(twitter thread)

when you demand that white supremacists be called “terrorists”, you legitimize the label in its current application. why are you arguing for the endless expansion of the language the police state uses to describe all actions deemed to be a threat to itself? who do you think that’s helping? weren’t you all calling to “defund the police” a few months ago? where exactly do you think this insistence that this is “terrorism” leads? to the satisfaction of seeing the evil white men called a bad name, or to enforced militarism and increased surveillance in the name of security?

The thing that interests me is thinking about how the application of this label has changed* – I grew up in a time and place where the terrorists I heard about were white “nationalists”?? I guess??? It was and still is a complicated question for someone on the outside because I guess each was nationalist for their own desired national identity and those are two separate nationalities.

Like, my dissertation was about the Troubles (I literally skipped out on focussing on the bombings and physical murdering to concentrate on education and employment and discrimination and policing** etc etc because it was the bombings and various kinds of traditional physical violence that I only ever heard about and I wanted to know about the rest) and there were people committing acts of terror on both sides of that conflict and basically yes, they were all white (I briefly dipped into looking at how it was for other ethnic groups but it was kind of outside the scope of my topic although probably more relevant to my own life).

* And like, yes, this has changed over the last few decades but also, I suppose outside the UK and Ireland and I guess Europe (although they seemed to forget the GFA pretty easily the other day), the “usual” experience of terrorism never really included what went on here? Even though it was such a huge thing in my early life*** and so like… yeah. And even now – the reason it was so difficult for years and years and years to find a bin to put your rubbish in at Euston was the Troubles, and I don’t think there are bins in the overground part at the moment (though it’s been a while since I was there) but they have installed those hoops with a clear plastic bag hanging off them in the underground part. And this is the smallest thing! Was terrorism always about BIPOC in the USA? I didn’t even study conflicts in North America for my masters as I decided to stick to stuff that my own family had experience of like stuff in the UK and Malaysia.

** The stuff there was violence too but like, y’know, a different kind.

*** Watching/reading coverage of the Troubles and being British and Catholic and a child with a child’s understanding of war and not knowing who were the good guys and who were the bad guys because your own identities are part of those of both groups and everyone seems to be suffering and dying. And of course, it’s not that simple is it because the media I was exposed to was framed from the British point of view, reduced into basic sides.