Americans have forever existed along a haunting divide—one that continues to pay dividends to its beneficiaries and dole out inequities amongst all others. Although we are only a few days into the new year, this legacy still holds true.
On January 2, nearly 150 heavily armed men took siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Center in Oregon. The group’s leadership is a father and son duo, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who have promised violence against law enforcement if necessary.
I talked to Ryan Bundy on the phone again. He said they’re willing to kill and be killed if necessary. #OregonUnderAttack
— Ian Kullgren (@IanKullgren) January 3, 2016
Days have passed since this group trespassed on government property, forced their occupation therein, and made terror threats against law enforcement. Their actions have even impeded the public, as Superintendent Marilyn L. McBride made the call to close all schools in Harney County District 3 in order to ensure the public’s safety and quell fears.
However, there has been little in the way of an official response from federal, state and local officials.
The National Guard has not been called in on roving tanks as they were in Ferguson, Missouri. Tear gas and pepper spray have not been dispersed as they were in Baltimore. There are no paddy wagons to round up this gang of domestic terrorists; mandatory curfews have not been put in place either. In fact, a date of forced surrender hasn’t even entered the equation here.
Rather, the Bundy gang has received Grade A treatment—even in the midst of their insurrection and attempts to incite sedition amongst militia groups in neighboring states. This biased treatment has not gone unnoticed, as countless individuals have taken to social media to express their discontent.
The hypocrisy, however, doesn’t end with law enforcement. The media, too, is complicit. It has refrained from any mention of terrorism, thuggery or gangs while referencing this group. More flowery euphemisms such as armed militia, NRA enthusiasts, Patriots, and even peaceful protestors have unfairly assumed national headlines. So, while we remain uncertain of when, exactly, this armed occupation will come to an end—one thing is certainly clear—the Bundy’s and their riflemen have passed America’s visible litmus test, and it has afforded them half-hearted criticisms and nothing more than a mere once over by police. And that, my friends, is the very definition of white privilege personified in America.