When ascertaining how to best address controversial subjects, it’s important that the facts are made clear. Unfortunately, it’s well known that our media elites, politicians, and activist organizations are fond of exaggerating realities, usually by focusing on some problems to the exclusion of others, or by emphasizing particular elements of a problem over other elements that might seem to mitigate the actual size of the problem. For instance, I think many people would be genuinely surprised to learn that, as a general rule, police kill more unarmed White people than unarmed Black people in any given year, and that the annual number of all unarmed people killed by police has declined significantly since 2015. That isn’t the narrative the media or many of our politicians support, so it’s not something well reported.
The same is true for White supremacy. Like the ever-expanding definition of racism, almost anything that opposes progressive policy is now accused of being rooted in White supremacy. Voter ID laws are accused of being inspired by White supremacy, though a majority of Black and Hispanic voters agree that people should be required to present their ID when voting. The newly adopted voting laws in Georgia were accused of being inspired by White supremacy, though other states, including bluer than blue states like New York and President Biden’s own Delaware have similar laws. Critics said that the new Georgia voting laws would suppress voting, especially voting by minorities, but Georgia’s primary election just broke records for voting by everyone, including minorities.
Opposition to abortion is said to be founded in White supremacy, the idea being that Whites want more White babies born and fewer Black babies born. This is absurd. According to the CDC, Black babies are more than three times more likely to be aborted than White babies, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a racist eugenicist, and approximately 20 million Black babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. There has been long standing support for abortion among true White supremacists because they know that Black babies are aborted at far greater rates than White babies.
Now, the Anti-Defamation League has gotten into the act by publishing a report entitled “Murder & Extremism in the United States in 2021,” where they declare that “In 2021, white supremacists were responsible for more murders than any other type of extremist; in many years, they comprised an outright majority of the extremist murders that year. Indeed, over the past 10 years, white supremacists have committed 244 (55%) of the 443 killings that the ADL (COE) has documented.”
The ADL, an activist organization that generally does good work, nevertheless is not unbiased in its motives. The fact is, the ADL relies on donations from those committed to its cause – that of raising awareness of and fighting anti-Semitism. Let’s face it, if their report on White supremacist motivated murders recommended that it was not much of a problem in the U. S., that would be a good thing for the country, but a bad thing for donations to the ADL. The ADL has a motive for creating the impression that murders committed by White supremacists is a bigger problem that it actually is. So, they report that in 2021 White supremacists were responsible for more murders, not than any other group or individual with a motive, but merely more than any other type of extremist. Apparently, the number of murders by all extremists over the previous decade is represented by the 443 killings the ADL documented. Curiously, that number does not include those killed by Darrell Brooks, a Black man who drove his car into a crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, WI, and who had anti-White statements on his social media, or those killed by rioters in the summer of 2020. And, while the ADL does inform us that 55% of the killings they’ve documented over the past decade were committed by White supremacists, they don’t tell us that that represents 0.001% of the more than 165,000 murders that were committed over the same decade.
There’s more. The ADL reports that 76 of the 244 murders committed by White supremacists were committed by prison gangs, the vast majority of which were committed in prison against other prisoners, often against competing White supremacist prison gangs. This is horrific, of course. But it also means that a good percentage of those 244 murders were not directed at innocent minorities in the outside world. The ADL also reports that fully 158 of those 244 murders (64.7%) were “non-ideological” killings, meaning they were examples of White supremacist group members killing other members of their group (i. e.: for being informants or for breaking rules), or were examples of domestic violence, where a White supremacist killed a member of his or her own family. That leaves 21 murders over the last decade – twenty-one – that were ideological murders committed by White supremacists outside of prison. I’m not even going to do the math on what percentage of the more than 165,000 murders committed over the past decade is represented by those 21 murders. To put that in perspective, there have been 228 murders so far this year up to the first week in May in the city of Chicago, at least 210 of them were Black or Hispanic victims. I can’t say for certain, but I gather none of them were killed by a White supremacist. That’s more than twice as many murders every month as the ADL has identified as non-prison related ideological murders by White supremacists over the last ten years.
Why is this important? The ADL’s mission is not to stop murders in Chicago, or even to raise awareness of the violence in Chicago. It’s important because the ADL is a respected organization that is listened to by those in the media and in politics. Indeed, their report has already been quoted widely in the national media. One murder is a tragedy, regardless of the motive. But the motive of racial hatred is especially frightening to those who may have reason to regard themselves as potential targets. If the ADL creates the impression that murders inspired by White supremacist ideology is rampant in the U. S., or even just a bigger problem that it actually is, that can affect how people live their lives and the sense of security they have in simply going about their daily business. The fact is, murders in the United States motivated by White supremacy, even if one considers those committed in prison (that don’t represent a real threat to innocent people in the outside world), are rare. White supremacists simply do not represent a significant violent threat to people, even minorities, living their daily lives in the U. S.
The tragedy in Buffalo, NY, of course, does not figure into the ADL’s report on White supremacy and extremist murders in 2021. The shooter does not appear to have had any official membership in a White supremacist organization, though he was highly influenced by hate propaganda on the internet, so there’s no question that his motives were founded in White supremacist ideology. There’s also no question that he suffered terribly from mental health disease and had an inadequate if not nearly absent social support system. His parents, based on his writings, were not very involved in his life and were clueless about his problems and his plans for violence, or even of his purchases of guns and ammunition. In one racist-motivated incident, the Buffalo shooter equaled nearly half the White supremacist motivated non-prison murders committed over the last decade.
White supremacy is a huge problem in the U. S. It’s difficult to know with certainty, but the numbers I’ve come across is that there are between 600 and 1000 White supremacist organizations in the U. S. with around 600,000 members. Of course, membership in White supremacist organizations doesn’t include anywhere close to the total number of those motivated by or committed to White supremacist ideologies. As well, the internet presence of White supremacists is massive, expanding their ability to influence far more than their numbers would otherwise suggest, including the Buffalo shooter. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, despite all of this, murders of innocents by those motivated by White supremacist ideologies remain rare. The solution, then, is not to live in unwarranted fear, but to investigate what are the underlying causes that create someone like the Buffalo shooter or the Charleston shooter of 2015. How did they become what they became? What can society do to prevent their development into the kinds of men who would kill innocent people because of their race? If we can answer those questions, we may be able to prevent the creation of more such men.
But that’s not the end of the story, not by far.
There have been 228 murders just so far this year in Chicago. 228. The vast majority of victims have been Black or Hispanic. This is getting little attention by the media or by politicians. What does this mean? It means that, to our mainstream media and our politicians, it isn’t who gets killed that matters, but who does the killing. It also means that the killing will continue. Is it because minority-on-minority murder is not so rare that we’ve lost interest? Or is it because bringing attention to minority-on-minority murder doesn’t help anyone’s political agenda, so who cares? Or is it because the minorities being murdered are not considered important people (classism) or are considered inferior people (racism) that the media and the politicians don’t care? Whatever the reason, it is a problem of far greater scale than murders committed by those motivated by White supremacist ideology. But because it’s not a problem motivated by White supremacist ideology, it will be ignored, and people will continue to be murdered in high numbers.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.