To anyone observing reality with regular eyes, there is a distinct difference between the ways in which the threat of violence is combatted by law enforcement and communicated by news media, the control variables being: race, ethnicity, and religious background.
These differences illustrate the privilege associated with the race and religious background of the same men who fashioned this country, manipulating their resources to create and benefit from the marginalization of minorities: gays, women, those of different faiths and Indigenous people. In short, acts of terror committed by those of white skin, particularly those with a conservative political and/or religious background are covered with a level of humane sensitivity by the media and appear to be handled by police and the judicial system with less severity.
Oregon Bundy Militia vs. MOVE vs. Ferguson vs. Islamophobia
Imagine, a group of armed men, encouraging others who share their beliefs to join them, against a perceived miscarriage of justice, trespassing upon and occupying government property in protest. Hashtag #BLM? #TheNewBlackPantherParty? #TheOldBlackPantherParty #IslamicTerrorism?
No no, no. This wasn’t a case of BlackLivesMatter protesting against a verdict that seemed to sanction state sponsored violence after the mortality of another unarmed African American. The above events were a response to a verdict levied against two ranchers accused of arson after setting fire to government grazing land.
What would follow was a standoff including threats to kill police, calls to arms by the group via social media and shoot outs with police ending with the fatality of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum who reached for his weapon twice. 19 “armed, anti government protesters” were ultimately arrested at the conclusion of the 41 days.
The bias in reporting and police response was illustrated across social media, with hashtags such as #YallQaeda illustrating the stark difference in the way these criminals were defined, covered by the media, and dealt with by law enforcement. Many pointed to the two seconds it took a Cleveland police officer to gun down a black 13 year old carrying a bb gun and the aggressive response of the NYPD against Eric Garner, an African American cited for selling loose cigarettes. Others imagined the inevitable spin and response the media and law enforcement might have employed had these “anti government militia” been a gang of Islamic fundamentalists calling for jihad.
Historians noted the parallels between the Oregon occupation of 2016 and the firebombing of a residence housing members of a naturalist group, MOVE, made up mostly of African Americans. In 1985, after a 2 day standoff with Philadelphia police in which shots were exchanged, a helicopter dropped a bomb over the MOVE headquarters. The residual results of the attack which included 500 police officers and over 10,000 rounds of ammunition, was the destruction of 61 homes. The destruction left 250 residents, of a middle-class black community, homeless. The final body count included 11 people, five of which were only children.
Similarly referenced was the pre-emptive deployment and militarization of police at Ferguson, after the death of Michael Brown. Tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at crowds of protesters for violating city curfew, crowds that included women and children.
When Ethan Crouch, a Caucasian male of financial privilege, killed 4 men while driving drunk, violated his parole, and fled the country, he received a sentence of less than 3 years. Young black men on the other hand are subject to 5 year minimums for distribution of less than 28 grams of crack cocaine. Can we deny the existence of white, conservative privilege when William Celi, a conservative white american, was found to have an active bomb in his basement after threatening those of Islamic faith at their house of worship, was given a 90 days sentence after agreeing to a plea deal? Really, ok. If one prefers to observe reality with their crazy eyes it is their right, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the 1+1=2 and the sky is blue.
Although these events have circumstantial differences they make it impossible to ignore the extreme bias. Oregon militia men would have been depicted and dealt with differently had they been armed members of Black lives Matter, a group that FOX news contributors have often labeled a terrorist group, or. perhaps Syrian Refugees?
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