White women turning black! Men becoming women!
Social constructions everywhere! Pandemonium.
Last week I watched some of the best minds of my generation argue back and forth about the meaning of heretofore pretty fundamental concepts: man and woman and black and white. It was a sociologist’s dream…or maybe nightmare?
But exciting and amusing, nonetheless. All of a sudden, for a whole lot of folks, these traditionally taken-for-granted and simple categories got considerably more complicated. Confusing. Frustrating. Or maybe just inherently more interesting. Fascinating. Dynamic. Contextual.
Holy newspeak, Batman!
Sure there are definitions of terrorism, but whether or not we are willing to IDENTIFY an act or actor as “terrorist” turns out to be quite complicated. Confusing. Frustrating. Or maybe just inherently more interesting. Fascinating. Dynamic. Contextual? According to Glenn Greenwald it is quite simple. Terrorism is a meaningless propaganda term that we like applied to those we disagree with, but not those we do.
For instance, conservative candidates campaigning for President and Vice President of the United States will refuse to apply the term to those who burn and bomb medical facilities and murder doctors.
Similarly many liberals and others on the left don’t like to see the label applied to revolutionary violence such as that employed by the Weatherman Underground during the Vietnam War, or the ELF or ALF in furtherance of the causes of environmental and animal liberation respectively. Hence the old saying, “One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.”
Shit, another social construction.
Still, if the conversation last week taught me anything its that not EVERYTHING solid has melted into air.
Words still have meaning.
Its just that we’ve given some concrete concepts a little more wiggle room around the edges. Some fluidity, perhaps, but the concepts aren’t completely vaporized yet.
For instance, I saw no one arguing that Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson was not a man. Or that Shaft wasn’t Black.
Exceptions to the rules, perhaps. But this is still a league game, Smokey.
By anybody's definition, Dylann Roof is a terrorist.
As such, he should be afraid, very afraid for what he has done. Everyone on the planet by now should know that if the US Government even suspects you MIGHT be a terrorist we will quite literally sick the dogs on you. The dogs of war, even. We will lock you away in secret prisons and torture you for years without trial. We will bomb entire countries if we suspect such people may even be present within their borders.
Shit, Dylann...what have you done! Is this your way of getting that silly Civil War 2.0 you so wanted?
Perhaps more importantly, how many white people refuse to see this as terrorism precisely because they know that all the Hell currently raining down on the Middle East could come down on their heads if such an ideology was pursued as aggressively by the full force of the US state as it is currently prosecuting/persecuting the War on Terror against Muslim populations?
Probably very few of them.
In other words, if the War on Terror were, in fact and in practice, more than just a War on Middle Eastern/Muslim terrorism and not simply a global and glowing example of American hypocrisy, then Seal Team Six would have already captured that Confederate flag at the courthouse in Charleston and commenced to water boarding a substantial percentage of the white supremacist underground in South Carolina and surrounding areas.