Wandering Eye: Challenging white supremacy, 'Veep' departs Baltimore, and more

The racially motivated murders of nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, have once again brought up the issue of "white terrorism," a serious topic that the country at large mostly pretends doesn't exist. "Terrorism," following 9/11 especially, is a term reserved for violence committed by brown and black people only, it seems (as many have pointed out, this shooting took more lives than the Boston Marathon bombing). For a profound sense of how we got to this point, I'd recommend the 2011 book "Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed — and Why It Still Matters," by Andrew Gumbel and Roger Charles. The authors makes a case that the Oklahoma City bombing was not a "lone wolf" situation but an organized attack by underground white militants and that, through a series of fuck-ups, idiotic turf wars between government agencies, and fear of another Ruby Ridge or Waco, the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols for the Oklahoma City bombing took precedence over sifting through the larger right-wing extremist connections to the bombing. Reading "Oklahoma City," you can trace how extremist right-wing rhetoric—because for all intents and purposes the U.S. pretends it doesn't exist in any organized sense—has moved back into the mainstream. Along with the United States' refusal to wrestle with issues of race, the recent history explored by Gumbel and Charles illustrates why Dylann Roof is not dubbed a "terrorist," and how someone pictured sporting white-supremacist patches and, in another photo, leaning on a car with Confederate plates, who announced the reasons behind his act of racial terror ("You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go.") is still afforded so much sympathy by the mainstream press. "Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed — and Why It Still Matters" explores the country's recent history when it comes to denying the significance of white extremism and provides a sense of how well-protected white terrorists remain in this country. (Brandon Soderberg)

 

The cast and crew of the television show "Veep," much of which is filmed here in Baltimore, are packing up their gear and heading west, reports David Zurawik of The Sun. The reason? California, the epicenter of the film industry, is offering them a sweeter tax incentive deal. "'Veep' received $6.5 million from the state, but California offered more," Zurawik writes. So of course plenty of people quoted in the piece are lamenting the loss of the show, saying it will cost the city money, etc. But let us remind you of our own Edward Ericson Jr.'s 2014 piece titled "F.U. Kevin Spacey," in reference to the actor who stars in another show filmed in Baltimore, "House of Cards." "TV studios with money up their colons can get more back from the state than they would have owed in taxes. A tax reform commission appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last fall wrote a report—which was leaked to the press, not published—that concluded: The growth in the industry comes at the expense of higher taxes for other taxpayers or lower spending on state services and investments, possibly reducing activity in other sectors of the economy." Which is to say it's a shitty deal. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, "Veep." (Brandon Weigel)

 

City Paper Editor-at-Large Baynard Woods has a powerful piece in today's Washington Post, "Only white people can save themselves from racism and white supremacism."  In it, he recalls his own experiences growing up in South Carolina and returning to work on a book based there: "So I and every other white South Carolinian who has let the racist jokes go unchecked, who has looked the other way at some sanctioned act of bigotry, who has not taken the time and effort to listen to what black people have to say about their experience, is, in some sense, responsible for Dylann Roof — even as he remains responsible for his own actions. Every white South Carolinian who accepts that the Confederate battle flag flies — even today, and not at half-staff — on the state capitol grounds, where it flies over the Confederate War Veterans Memorial, is responsible for Dylann Roof. He is our child. We should have never let him fall into whatever hell he occupied when he decided to go into that church." In the coming days and weeks, many will likely continue to point fingers, accusing others of being responsible for the murders in South Carolina. But Woods sets a good example, examining his own role in a society and a culture where such an injustice could take place—again and again. We would do well to follow his lead. (Evan Serpick)

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