The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has uncharacteristically shifted its focus away from terrorism overseas and toward right-wing terrorism here at home. Yet remarkably, the recently released report points to the failing economy rather than racism as the culprit.
The new report, called Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, points to the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans as key factors in the predicted rise in white power groups.
Unfortunately, the major thrust of the report is on the current economic decline as a driving factor in the rise of racist groups. Not surprisingly, there is virtually no discussion of the pervasiveness of racism as a root cause for this phenomenon. About the closest the report gets is in the discussion of immigration:
“Over the past five years, various rightwing extremists, including militias and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruiting tool.”
According to one news report, this new emphasis on domestic terrorism could signify a shift for Homeland Security under former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. A German magazine quoted Ms. Napolitano as rebranding “terrorism” as “man-made disasters.” Since it was founded (in 2003), the department has focused primarily on radicalization of Muslims and the prospect of homegrown Islamist terrorism.