The Atlantic

White Terrorists Give Political Cover to Other Americans’ Prejudices

The racial fears motivating white-nationalist killers are more widely shared than mainstream Americans would prefer to admit.
Source: Vincent Thian / AP

How many people do white terrorists have to kill before America treats them as more dangerous than people of color? When asked after the recent massacre of Muslims in New Zealand whether he saw a growing threat from white nationalists, Donald Trump replied, “I don’t, really.” This from a man who frequently portrays people like me as a growing threat.

I have been threatening so many times—including one morning in November 2011, when I pulled into a CVS parking lot in North Philadelphia. To avoid the chill, I was wearing a black hoodie, much as Trayvon Martin wore a gray hoodie when he ambled to a convenience store a few months later. The peekaboo hole in my worn gray sweatpants revealed part of my ashy right knee. Nothing covered my brown skin or my long locks. In retrospect, I was a bull’s-eye for bigots.

Walking toward the front entrance,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
What Happens When a Billionaire Swoops In to Solve the Student-Debt Crisis
A philanthropist surprised Morehouse College graduates at commencement by announcing he would pay off their student loans. But one person—even a very generous one—can only do so much.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
The Partisan Divide On How To Read The Intelligence On Iran
Adam Schiff lays out his worries on the intelligence, but the Trump administration is pushing back.
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Self-Limiting Revolution
Knock Down the House set out to show an inspiring political movement—but instead revealed its boundaries.