Call Charleston Shooting What It Is: Terrorism

A Vox writer says it's offensive to do otherwise
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2015 6:48 PM CDT
Call Charleston Shooting What It Is: Terrorism
Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Roof.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

If Dylann Roof is guilty of the massacre at a black church in Charleston, is the white 21-year-old a terrorist? Absolutely, argues Max Fisher at Vox. In fact, he makes the case that to avoid the terrorism label is offensive. This is about way more than semantics, writes Fisher, who thinks the debate has major implications on race relations in America. Labeling the attack terrorism "asks that we see this as part of a long and painful history of politically motivated white violence against black communities," he writes. It also asks that we challenge why it is that Americans think only certain types of people qualify as terrorists.

"If black Americans say they experience this attack as part of a trend of white terrorism against black communities, and the media says the attack was not really terrorism, that does not just ignore the experiences of black Americans, it denies them permission even to tell their own stories," writes Fisher. It's an uncomfortable issue because it requires acknowledging that this kind of systemic white violence isn't relegated to history but is very much alive—and "that black communities are both reasonably afraid of this violence and rightly entitled to protection from it." Read the full post here. (More terrorism stories.)

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