://www.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-und...

[3] http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/18/us/tennessee-naval-r...

[4] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/am...

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