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White Supremacists vs Muslims

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After the terrorist attack by an apparent white nationalist in New Zealand, President Trump was offered the opportunity to strongly condemn white supremacists. He declined to do so. While white supremacists killed more Americans in 2017 than another other domestic extremist group, authorities are often reluctant to treat them as terrorists. For example, they are not on the terror watchlist—even though white supremacists meet the definition of “terrorist.” Image Credit In contrast, Trump and others are quick to cast most (or even all) Muslims as potential or actual terrorists. Trump and others also present Mexicans and migrants as presenting such a threat that he declared a state of emergency on the southern border. This disparity invites investigation and explanation. One possibility is that the disparity is warranted—that white nationalists do not present a significant threat and are merely isolated individuals while Muslims, Mexicans and migrants present a significant and organized threat. The obvious problem with this view is that it fails to match the facts. In terms of the number of Americans killed, white supremacists are the deadliest domestic extremist group. Even if they were not the deadliest, this would still not warrant such an extreme disparity in the rhetoric and actions. One plausible explanation lies in the realm of politics. One key tactic in politics is to demonize a group and cast them as a scapegoat for problems. The targeted group must, obviously enough, not be part of the politician’s base—it must be relatively unimportant to the politician politically and demonizing it must gain more than what is lost in doing so. It obviously also helps if the groups being demonized are relatively weak and even better if they are seen as outsiders.  Demonizing Muslims, Mexicans and migrants works quite well because these groups are relatively weak within the United States and are generally regarded as outsiders. There are also pre-existing. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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