An Overview of the Impact of Racial Hate and Its Manifestation of Homegrown Terrorism in America

An Overview of the Impact of Racial Hate and Its Manifestation of Homegrown Terrorism in America

Benson G. Cooke (University of the District of Columbia, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3843-1.ch002
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Abstract

Since the 2008 election of the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, racial hatred has been on the rise. During the 2016 presidential election, right-wing extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Ultra-Right groups have become more vocal resulting in civil rights organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center reporting a significant rise in hate crimes and threats. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump helped to stoke the fears of these hate groups with his incendiary campaign rhetoric of hate mostly against immigrants. This chapter provides a historical overview of racial hate and its manifestation of homegrown terrorism in America. Additionally, this chapter examines how hatred and fear became the source of lynching and race riots in America from the 18th to the 21st century. Understanding the past and present history of hatred directed at racial, ethnic and gender groups can help to bring a factual and more truthful point of view that can help reduce the recurrence of homegrown terrorism.
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I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,

Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,

And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck

For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop,

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

- Lewis Allan

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The Legacy Of Hate, Racism, And Homegrown Terrorism In America

It can be argued that America’s greatest sin (Wallis, 2016) was not simply the enslavement of African abductees who became victims of international human trafficking to America as early as 1619, but the very act of racism itself, which existed before kidnapping became a catalyst for the capture, bondage and oppression of African male and female children, youth (King, 2011), and adults brought to America (Horton & Horton, 2005; Horton & Horton, 2006; Bennett, 1998). Racism allowed for untrue beliefs to become a significant part of an effort by those who subjugated other people to establish hegemony, which demonstrated a need to convey supremacy in domination and authority of power and control. The legacy of racism, hate and homegrown terrorism in America calls for an in-depth examination of the fact that racism preceded and inspired almost four centuries of intense personal and institutional cruelty and brutality throughout both the slave trade, as well as the eradication of Native American Indian populations in pursuit of a European manifest destiny in America.

Before, during and following the Civil War (1861-1865), racism would continue to be the driving psychological and social force used by those invested in sustaining and maintaining systems of oppression and domination through practices designed to confine, and inhibit in particular people of African ancestry. This was accomplished by creating slavery by another moniker – Jim Crow1. Jim Crow2 was an era in American history in which legal and civil rights were denied to African Americans. The price for challenging either local practices/rules/statutes, societal values, states’ rights (especially in the South), was to become a victim of assault, personal property destruction, unwarranted incarceration and even death. Historians often refer to the Jim Crow era (Chafe et al., 2001; Packard, 2002) as being worse than slavery (Oshinsky, 1996). During this era, only Constitutional laws and statutes would begin to spell out the protection of specific civil rights of all American citizens. The laws governing the rights of all citizens regardless of race or color to vote was ratified by the U.S. Congress in the 15th Amendment in 1870 (Heffner, 1991, p. 38). The rights of women to vote was approved by the U.S. Congress in the 19th Amendment in 1920 (Heffner, 1991, p. 39). The 24th Amendment to the Constitution in 1964 addressed the ongoing discrimination of rights of African Americans –especially those living in the Southern states– who continued to be denied the right to vote by majority whites during national, state or local elections. Many Southern whites in official positions used of illegal, deceptive, and unfair practices like poll taxes (Heffner, 1991, p. 41) to prevent African Americans from voting. Again, it is important to know that while African Americans were the target of these acts of hate, other groups suffered from similar indignities as well.

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