The cautious treatment of armed white men taking over a federal building in Oregon with vague demands about land rights and a promise to shoot if approached by law enforcement is a clear display of the sickening double standard we live with in this white supremacy. Imagine for one moment a group of armed black, Muslim or native men (the last group having the clearest actual claim to stolen land and sovereign rights) making threats and taking over government property. We already know the probable outcome; the building would have been stormed already and many if not all the men would be in custody or dead.
There is a reason this is playing out like this. Domestic terrorism works. In the 1990’s there was a rise in white armed militia and the two botched stand offs in Waco,Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Then came the Oklahoma City bombing of the federal building by two white militia men. In 2009 the Department of Homeland Security issued a report that detailed the troubling rise again of organized white domestic terrorists. Besides the horrific act of terrorism carried out on September 11, 2001 by foreign terrorists almost every other act of terrorism in the U.S. has been carried out by white people (mostly men) who are white supremacists, anti-government and/or anti-abortion.
Before and after the attack on 9/11 the majority of people killed in the U.S. by terrorism have been killed by white men with guns and bombs. The victims of these attacks include police officers, specific racial and religious groups and abortion providers. Prior to 9/11 there is an unending litany of terrorism perpetrated by white domestic terrorists that includes lynching, bombings of churches and mob violence. The U.S. Government is handling this latests act as they handled the stand off with many of the same men involved in the Bundy ranch standoffs in 2014. They do not want to escalate this situation because they are well aware that these armed white men will shoot back. That is backed up with years of violence including direct acts of cop killing by right wing extremists including the murders of police officers by Jerad and Amanda Miller in Las Vegas in 2014.
There is no comparable history of domestic terrorism by any other group in the U.S. no matter how much arm chair racists commenting on the internet wish to believe otherwise. This country is really between a rock and a hard place. On one hand we have state sanctioned violence by police murdering and terrorizing people of color and then a militarized response whenever people rise up against such killings. On the other side we have white supremacist extremists willing to use violence and intimidation that goes largely unchecked by the government. It is truly the twisted reality of white supremacy when you have cops and federal officials who have actually been directly targeted by white supremacist/anti government groups still acting as if it is Native ranchers in Nevada * or community members in Ferguson, Baltimore and Minneapolis that are a threat and must be dealt with as if they were a group of armed terrorists spoiling for a fight.
It is not hyperbolic to say that our government consistently fails to protect us from the real dangers in this world including corporate caused climate change and pollution, rampant gun violence, rape, police brutality and domestic terrorism. It is a dangerous situation all around.
* If you are unfamiliar with this situation please check out this video. Watch