By Juan Peralez / Herald Forum
White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white people from the European continent for the purposes of maintaining a system of wealth, power and privilege. White supremacists dream of a world in which minorities are either subservient or non-existent.
White supremacy violence is not new! Most people are aware that it was integrated into every institution of our government created after the independence of the United States from the British with the help of more than 5,000 Black soldiers and sailors, a fact many people may not be aware of. Many may not be aware that one of the first martyrs to the cause of American Independence was Crispus Attucks, a former slave who was killed by British soldiers during the Boston Massacre of 1770.
White supremacy’s violence in this country started with the horrendous genocide committed against the continent’s Indigenous native nations across what is now known as the United States. To the Blacks of this country on whose backs this country was built, white supremacy’s violence has simply meant terror that has continued to this day.
However, these days white supremacy’s violent extremists target everyone who doesn’t believe in their myth of white supremacy, instilled by Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine. The Ku Klux Klan’s march in Charlottesville on Aug. 19, 2017, is a prime example. The marchers shouted out “blood and soil” translating the Nazi slogan “blut und boden,” meaning that the blood must be racially pure and that the land belongs to the racially pure.
For new American Nazis the enemies are Black and Brown people who are supposedly destroying their pure white race in the U.S. They marchers also shouted, ”Jews will not replace us!” echoing Hitler’s paranoid fear of Jews as the ultimate enemy. The KKK leader David Duke, a Trump supporter, said to the marchers, they were there to fulfill the promise of Donald Trump to take back their country.
Another example is the attempted insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 where you had members of the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, Proud Boys and 147 congressional members as principal organizers of the attempt. In response to the firing of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and hiring of Christopher Miller to replace him, CIA Director Gina Haspel privately told the chair of the Joint Chiefs that ”we are on the way to a right-wing coup.“ Oath Keepers member Jessica Watkins sent text messages inviting people to basic training in Ohio and told supporters, ”I need you to be fighting fit by inauguration day.”
After the 9/11 attacks, lawmakers across the country passed laws eager to be tough on terror, but they ended up targeting communities of color. This was the case under Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. Trump gave $10 million to organizations across the country as part of its controversial Countering Violent Extremism Program. The program has been found to target and criminalize Muslims and migrant communities.
Even though there is no federal statute against white violent extremism groups, the FBI has all the power needed to fight white supremacy violence but instead it focuses too often on Black Lives Matter, Muslims and other social justice protests. Excluding white supremacist violence has emboldened individuals to act with impunity, which is what we saw Jan. 6, 2021. This neglect by the FBI has conditioned these groups to believe they are authorized to act.
Since the FBI itself has declared these white violent extremists as the biggest threat to our democracy, the Department of Homeland Security has extended its alert bulletin warning against the heightened threat environment posed by these groups, and the Biden administration provided 77 million to states to address the issue. The question must be asked: Why is our state not addressing the issue?
If one is concerned about the threat to our democracy and our personal safety whether you are Indigenous, Black, Brown or white you must contact your respective state legislators and demand that the issue be addressed. To inform people on white supremacist violence, town hall meetings on white supremacist violence must also be conducted before the next legislative session begins in January 2023.
Juan Peralez is president of Unidos of Snohomish County.