White: The Only Righteous Race

Perhaps you heard that a bomb was discovered in Spokane this week? Thankfully, it was detonated before anyone was harmed. Police have confirmed that the bomb was designed to kill or maim a significant number of people.

A gal I know works downtown not far from where the bomb was found. I didn’t learn until two days later that her neighbor had actually parked a car within feet of where the backpack containing the explosives was found. This neighbor had considered it good fortune to have found a parking space so close. Odd, she thought, that she was the only one.

But the neighbor didn’t know then about the bomb.

The bomb was strategically placed where it could harm the most number of people.

“Domestic terrorism” news reports said.

“How do they know it’s domestic?” my husband asked. “Maybe the bomb was planted by someone outside the country.”

Unless, of course, he reasoned, they know for a fact that the bomb was planted by someone associated with the Skinheads.

Aryan Nation folks.

Spokane, which is truly a lovely city,  has long been a stomping ground for those who believe the only righteous race is a white race. Oddly, law enforcement folks have been reluctant to say the bomb was planted by racists: “The FBI admits it’s not a coincidence the bomb was left along the parade route on MLK Jr. Day.  But they are hesitant to say it was a racially motivated event.”

We play loose-lipped with words all the time, assigning meaning as best suits our purposes. Perhaps there’s some national security reason why the law enforcement would rather refer to a backpack laden with a bomb as “domestic terrorism”.

Or perhaps the good folks in the fair city of Spokane, who have had more than it’s share of ugly press coverage this year connected to police shootings, simply can’t afford any more negative press.

It sounds so much more high-flutin to say your city was the subject of an act of “domestic terrorism” than it does to say that a bunch of redneck racists tried to do serious harm to some peace-loving people of color, doesn’t it?

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  • Alison

    I have to admit that I laughed out loud at your cartoon–it gives the expression “Sh** for brains” a nice visual. Good stuff on the humor side.

    Good stuff on the serious side too. My pastor courageously said on Sunday in our service honoring Dr. King, that we as Christians have only one option: to be those who seek racial reconciliation and racial justice, since our future is multi-cultural (something the “white power” people vociferously deny). Such hatred as exhibited by the “white power” people is in and of itself “domestic terrorism”, since in its most virulent form it seeks to deny the basic rights of Americans–nay, human beings–to people of color. As Christians, we must stand against this kind of hatred, since it stands directly against the Spirit of the One Who calls us to “Love one another, as I have loved you”. Just my $.02.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      A $.02 well spent for insights that are invaluable. Thanks for sharing. And, yes, I laughed at the cartoon too — after I winced.

  • While reading various news articles concerning the Spokane bomb story, I came across http://www.spokanebombcom. The surprise came as I discovered BOMB stood for Believers On Mountain Bikes…not at all what initially popped into my head.

  • I just re-read my diary from August 8, 1968. That’s the day, as a student on summer study in Europe, that we visited Dachau. In my diary I asked, “How can a nation own up to its history like that?” Later in the day we visited the Deutsches Museum and saw one of the earliest prototypes of a jet fighter built in 1939. Built by my blood relatives. Nazis.

    I never wonder how anyone can become a terrorist. All I have to do is look in the mirror each morning to know what one looks like. If genocide and racial supremacy could become the national identity of a highly educated Christian people who gave us so much in the way of art, music, literature, medicine, mathematics, philosophy, chemistry–even much of the Reformation itself–well… then don’t rule anyone out. Be very sober about the directions taken by a people or a nation that once was wealthy and powerful when it feels less powerful and impoverished. How rock solid are the anchors to goodness in our hearts and our heads when we feel threatened?

    There’s a difference between being multi-cultural and multi-ethnic or multi-racial. Today as never before, culture seems to be much less something we share because it has grown organically within us over protracted time. Today, culture seems to be something manufactured and imported electronically. We may indeed be more united by an electronic gadget and its programs than by a sense of who we are as a nation and a people living out the “faith of our fathers” (by which I mean much more than religious belief). When we feel our culture is in flux and all the good times are behind us, we may look to blame others not like us rather than the fact the we ourselves have become addicted to what actually puts culture into a blender at an accelerating rate.

    I’m old enough to remember when Black Studies were a brand new disicpline on my University of Nebraska campus. I immediately registered for the very first courses. I still have many of the books on my shelf today: The Fire Next Time and Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois. Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto by Gilbert Osofsky. Dark Ghetto by Kenneth B. Clark. Many, many more… not all of which I’ve read. There was simply too much to keep up with by me, an interested but much too slow reader.

    And there was this one with yellowed pages, first printing 1967, original purchase price 95 cents: Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I read it for the first time 18 months ago.

    Some of it will seem quaint and naive. King envisioned that by steadfastness his people would find their way to what the American system offered on paper, at least: full and equal opportuniuty politcally and economically. He could not have envisioned major cities like Detroit completely gutted out by an endless quest for ever cheaper imported goods at the expense of the very employment base providing the life-blood of a community itself. He was onto the fact that unless we are completely transformed by Christ, the only gods that we seem unwilling to starve by withholding sacrifices are the god of hatred and the god of war.

    I’ve now been married longer than Dr. King lived. I’m sorry he did not get to carry his work forward with a much longer lifespan.

    But he left us some things. In the wake of the Tucson massacre and the near-massacre in Spokane, the stagnation of vision in government and much of the church, I’d be hard pressed to find a better starting point for a time-out and a search for new beginnings than King’s 1967 book.

    Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?

    • Debbie

      Beautiful thoughts and thanks for sharing some more of Mr King’s heart.

  • John in PDX

    My younger son needs an Eagle Scout project. We checked out one in North Portland on Tuesday. An area that his great great grandfather homesteaded. I was amazed at the attitudes. I am really ignorant about race in the US. It seems as if some people want the conflict. I don’t.

  • snakemeister

    I don’t think this “bomb” was ever intended to harm anyone.I think it was meant to be discovered and thus inspire sympathy for the MLM movement and public antimosity for any group deemed a “hate group” by the media.
    Why would someone place T-shirts in it that could be traced?Why was it in such a visable location? If it was radio controlled why wasn’t it detonated when it was discovered by whoever planted it?
    If this is ever solved I believe It will be shown that this was a “Blackflag” operation by a person with left wing leanings that never intended to harm anyone.I also think that the Police deeply suspect the same thing and that’s why they’re so “close to the vest” about what they say.

  • Deeply saddened.