There really were no positives to come out of the Boston bombings, save perhaps the fact that as a nation we banded together, and watched as Bostonians held firm, as they proved their strength and loyalty to one another, our strength grew also. We wanted to make sure the victims left alive stayed that way, and so we stayed with the story, and thus with them, and eventually we learned most of them lived. They triumphed over the evil unleashed that day, and the following day.
Many other things grew out of that day also, and one of them was the shattering of a line we often, if never talk about, but that has always been there. It is a line that separated two different labels for people that commit the sorts of heinous crimes, such as that act those two brothers did when setting off the bombs at the Boston Marathon.
There have always been the methods for framing terrorist acts committed by whites and non-whites. It's a sad fact, and something even many non-white journalists, reporters, media pundits and others have been guilty of. People like Timothy McVeigh simply do not get painted in the same light as people like the 9-11 bombers, or first set of people responsible for attacking the World Trade Center in 1993. They are equally as evil, equally as terrible, equally as selfish and equally murderers.
However, both are not treated as enemy combatants. Timothy McVeigh and his ilk were treated like Americans that had gone wrong. The coverage was presented in a way that made then seem like evil people, but also Americans gone awry. Sure, we were angry, but it was not the same visceral kind of anger. They simply were not treated in the same way.
When Americans join groups like the one McVeigh belonged to we are presented with an almost compassionate picture, or one we should reserve compassion for. With terrorists that are brown, black, yellow or any color other than white, there is typically a different tone. Most non-whites in America know the feeling, and have felt it at some point in their lives.
Previous to the election of the current president, racism in the media was presented as something that was fading. Most minorities knew very well it had transformed from a thing that was overt, to something that had become hidden, in fact the term that had become popular among many people of color, was to say that it had gone “underground.”
After president Obama was elected, however, all that changed. We saw people being interviewed on TV that, when asked why they would not vote for president Obama, said it was because they would “never vote for a n****r.” They were not Grand Wizards of the KKK, Neo Nazi's, members of the Aryan Nation, etc. These were average folks that just so happened to be white, and deep down, harbored such prejudices.
After his election things actually got worse, in terms of the kinds of racism we saw. It was quite often shocking, even to those of us that had been saying it was still around. The Photoshopped emails of watermelon patches o the White House front lawn and the like sent, not by some average folk, but elected officials and their staff, that had minority constituents to think of.
It was not a good thing that racism bubbled up to the surface the way it did after the president's election. But it was good that the ignorance surrounding the myth that is was gone was able to be replaced with the knowledge that it still existed. For, it is impossible to truly work past societal ills, like racism, when so many are in denial about its very existence.
What the two bombers shattered was the idea that white people that committed terrorist acts were unlike non-whites that committed terrorist acts. We now know what many of us have known for a long time. That premise was a lie. It's like proving that a corrupt government that says it wants to negotiate, and give the people it oppresses for no reason, freedom, is lying. There simply needs to be an opportunity for them to come to the table.
You need to give them that space to prove it. When they become jellyfish spined at the moment they are to arrive, weep in their rooms and refuse to sit, it is proven. They simply needed to be given the chance to be what they really are.
Then it is beyond the realm of just talk. Then it is beyond the sphere of merely being a thing that might be true. And the person making the assertion never needed to do anything. It just happened organically.
The racism inherent in the separate faces, separate races and separate kinds of terrorists and evil folk was erased by the Boston Marathon bombers. There were Muslim true, and they were also white. They were from the state of Chechnya in Russia. They were European and they were white youths.
Perhaps now we can get beyond the oft repeated media insinuation that some people won't do it. It's already happened. There are white people that will bomb as terrorists for the Muslim faith. There are black people that will bomb as terrorists for the Muslim faith. There are Arab people that will bomb as terrorists for the Muslim faith. There are people of East Asian descent that will bomb as terrorists for the Muslim faith. There are people of Persian descent that will bomb as terrorists for the Muslim faith, and so on.
As a matter of fact, Timothy McVeigh was a conservative Christian that had served his country in the US Army. There have been Jewish terrorists, like Jonathan Pollard. So actually people simply do not have to be of any faith, any ethnicity or any race to be terrorist bombers for any belief whatsoever. We do ourselves no favors by looking for one type of person as a terrorist. True terrorists are evil. All real terrorists are terrorists. All racial groups can be both terrorists and terrorized.
It simply is how it is. There are many lessons that have and certainly will come out of the terrorist acts that occurred at the Boston Marathon last week. Let us have faith that will be one of them, and that we can move beyond racial boxes when choosing to vilify folks. Let's hope that will be one of the lessons to come out of the awful, awful and tragic events of last week, while we send all our hopes and love to the victims for a speedy, and as holistic as can be, recovery. Good luck to them.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.