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People pray outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022. Image: AP Photo / Matt Rourke.

Reading List May 16, 2022

White Supremacy Has Always Been Mainstream

Contemporary gun violence is not so much terrorism as tradition. It is deeply intertwined with the white supremacist foundations of the United States.

On Saturday, a gunman targeted Buffalo’s Black community, killing ten people in a grocery store. In the shooting’s wake, some pundits have called for the incident to be labeled as “domestic terrorism.” But several pieces from our archive caution against using such a description in response to events like this. One such argument comes from Atiya Husain, whose essay on abolishing counterterrorism is being recirculated online. “We do not need the far right’s actions to be classified as terrorism, too,” she writes, “we need to void the category of terrorism completely. It cannot be salvaged because the very thing that gives it its meaning is its racial connotations.” A 2019 essay from Mark Tseng-Putterman offers another compelling case: writing in the wake of the El Paso shooting, Tseng-Putterman argued that “the label of terrorism fails to capture that recent white supremacist violence is not ideologically opposed to the U.S. nation-state. It is less a foreign ideological strain than it is a founding DNA.”

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz corroborates, arguing in one of our most popular essays that the origins of the United States are complicit with white nationalist ideology, while Stephen Kantrowitz explores the central role of women in building the KKK. But while it may have a long history, careful attention must be paid to white supremacy’s current manifestation too—including its international scope. As Bernard E. Harcourt commented in our pages after January 6, “white supremacy may be nothing new, but Trump’s incitement of it is unprecedented.”

 

 

Chad Kautzer

The militarization of gun culture among both civilians and police reflects an increasingly energetic defense of white rule in the United States. This has been facilitated in part by an NRA-led reinterpretation of what the Second Amendment meant by “militia”.

Jonathan M. Metzl

New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen may give the right—and its politics of racial resentment—a major win, but at the cost of gun control laws known to prevent shootings.

Sierra Pettengill Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Watch our release of documentary short The Rifleman, which examines how NRA head Harlon Carter fused gun rights, immigration enforcement, and white supremacy. Then read an interview with filmmaker Sierra Pettengill and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

racial fraud2
Luvell Anderson

The Krugs and Dolezals dominate the headlines, but they are distractions from the fraud that imperils us all: believing oneself to be white.

GettyImages-1294927821
Bernard E. Harcourt

The Republican Party has become a white nationalist party. If old fashioned politics can’t change that, we must consider alternatives.

Robin D. G. Kelley

Surveying Trumpland with Cedric Robinson

davisjackson2
Alberto Toscano

A debate is roiling about the aptness of comparing Trump to European fascists. But radical Black thinkers have long argued that racial slavery created its own unique form of American fascism.

Jonathan Metzl White Anxiety
Jonathan M. Metzl

Trump is the latest in a long line of politicians who have leveraged the fear of white voters. A new path forward must address the structures and finances that propagate, sustain, and shamelessly benefit from it.

Trump Farage
Camilla Schofield Jennifer Sutton Daniel Geary

The simultaneous success of Trump and Brexit was no coincidence: white supremacist politics are international in scope and often share entwined histories.

Jefferson Cowie George Wallace University of Alabama freedom white
Jefferson Cowie

In a political season of dog whistles, we must be attentive to how talk of American freedom has long been connected to the presumed right of whites to dominate everyone else.

Atiya Husain abolition terrorism counterterrorism
Atiya Husain

At a moment when the call to abolish police and prisons is louder than ever, we should also demand an end to counterterrorism, which functions largely to ensnare people of color.

Mark Tseng-Putterman

Contemporary gun violence is not so much terrorism as tradition. It is deeply intertwined with the white supremacist foundations of the United States.

Oscar Howe Wounded Knee feature
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

The violent theft of land and capital is at the core of the U.S. experiment: the U.S. military got its start in the wars against Native Americans.

Kantrowitz on white supremacy_feature
Stephen Kantrowitz

“Very fine people”—fathers, husbands, and sons, as well as mothers, wives, and daughters—have always been central to the work of white supremacy.

Johnson--Guns_feature
Walter Johnson

A childhood steeped in guns shows that toxic masculinity and racism are at the heart of U.S. gun culture.

muhamadfinal
Khalil Gibran Muhammad

While the United States has expanded its borders of inclusion over time, the borders of whiteness have never fallen. Only a robust black public sphere can change that.

Marshall Steinbaum

The University of Virginia has long been a bastion of white supremacy and white supremacy–validating scholarship.

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