The words are back.
You know which words I’m talking about. The politically correct nouns, verbs and adjectives used to shield their sayers and writers from criticism. The ones that tiptoe along the protective, precipitously thin fence of caucasity to whitesplain any act committed by an Anglo-Saxon Protestant who claps on the one and three.
The white words.
As we unpack the reasons that 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt took away the safe space from
black people of color in Austin, Texas, we must admonish ourselves not to jump to conclusions. It is too early to call him evil. Maybe he was “deeply troubled” like Parkland, Fla., mass murderer “broken child” Nikolas Cruz. Perhaps Conditt was like Kenneth Gleason, the “clean-cut American kid” suspected of the lynchings racially motivated murders in Baton Rouge, La.
And for God’s sake, don’t call him a terrorist.
By definition, a terrorist can’t be white. Now, some may stupidly try to apply logic and reason to the situation by pointing out that the word “terrorist” is defined as “a person who terrorizes and frightens others,” but again, Mark Anthony Conditt is white. Logic doesn’t apply here. There is an unwritten rule that all Caucasian children are endowed at birth with the assumption of pure innocence until someone proves otherwise.
Just the white kids, though. It was why Mike Brown was called a “robbery suspect” when he was killed by Darren Wilson. Trayvon Martin was a robbery suspect, too, which is why George Zimmerman was released after a quick chat with police in Sanford, Fla.
This also explains why even the most liberal thinkers believe that mental health checks and gun control will stop school shootings, but flooding the neighborhood with trigger-happy police officers who can walk away from dead black bodies by claiming they “feared for their lives” is the only cure for the gun violence in Chicago.
The black, Hispanic and Muslim ones are automatically assumed to be dangerous thugs or terrorists. The white ones are afforded the privilege of ... well, instead of my opinion, let’s allow the New York Times, the heralded bastion of journalism, to explain it in two tweets:
Yet the question remains: Was the Austin suicide bomber a terrorist?
The answer lies in who you ask. The White House says no.
Law enforcement officials say no, according to the Washington Post:
Authorities avoided using the “terrorist” label, instead describing Conditt — a white man — as a troubled person motivated by frustrations in his life. ...
“Having listened to that recording, he does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate,” Manley said in a news conference Wednesday. “But instead, it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, appeared on Fox & Friends immediately after the suspect blew himself up and pussyfooted around the word “terror”:
The definition of a terrorist is more the mindset of the person who committed the crime. Was his goal to terrorize or did he have some other type of agenda? Obviously, there was terror. What we need to find out, and I think we will find out is: Did he have a different agenda that he was trying to achieve, other than terror?
But here’s who you should really ask:
Ask Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Muslim teenager who was assumed to be a terrorist when he brought a clock to school.
Ask the people of color who are kicked off planes for speaking another language or wearing a hijab.
Ask anyone from the Black Lives Matter “terrorist organization” whose total body count is zero.
Maybe you should contact the black people in Austin who make up 8 percent of the population but two-thirds of Conditt’s victims. Ask them if they felt terrorized. Ask them if they think he should be classified as an evil terrorist.
Ask them if Conditt was simply a “troubled kid” or—here’s one of the white words again—“problematic.” Ask them if they understand his plight.
Or better yet, as they grieve over the dismembered remains of their loved ones while America tries to figure out the answers, ask them if they give a fuck about semantic modifiers. They will probably explain that they prefer another adjective to describe the suicide-bombing, race-targeting, serial-killer terrorist known as Mark Anthony Conditt: