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Joy Reid's GuestsTo FBI: Take White Supremacists More Seriously

AM Joy calls BS on the FBI’s claim it ignores ideologies in fighting violent extremism. In the case of white supremacy, that's not helpful.

AM Joy hosted reformed white nationalist Christian Picciolini and One People’s Project’s Daryle Lamont Jenkins for a discussion on how the FBI is combatting (or not) white supremacy.

Before getting to the FBI, Reid asked Picciolini how he would have reacted, back in his white nationalist days, if the president had repeatedly called a certain group of people an “invasion” and “a stain” on the United States.

Picciolini’s answer was chilling. He said he’d have been jumping on the table with delight because “What's coming out of the mouths of our administration now is very similar, if not identical, to the things that we said.” He added, “I actually have lyrics that I wrote that had the words ‘invasion’ and ‘animal.’"

Reid moved on to ask Jenkins about FBI Director Christopher Wray’s claim not to investigate ideology “no matter how repugnant” or extremist, unless “it turns to violence.”

That’s when Jenkins called BS. “They do investigate ideologies,” he said, “and they raise a red flag every time they see certain things being bought into by various groups.”

JENKINS: That's one of the frustrating things about the time when they de-escalated that DHS report about ten years ago, because I remember that. And I also remember that right after they walked that report back, we had seven people dead in four separate incidents in three months. There was the Tiller shooting, there was the Holocaust Museum shooting, you had a home invasion by a former Aryan Nation/Minute Man members that killed people and you had a white supremacist in Pittsburgh that killed three or four cops at that time. So you do have to pay closer attention to the ideologies because they are making it clear that their ideology is to kill people, is to hurt people. You cannot ignore that. That is your job, not to ignore it.

But lo and behold, Reid said the federal agencies are also focusing on “black identity extremists.” “You come across a lot of those?” she asked Jenkins.

No, he doesn’t. The only extremists of color Jenkins said he sees are “hanging out with the Proud Boys” or infiltrating his own group.

In other words, when the FBI spends resources on (virtually non-existent) black supremacists, the result is that the danger of white supremacy gets short shrift.

I have to say that the idea of the FBI investigating groups based on ideology makes me very queasy, especially with Bill Barr at the helm of the Justice Department. But clearly, in the wake of El Paso, Poway, Tree of Life, Charlottesville, Charleston and on and on and on, it’s not enough — or even intellectually honest — to just say there are extremists on both sides.

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