FAQ: Biases & Stereotypes

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Is the labeling of terrorism reflective of race relations in this country? Why are crimes committed by White people referred to as hate crimes instead of terrorism?

Though there are biases present in the world, there have been several convicted white extremists who were labeled a ‘terrorist’ for the crimes they committed. For instance, Richard Poplawski was a white supremacist that was convicted and sentenced to death for the deaths of three police officers.

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For more information, please visit: News One; CBS Local

Why is right-wing terrorism addressed by the media differently than Islamic terrorism?

Homegrown and domestic terrorism does not fit the media’s narrative. The media will not report on a story if it they can’t capitalize on the effects and public outrage and white terrorism supposedly won’t cause that outrage. It is far easier to induce an emotional response by showing a city destroyed by ISIS in Syria rather than a ski resort that has been destroyed by eco-terrorists.

Does the United States covertly spy on Muslims specifically?

The United States government does not specifically spy on Muslims. However, it does conduct surveillance under the purview of the Patriot and Freedom Acts. These acts, passed in the aftermath of 9/11, aim at increasing the security of the United States.

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For more information, please visit: justice.gov; judiciary.house.gov

Why do we, as a society, fear terrorism when we have only really witnessed it through media exposure?

The fear of violent extremism comes from two places: real life events and the news. Events such as the Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11, and the Boston Marathon all create fear among citizens. That fear is then increased by the near constant reporting on the activities of violent extremists by news agencies. Hearing about violent extremism constantly, is bound to increase fear and ratings for news agencies.

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Why are Muslims stereotyped as terrorists? Why does the U.S. target religions and not individual actions?

Muslims are often stereotyped because due to the large amount of media coverage of violent extremism perpetrated by Muslims. But in reality, people commit terrorist attacks for a variety of reasons. Right-wing groups, left-wing groups, religious groups, and many others have committed acts of terror and not always in the name of Islam.

The United States government does not target religions, they target individuals based on intelligence. Terrorist attacks have been committed by people of all religions, races, and gender. In order to prevent terrorist attacks, the United States relies on intelligence gathered from a variety of sources. The United States government does not simply target an individual based on their religious beliefs and build a case around that.