Boston Explosion: Minorities When Tragedy Happens & Terrorism and Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness

There is an article that has been all over my Facebook. It is the inspiration of this post below. I know that if many of you saw the images and content of the post below first you would probably get upset or say that I had bad taste so here is the article that spawned it all for me. It was Published on April 16th, 2013:

Terrorism and Privilege:


the Power of Whiteness

By Tim Wise

As the nation weeps for the victims of the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, one searches for lessons amid the carnage, and finds few. That violence is unacceptable stands out as one, sure. That hatred — for humanity, for life, or whatever else might have animated the bomber or bombers — is never the source of constructive human action seems like a reasonably close second.

But I dare say there is more; a much less obvious and far more uncomfortable lesson, which many are loathe to learn, but which an event such as this makes readily apparent, and which we must acknowledge, no matter how painful.

It is a lesson about race, about whiteness, and specifically, about white privilege.

I know you don’t want to hear it. But I don’t much care. So here goes.

White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI.

White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for whites to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening, or threatened with deportation.

White privilege is knowing that if the bomber turns out to be white, he or she will be viewed as an exception to an otherwise non-white rule, an aberration, an anomaly, and that he or she will be able to join the ranks of Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph and Joe Stack and George Metesky and Byron De La Beckwith and Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton and Herman Frank Cash and Robert Chambliss and James von Brunn and Robert Mathews and David Lane and Michael F. Griffin and Paul Hill and John Salvi and James Kopp and Luke Helder and James David Adkisson and Scott Roeder and Shelley Shannon and Dennis Mahon and Wade Michael Page and Byron Williams and Kevin Harpham and William Krar and Judith Bruey and Edward Feltus and Raymond Kirk Dillard and Adam Lynn Cunningham and Bonnell Hughes and Randall Garrett Cole and James Ray McElroy and Michael Gorbey and Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman and Frederick Thomas and Paul Ross Evans and Matt Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons and Kathy Simmons and Kaye Wiggins and Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe and David McMenemy and Bobby Joe Rogers and Francis Grady and Demetrius Van Crocker and Floyd Raymond Looker and Derek Mathew Shrout, among the pantheon of white people who engage in (or have plotted) politically motivated violence meant to terrorize and kill, but whose actions result in the assumption of absolutely nothing about white people generally, or white Christians in particular.

And white privilege is being able to know nothing about the crimes committed by most of the terrorists listed above — indeed, never to have so much as heard most of their names — let alone to make assumptions about the role that their racial or ethnic identity may have played in their crimes.

White privilege is knowing that if the Boston bomber turns out to be white, we  will not be asked to denounce him or her, so as to prove our own loyalties to the common national good. It is knowing that the next time a cop sees one of us standing on the sidewalk cheering on runners in a marathon, that cop will say exactly nothing to us as a result.

White privilege is knowing that if you are a white student from Nebraska — as opposed to, say, a student from Saudi Arabia — that no one, and I mean no one would think it important to detain and question you in the wake of a bombing such as the one at the Boston Marathon.

And white privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Belfast. And if he’s an Italian American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.

In short, white privilege is the thing that allows you (if you’re white) — and me — to view tragic events like this as merely horrific, and from the perspective of pure and innocent victims, rather than having to wonder, and to look over one’s shoulder, and to ask even if only in hushed tones, whether those we pass on the street might think that somehow we were involved.

It is the source of our unearned innocence and the cause of others’ unjustified oppression.

That is all. And it matters.

MrMary’s Turn

I thought I would share the process of what a part of America goes through when there is a Tragedy like the explosions in Boston. I can only speak of my own experiences as a Black man in the USA. This is an honest depiction and is very real. When 9/11 happened and it was revealed who the perpetrators were I knew shit was about to get real for many minority groups Anyways check this out.

