Sometimes it seems as if many on the left cannot discuss an issue without injecting race into it.

Even though their fixation on race has alienated much of the American public, they just can’t stop. It’s like an unwritten rule mandating that every single political issue must contain a racial component, even if it means shoving it into the conversation like the proverbial square peg into the round hole.

Not even the issue of mass shootings and terrorism can escape this obsession. Several leftist media outlets have claimed that the United States is racist in the way it defines acts of terrorism and mass shootings.

Before we go forward, it’s important to define terrorism. According to terrorism is:

  • The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
  • The state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
  • A terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

The left’s issue with the United States’ views on terrorists stems from the notion that we only define brown people as terrorists.

The Left Thinks We Only Classify Brown People As Terrorists

Multiple leftist websites have decried the way the United States differentiates between mass murderers and terrorists. The Root published a piece entitled “If The Texas Church Shooter Wasn’t White,” where they lamented the fact that Sayfullo Saipov — the individual who recently murdered nine people in New York City — was classified as a terrorist while Devin P. Kelley, who murdered 26 people at a Texas church was not.

“CNN’s initial report on the Sutherland Springs event characterized it as a ‘shooting at a Texas church.’” the author writes. “By contrast, when a man drove a rented truck down a New York bicycle path a week earlier, CNN’s headlines were quick to call the incident an ‘attack’ and an ‘act of terror.’”

The Huffington Post expressed similar sentiments in a piece titled “It’s Terrorism If You’re Brown And Mental Health If You’re White.” They write:

“When the mass murderer is a white person, which is the most common scenario, it’s nearly always framed as a mental health issue. It’s never terrorism. Terrorism is something brown people do.”

Last, but not least, The Washington Post accused the media of treating white murderers differently from minorities. “U.S. media outlets practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans or Muslims,” they write. The author added:

“As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs (if not always explicitly using the terms), motivated purely by evil intent instead of external injustices. While white suspects are lone wolves — Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley has emphasized that this shooting was an act of just ‘one hateful person’ — violence by black and Muslim people is systemic, demanding response and action from all who share their race or religion.”

If you take their claims at face value, it’s easy to believe that America views terrorist acts through a bigoted lens, isn’t it? Perhaps we should take a closer look.

Why The Left Is Wrong About Terrorism And Race

Dylann Roof

One of the biggest gripes the left has regarding our views on terrorists is Dylann Roof. When he walked into a black church in South Carolina and opened fire, killing nine people, many were angry that he was not classified as a domestic terrorist. This criticism is understandable, given the fact that Roof claimed to have carried out the shooting to start a race war.

Nevertheless, while we may have gotten it wrong with Dylann Roof, the left is leaving out an important fact: the United States has accurately labeled other white terrorists.

Tamerlan and DzhokarTsarnaev, the Kyrgyzstani terrorists who carried out the brutal Boston Marathon bombings, were classified as radical Islamic terrorists. The brothers are of Chechen descent, which means they were not brown people. Nobody attempted to classify these individuals as “mentally ill.”

Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbekistani immigrant who killed nine people in New York City by running them over in a truck, was also classified as a terrorist. As of yet, there has been no national discussion of his mental condition.

Lastly, we cannot forget Timothy McVeigh, who conducted the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 which killed 168 people. After he was caught, he was classified as a domestic terrorist and given the death penalty.

It is interesting to note that Emanuel Kidega Samson, a Sudanese immigrant who carried out a mass shooting at a church in Tennessee, still has not been labeled a domestic terrorist. After his attack, the authorities found a note in the shooter’s vehicle indicating that he launched the assault as revenge for Dylann Roof’s shooting.

Can’t We Just Cut It Out Already?

Many on the left have brought up Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, and Devin P Kelley, the Sutherland Springs gunman as examples of individuals who are not being labeled as terrorists because they are white. However, terrorism has always been defined as violence perpetrated in the pursuit of a political or religious objective.

There is no evidence showing that either of these individuals carried out their acts to further a political or religious agenda. If the left wants to classify these people as terrorists, they would need to change the definition of terrorism. But they should be careful what they wish for.

Are they going to be willing to classify black gang members committing mass murders in Chicago as terrorists? What about Hispanic gangs that ruthlessly kill their rivals?

Here’s the bottom line: there is absolutely no good reason to insert racism into the issues of terrorism and mass shootings. Americans agree that both are reprehensible and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

We don’t need to classify every act of brutality as terrorism just to make ourselves feel better. Words are important, and it is imperative that we define these incidents accurately, regardless of the race of the perpetrator.

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Jeff Charles

Race Relations & Media Affairs Correspondent at

A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff's insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.