Matters of Classification

Picture 4The online debates have already begun, on the heels of yesterday’s deadly shooting at a Jewish community center, and then a nearby retirement community, in a suburb of Kansas City.

On the Southern Poverty Law Center’s site, where the suspect’s well-known far right background is reported, you can also find the above discussion among the reader comments, as part of a larger series of comments, concerning how we will now come to understand, and thus respond to, the event.

That the taxon “terrorist” is used only on certain occasions, comes with a particular valence, and — at least at present — with considerable government resources to combat it, makes such discussions worth watching. It also makes Steven Ramey’s thoughts (posted earlier today) on how stereotypes and caricatures cut in more than one way, all the more timely and in need of consideration.

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