When Does Domestic Terrorism Go Unnoticed? When the Victims are Black.

#NAACPBombing And #WhiteSilence converge to make a frustrating mess

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

On Christmas day in 1951, after taking on the 1949 Groveland, Florida, rape case (where four young black men were accused of raping a white woman), a bomb was placed underneath Florida NAACP Florida State Conference founder Harry T. Moore’s bed, killing him. Moore had only weeks prior spoken out against the sheriff investigating the case, who’d shot two defendants, killing one, while transporting them to a pre-trial hearing. The incident gained national attention.

How unsettling it is now to see the same type of concentrated violence today, an echo of the bombings perpetuated by the Klan and others in Jim Crow America. But if it was not for social media, in particular Twitter, one may have missed the act of terror that played out in Colorado Springs on Tuesday morning. Now declared “deliberate” by the FBI, an improvised explosive device was detonated in the late morning hours outside the headquarters of the local NAACP chapter. The IED was placed next to a can of gasoline, which did not explode, but the blast shook the neighborhood according to residents.

Harrowing as the act was, the media silence in the wake of the bombing seemed as egregious, especially given the 24-hour news networks’ typical tendency to carpet-bomb us with coverage. If there were no Twitter, I and many others (the musician Questlove tweeted out: “thank god for social media cause i woulda never known otherwise”) would have been in the dark in the wake of this frightening and brazen act. In the hours following the Los Angeles Times piece breaking the story (for a while the lone bit of coverage from a major outlet), it became clear to the Twittersphere that CNN et al. weren’t biting on what amounted to domestic terrorism, aimed specifically at a black organization. Before long, the #NAACPBombing hashtag would become the top trending topic worldwide, not due to media coverage, but because of wholesale outrage over the lack thereof, serving as a reminder of social media’s importance in pushing for transparency and equality.

Those old stalwarts of the internet, racist trolls, have since been quick to try and sabotage the #NAACPBombing hashtag, stating that there was no loss of life, nor any serious structural damage. The terrorist they seem so eager to defend, or at least absolve, a man now sought by authorities, was intent on violence against a specific group of people, using means now familiar to Americans (the IED) because of our overseas wars on terror. Furthermore, he detonated his weapon in the morning, when he knew there would be people inside the building. Calling this anything other than terrorism, which outlets such as ABC and CNN have now chosen to do, is problematic at best.

Across the Atlantic a day later, an attack on staff at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in response to caricatures of Muhammad, would leave 12 dead and the world in shock, a tragedy with its own hashtag (#JeSuisCharlie) and plenty of coverage on social media and major media outlets alike. Obviously the many deaths resulting from the Paris attack heightened the newsworthiness of that event, but the NAACP bombing largely flew under the radar in its aftermath, despite the anti-civil rights message and echoes of white supremacy theories the act recalled.

The gut-level fear and anger stoked by an event like the Charlie Hebdo attack is easier for the media machine to latch onto, to be sure, and the violence’s senseless horror is beyond debate. Yet, after a summer and fall of unarmed black men and women being snuffed out by police across the country, the fact that Twitter users had to beg CNN and others to cover this attempt to maim and murder employees of black America’s most recognizable institution were doubly bothersome.

Reports of the Colorado bombing are more visible days after the fact, in large part due to the massive outcry for coverage on social media. Yet one is left to wonder whether the media’s lack of initiative here would have existed if a similar attack had been perpetrated against a white organization? Where are the journalists interviewing white men and asking if they support this act of violence simply because they too are white? They are focusing on France, asking any given Muslim their thoughts about “gunmen,” “militants,” and “extremists.”

The deaths at Charlie Hebdo wrench loose deep-seated and prolonged fears, both rational and inane. This is the core intention of any terrorist act. Yet, in the case of Paris, we are constantly prodded to consider the religion and ideology of the attackers. In Colorado, there is no such rhetoric, as the person of interest is “a balding white man in his 40s” who is somehow no bogeyman, no representative of all of white America, or even a particular segment of white America, but rather one variable in the case.

As acts of terror play out abroad, the person of color in the United States may be legitimately more worried about such violence at the hands of his or her countrymen more so than masked extremists presumed to originate from a foreign land. Even more difficult to process is the media’s unwillingness to acknowledge an act of terror like the one in Colorado on Tuesday morning. When CNN anchors raised the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” posture familiarized by recent protests back in December, it seemed a tepid, face-saving attempt at solidarity. Yet, it’s apparent from the thousands of tweets pleading for coverage of Tuesday’s act of terror that we now demand a clearer commitment from mainstream media in the pursuit of justice for all.

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

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For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

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In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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