To the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

The changes you have made to the way you categorize domestic-terrorist investigations conceal what resources you are putting toward the rising threat of white-supremacist violence.

The shift to using the blanket category “Racially Motivated Violent Extremism” combines and conflates incidents involving white supremacists and the made-up designation “Black Identity Extremists.” The latter term was created to undermine legitimate Black activist and protest movements, such as the Movement for Black Lives.

You are downplaying the most violent domestic terror threat in the United States — white supremacy — and obscuring the fact that you are targeting Black activists who protest police violence and labeling them as domestic terrorists.

The FBI must end the secrecy surrounding the categorization of white-supremacist threats, stop grouping white-supremacist incidents with Black protests against police violence, and be transparent about the funding the Bureau uses to investigate domestic-terrorist groups.

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    Tell the FBI to stop classifying white-supremacist incidents with Black protests against police violence.

    Demand the FBI Stop Hiding the Threat of White Supremacy

    White-supremacist violence is on the rise in the United States and has taken the lives of many. Yet the FBI is hiding the fact that it isn’t applying sufficient resources into targeting this rising threat since it’s now lumping different forms of domestic terrorism into one blanket category: “Racially Motivated Violent Extremism.”1

    This umbrella category will make it impossible to tell how many incidents of white-supremacist violence the FBI is investigating and will help the agency deflect criticisms of its insufficient efforts to contain this threat. Worse still, this reclassification could allow the FBI to hide investigations into “Black Identity Extremism,” a category it made up to target Black activists organizing against police violence.2

    For the past decade, the FBI has used 11 categories for labeling domestic terrorism, including a separate category for white supremacy. While this system was flawed, the FBI’s pivot to using the new “Racially Motivated” category means that we can no longer tell what resources are specifically dedicated to the rise of white-supremacist violence and terrorism. More than that, the FBI is falsely incriminating Black activists and organizations protesting police brutality.

    The FBI and other government agencies have regularly denied that white supremacy is the face of U.S. domestic terrorism. From the Charleston, South Carolina church massacre to the killing of a protester in Charlottesville, Virginia to the murders at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California, far-right extremists have been responsible for — or suspected of — most of the ideological killings in America in the last 10 years.3

    According to a May 2017 intelligence bulletin from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, white-supremacist extremism poses a persistent threat of lethal violence, and white supremacists were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 — more than any other domestic extremist movement.4 By removing white supremacy as a unique category, the FBI can hide whether it’s putting the appropriate resources toward these real threats — and it can also hide how much it’s dedicating to its racist investigation of so-called “Black Identity Extremists”.

    This is unacceptable. We must take a stand to dismantle the secrecy surrounding white racist violence. Demand the FBI stop hiding the threat of white supremacy.


    1. “Democrats Accuse Trump Administration of Trying to ‘Obfuscate the White Supremacist Threat’ With New Categories for Domestic Terrorism,” The Washington Post, May 2, 2019: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-accuse-trump-administration-of-trying-to-obfuscate-the-white-supremacist-threat-with-new-categories-for-domestic-terrorism/2019/05/02/831cf86e-6d23-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html.

    2. “Fear of a Black Homeland: The Strange Tale of the FBI’s Fictional ‘Black Identity Extremism’ Movement,” The Intercept, March 23, 2019: https://theintercept.com/2019/03/23/black-identity-extremist-fbi-domestic-terrorism/

    3. “Tackle White Supremacy as Terrorism, Experts Say,” CNN, May 15, 2019: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/us/white-supremacy-terrorism-soh/index.html.

    4. “Durbin, Schneider Introduce Legislation to Combat White Supremacist Terrorist Threat,” Sen. Dick Durbin’s Office, March 27, 2019: https://www.durbin.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/durbin-schneider-introduce-legislation-to-combat-white-supremacist-terrorist-threat