Extremism on race and religion is the enemy: Column


No community wants to see a judicial system delivering repeated acquittals despite videotaped evidence showing excessive, even criminal, use of force by police. No police officer wants to see honorable colleagues reviled and attacked, condemned for the reprehensible actions of those who commit ruthless acts under the badge of authority and should never have been sworn in.
And no father wants to have the conversation with his children about how to conduct themselves when they are stopped by police. It’s a talk my father had with me and one I’ve had with my children.
There is no question there are legitimate, long-standing and currently growing tensions between law enforcement and African-American communities. As an African American and a former law enforcement officer, I am deeply invested in trying to bridge and heal these divides. But we also need a more purposeful, honest and possibly disturbing national discussion about violence that is motivated by racial beliefs.
This is by definition violent extremism. Micah Xavier Johnson, the shooter who killed five police officers in Dallas, was a racist who used violence to advance an agenda; he was a violent extremist. Dylann Roof was also a racist and a violent extremist — a white supremacist who killed nine people praying in a black church because “someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
All of this is underpinned by a loud, divisive voice giving rhetorical top-cover to extremists of all stripes.
We owe Donald Trump for the racially charged political talking points in the current presidential election cycle. They are fueling a notion of “otherism”— the idea that the threat to our country is not American. Instead, it is born of another religion, another race, and if we could but remove people of those races and religions, we could exist in an idealized America of 50 years ago. On Saturday, Trump characterized the Dallas shootingas “an attack on our country,” adding that race relations in America are worsening.
That is code for racist ideas. It suggests an attack on “our” country (with the first-person plural dangerously unqualified) while pairing it with the notion of heightened racial tensions. This kind of language has lately been characterized as a rejection of “political correctness,” but it is actually outright racism. From challenging the national origin and religious affiliation of elected officials to counting all Muslims as inherently terroristic, Trump is complicit in the rising animosity within the country and the deepening divides between communities. He is regularly championed by white supremacists and other controversial people and groups, and consistently, he allows these associations to go unchecked.
To the presumptive GOP nominee: You don’t get to play footsie with extremists and then pretend like your hands are clean.
The time has come to embrace the reality that our greatest threat to public safety and our security is homegrown. Turning back the clock 50 years, upending the enormous progress we have made in civil rights and criminal justice, is not in our national interest. Not for law enforcement and most definitely not for African Americans.
POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media 
Law enforcement is not the enemy. African Americans and others who exercise their First Amendment rights and protest evident abuse of power are not the enemy. There are no enemies within the American family except those who would do us physical harm or sow discord among us. The first category includes the attackers in Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston and, now, Dallas.Continuing on his current course, the second category includes Trump.
We are at a time of great conflict. Acts of violence in a house of worship, against police officers or in a nightclub serve only to harden the divide between our communities at a time when we need the opposite. For those who ask why isn’t someone doing something, it’s time to ask yourself the same question.
After each instance of mass violence, all we do is talk about having a conversation, without having the conversation itself. We have yet to engage in a genuine national discussion about the violent ideologies rooted in extreme views of race and religion. These conversations are decades overdue, and because of that, more cities will be added to the list of victim communities.The time for avoidance and empty talk has passed.
Dr. Erroll Southers, a former FBI special agent and former assistant chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence for the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department​, is director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. Follow him on Twitter: @esouthersHVE
In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns, go to the Opinion front page, follow us on Twitter @USATOpinion and sign up for our daily Opinion newsletter.

Source http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/07/11/dallas-shooting-black-lives-matter-race-religion-extremism-trump-column/86917926/

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