According to the media narrative, whatever unpleasant behavior a person or group is engaging in—from criminal activity to sheer terrorism—if you’re white and they’re not, that proves their behavior is entirely your fault. Your insufferable racism and xenophobia have pushed them over the top; their criminal behavior is a reflection of their many grievances against you.
This would certainly require ameliorating if it were but true. It’s not. This is not to say that there is no racism or xenophobia, things which cannot be “legislated”; rather, it is to say that the overwhelming majority of criminal behavior is and always has been fueled by things other than grievances.
Take Islam for instance. Following the savage 9/11 terror attacks, the great question was “why do they hate us?” The answer from the media and its array of “experts” was that they had grievances against America.
Thereafter followed a litany list of supposed American/Western crimes against Muslims: originally it was Western political “sins”—from the crusades to colonialism to the creation of Israel. But with each new Islamic terrorist attack or outrage, the “grievances” Muslims had grew: free speech, churches, even teddy bears were included.
The media might as well have mentioned your sheer existence as a free infidel as the ultimate grievance, which would have been closer to the truth. After all, unjustified Muslim attacks on the West began nearly 1400 years ago, a few years after Islam was born; they continued for a millennium, swallowing three-quarters of the Christian world and bombarding every corner of Europe, whence many millions of slaves were abducted.
Even America’s first war as a nation was with African Muslims, who were raiding and enslaving American vessels. When Jefferson and Adams asked the Barbary ambassador what “injury” the newborn American state could possibly have committed to provoke such attacks, “the ambassador answered us,” Jefferson wrote to Congress in 1786, “that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran… that it was their right and duty to make war upon them [non-Muslims] wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all.”
Muslim attacks on the West finally went on hiatus in the early nineteenth century, when Europe, fed up by Islamic depredations, invaded and colonized the Muslim world. Even that “process of European expansion and empire,” explains Bernard Lewis, “has its roots in the clash of Islam and Christendom… The victorious liberators [Europeans], having reconquered their own territories [from Muslims], pursued their former masters whence they had come.”
Regardless, the West has been so inundated with “it’s your fault,” Muslim “grievances,” and “Islamophobia” propaganda from their own media that the Islamic State itself (ISIS) made it a point to clarify that it hates and terrorizes the West first and foremost because Islamic law requires it to do so, irrespective of Western behavior.
Or consider the abysmal way Muslim nations treat their minorities, chiefly Christians. How could these peaceful, tiny, and politically disenfranchised communities possibly “aggrieve” Muslims? They are often the same race, ethnicity, and speak the same language as their Muslim counterparts; you cannot tell them apart except for religion—and that is the “grievance” their persecutors have: non-Muslim minorities are “infidels” and therefore to be despised and oppressed.
Despite such outrageous persecution, which often leads to the murders of several Christians every month, the Western media seldom mentions this truly systemic and endemic topic, and never honestly: doing so would throw a wrench in their “grievances” narrative that Muslim misbehavior is a byproduct of “grievances” against the West.
Now consider how the media is using this same grievance paradigm to justify criminal behavior and violence: a black man was killed by a police officer; although he was properly arrested and charged with murder, that’s not enough. If you’re white, the current turmoil—the looting, burning, and killing—is again and ultimately your fault: “grievances” coming to roost; or, to quote a recent Politico headline, “White America is reckoning with racism.”
And yet, just as with Islam, the media’s “black lives matter” narrative is extremely selective and manipulative: the cold-blooded murder of several admirable black Americans, such as 77-year-old retired police captain David Dorn, who was tragically shot to death for protecting a pawn shop from looters, apparently do not matter (whose “protesting” for them?); nor do the many lives of American blacks whose businesses have been ransacked and destroyed.
Nor, for that matter, does the fact that several thousand black lives are snuffed out by other blacks every year matter to the media (American blacks have killed 324,000 other blacks between just 1979 and 2014). As for the fact that, although amounting to about 15 percent of the U.S. population, blacks commit half of all murders—which at the very least means they end up in violent confrontations with police—what difference does that make?
Only those very, very few black lives that can possibly be made to conform to the grievance narrative will ever matter for the media.
The irony of all this is that only a naturally fair-minded people would ever care let alone allow the accusation that they are not being fair enough to their minorities terrorize them. Try telling any non-Western nation (we’ve already seen how it goes under Islam) that they are mistreating their minorities—or better yet, that they need to get on their knees and apologize for their race—and see where that gets you.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum; and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.