As Americans, we view extreme terror organizations like ISIS as a foreign concept. But believe it or not, we are not far from the same revolution in our own country.
Even though we’ve powered through this tough election season, our battle with the racism it exposed is far from over. Countries aren’t built in a day, and they don’t fall in a day. They fall over years of political angst and voter agitation. In many ways, we are not too far from the disastrous outcome that ethnic extremism can bring. The rise of White supremacy in America is dangerous and should not be underestimated.
This election season, the U.S. has shown its true colors — and I’m not just talking about red and blue. White supremacy has become normalized, and racist speech has become synonymous with first amendment rights. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of right-wing hate groups has risen from 602 to 930 since 2000. Racist speech has also gotten a free pass this election season. Donald Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists, murderers, associated all African Americans with living in an inner city and promised to ban Muslims from entering the country. Instead of these comments derailing his campaign, the Republican establishment commended his racism as courageous, saying he’s unafraid of what conservatives have dubbed the “politically correct police.”
Our history is reaching a tipping point, and we have a tough road ahead of us if we are going to bridge the divides in our country. Otherwise, we are destined to repeat the same mistakes.
It may seem ridiculous to compare ISIS to white supremacists, but imagine the scope of the problem we are facing. Syria, after years of trying to establish a secular state, was unable to withstand the push from extremists. The Arab Spring protests along with outside attacks from Israel left the country vulnerable to a homegrown terror organization. In a country that tried to protect religious expression and freedom, those preferring more conservative values found a way to make their voice heard. This voice was through the Islamic State.
An extremist and violent uprising by a group believing they are superior to the rest of the country is exactly what we are facing. In fact, White extremists have killed more Americans than Islamic extremist groups, according to Time magazine. With a constantly changing demographic, the United States is looking at a White minority soon. The Census Bureau projects that non-Hispanic Whites will drop below 50 percent by 2040.
These changing demographics have led to increased hatred from White nationalists toward immigrants and people of color. The Alt-Right and the Ku Klux Klan believe Trump’s presidency has made huge advances for the White nationalist community, and this passion is dangerous. Former Congressman Joe Walsh tweeted a week ago that he was ready to pick up arms if Trump didn’t win the election. This animosity is our own homegrown terrorism. These are the people our democracy has to fear.
Equality and freedom are at stake in the upcoming years. Many people are just trying to get through this election but White nationalism will only grow worse as we go on. What seemed like a Trump victory on Tuesday night is evidence that White America is fighting the voice people of color have been struggling centuries to have in their government. It’s obvious that the voice of racism is alive and well in our country.