There’s a habit that we have as Americans to call a spade a spade unless it hits close to home. The media immediately and correctly labeled the World Trade Center attacks of 2001 as terrorism. Yet, when Dylan Hook walked into a historically black church in Charleston, S.C. this month and brutally murdered nine people, the media quickly classified it as a lone incident by a troubled youth.
Making the choice to call this a terrorist act is a way of recognizing the long history of anti-black terrorism in America. For most of American history, the word “terrorism” has referred to acts committed by white people against black people.
In fact, anti-black terrorism perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan was the reason for the first federal anti-terrorism law the US ever passed.