SHAUN KING: Call These White Men What They Are: Terrorists.

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White men have been committing acts of terror in this country for decades.

So why aren’t they referred to as what they are: terrorists?

On Oct 8, it was announced by federal and state officials that 13 people had been charged in a plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Democratic Governor.

I knew right away that these alleged kidnappers were white men. In every press release I came across, there was no mention of their religion, ethnicity or motive. There were no pictures of any of the 13 people charged. If they had been Black, their faces would have been plastered everywhere. If they had been Muslim, allegations of religious extremism would be mentioned by every news source.

Instead, there were clean press releases reporting the facts. In America, only white men receive this treatment. It’s a certain level of respect and benefit of the doubt that mass media reserves only for them.

Now, we know that this alleged kidnapping was part of a fully fleshed out plot to overthrow the government.

NBC News was first to report the connection between several members of the terrorist group and their association with pro-Trump and anti-government movements. One of these, coined the ‘boogalo’ movement, is made up largely of white supremacist, anti-law enforcement and anarchists.

As if 2020 didn’t already feel like a poorly written dystopian novel.

Several of these men attended an armed storming of the Idaho state capitol building in protest of government enforcement of coronavirus policies, including mask wearing and social distancing rules. One of the most blatant displays of white privilege I have ever seen in my life, they were literally holding guns and shouting over the fact that their local gyms were closed.

We’ve seen time and time again how American police treat unarmed Black and Brown people and the brutality Black and Brown people are met with. I can only imagine how police would have responded had it been armed, unmasked Black and Brown people storming that capitol.

I want to be clear, if these men had been anything other than white conservatives, they would be called terrorists. They were plotting acts of terror. It’s not complicated.

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun unpacks and explains the kidnapping plot of Michigan’s governor, and why the white men behind it aren’t being called what they are: terrorists.