The Process of How

Some US Minorities deal with

Tragedy up until all the facts come out


1. Nervous Anxiety:

Worried businessman

I hope the muthafuckers who did this shit are not one of us!?!?! Please Jesus/God/Moses whoever is looking out for us from very far away, Please don’t let it be one of ours, PLEASE … I just got this new suit for work and it’s already hard to get there , and well ….. You know what it is …. , Please don’t let these mutha fuckers be one of ours

2. Denial


[The reasoning will change depending on what kind of minority you are] Our people wouldn’t do that, there were no demo tapes, government assistant applications or  chicken bones found on the scene. Man just when things are going well some fools got to fuck it up for the rest of us… I mean Obama got elected twice, no assassination attempts martin Luther King Day Still Going strong.  Stop and frisk has been at least label as unconstitutional, man I hope to God these mutha fuckers aint one of ours, they can’t be. It was a race, we wouldn’t bomb a race and mess up pay-checks for all the Kenyans and Africans who win that shit. Nah Man it couldn’t be one of us, we respect look for each other and dat paper stack….  nah man

3. Acceptance


Sigh – Seriously though, it doesn’t matter ! Whoever did this we are somehow gonna take a beating or get fucked up for this. I know it, I feel it in my bonesz

4. Ironic Jubilation


YES !!!  it wasnt one of us, YES!!!. It’s a tragic situation. I am very sad at all the loss and suffering being experienced now, BUT MAANNNN!!!!  It’s not us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Seriously saddened by these events, this will be a loss felt globally. Suffering transcends boundaries  and we are with the people affected by this tragedy


  1. I wish I could say that I understand your point of view on this…but as I’m a middle-class white woman of German ancestry, I cannot. I will say that I can empathize because of the misogyny I encounter as a female and the hatred I experience as a Wiccan. That you for taking the time to speak about this very important reality that some of us have to deal with every time a tragedy occurs.


    • Hey Tarnished !

      It’s nice to see you here again! I was really happy to get this comment. What matters the most to me is that you read and didn’t dismiss me or label me as a rabble rouser, or another black dude complaining. Just listening is worth its weight in gold. I can imagine what it must have been like for Muslims around the country just waiting to hear about the identity of the people responsible. I first I felt the psot would be too much, to soon but im glad I posted it. Hope you are well and having a great Friday


      • I’m glad you were happy with my comment. You don’t sound like a “black dude complaining”…you sound like a person who has noticed social inconsistencies and is remarking on them. I’d never discount what someone else’s reality is unless it is obviously untrue (like in the case of mental illness). Just because I, by my nature, can’t experience what you do doesn’t make it any less real.

        I really hope I’m not being stereotypical when I say this, by when I read “Black Like Me” in 4th grade, it was a real eye opener. I began looking, REALLY looking, at how my black classmates were treated…how minorities were described on the radio…how I got preferences being served in the cafeteria. And then it wasn’t just the ethnic minorities I was seeing discrimination against. The way I was treated compared to my male classmates, the way I heard adults talk about homosexuals, the way we were taught to think about religious minorities (I was raised Christian), how people treated the mentally disabled or tried not to look directly at those with physical differences.

        It was a very tough time for me, because in 4th grade there are few peers who care about this, and adults try to tell you that you’re “overacting” or that “the world isn’t really like that”. I struggled with the whole horrible-white-person thing for about 2 years before my friend Emanuel slapped me upside the head and told me to knock it off, that I wasn’t like that and I shouldn’t take on guilt that others refuse to feel.

        I’ve taken that to heart, honestly. I know I’m a good person…despite being a heterosexual, middle-class, white, Germanic, Wiccan female. I treat absolutely everyone as equals deserving of respect and love, regardless of any differences or similarities. I enjoy talking to people, learning from others, having civil debates, and getting my beliefs challenged.

        Because at the end of the day, life is about living…and you can’t go it alone without missing some spectacular people along the way. So it’s better to not miss them at all.


  2. I’m happy you posted this. It is a selfish world isn’t it!?

    You know what I hate? When a black guy robs a gas station, the news paper says ‘a black man’ robbed a gas station. When a white man does the same, the headline in the paper will read ‘man robs gas station’.

    There’s so much discrimination. Everywhere all the time.

    My wife’s Bulgarian. When I got together with her, she just moved to the Netherlands and didn’t speak Dutch. I spoke English with her and I didn’t care, but I lost basically all my friends just for dating her. It surprised me, because a lot of my friends have parents that moved to this country when they were younger. I had never expected them to be That ignorant. But they were.

    Everyone discriminates. Even the discriminated discriminate. And that’s the selfish ‘nature’ of humanity nowadays.

    And that’s what’s wrong with the world.


    • A weird world we live in indeed. Ignorance, discrimination and selfishness have no boundaries. I believe these things are embedded in human DNA. They are just happen to be more pronounced in some individuals.


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