Thursday, June 16, 2011

Caring About Dead Non-White Americans is so PC

Adam Serwer has a good column up about recent House hearings on radicalization occurring in American prisons. The House Republicans who called the hearings wanted to focus on Islamic radicalization in prison. The problem, though, is that the evidence seemed to suggest this wasn't a serious problem at all. Only one terrorism plot since 9/11 has involved individuals who became radicalized Muslims in prison; by and large Islamic radicals tend to be middle-class and relatively educated.

What is a problem is radicalization of White prisoners who fall in with far-right hate groups like the Christian Identity movement. And so, Democrats on the committee wanted to talk about that for awhile. But Republicans were less than cooperative: Committee chair Rep. Peter King (R-NY) dismissed concerns about far-right radicalization because such groups were not "allied with a foreign power", despite the fact that (a) al-Qaeda is, of course, a non-governmental terrorist organization and (b) modern terrorism hardly requires an alliance with a foreign power to wreak massive havoc in America. Like their radical Islamic counterparts, right-wing terrorists in the United States also have an agenda of bringing down our government and instilling a new regime hostile to the very ideas of American liberty and equality. It's unclear why this threat is less serious simply because it's "homegrown". Indeed, it was Rep. King himself who originally launched the highly criticized hearings investigating homegrown Islamic radicalization (despite little evidence here as well that this was a serious problem).

Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Lungdren (R-CA) was even more blunt, deriding the "political correctness" of those who thought that recruitment success by violent White supremacist groups in prison was a valid area of congressional concern. Apparently, it's "politically correct" to think that terrorism targeting Americans who are non-White, or non-Christian, or otherwise don't resemble Dan Lungdren, is something Congress might want to know about. Glad to know Rep. Lungdren has my back on this.

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