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‘Confronting ‘Who We Are”
Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson, associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote an op-ed for History News Network titled “Confronting ‘Who We Are.’” Erlenbusch-Anderson specializes in political philosophy and often teaches courses on the philosophy of law.
After the recent attacks on the Capitol in Washington, D.C., many citizens insisted that the events did not represent who Americans are and were merely carried out by a few extremists. However, Erlenbusch-Anderson argues that by looking at history and philosophy one can see that these events are rooted in American tradition.
Erlenbusch-Anderson uses the work of anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells as her main historical reference, as Wells believed that terrorism expressed the “unwritten law” of white supremacy in America. Erlenbusch-Anderson explains that Wells believed terrorism was not a term for the acts of extremist individuals, as many people use the term today, but rather it was a means of “political domination and racial control.”
While the term terrorism is contested in terms of its meaning, Erlenbusch-Anderson writes that it clear that terrorism has been used throughout history to maintain and support white supremacy in U.S. politics. Erlenbusch-Anderson argues that the only way to recover and redeem the nation is to “recognize that this, too, is who we are.” If society is unable to confront this reality, Americans will continue to face violence and threats to the law, Erlenbusch-Anderson writes.
To read the commentary in its entirety, visit the History News Network.
Syracuse University media relations team members work regularly with the campus community to secure placements of op-eds. Anyone interested in writing an op-ed should first review the University’s op-ed guidelines and email firstname.lastname@example.org.