Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) Discusses Racism And Hate Crimes


Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath spoke with Alternative Press recently about racism, hate crimes, and many other important issues in their latest interview. Please check out an excerpt from the article below and be sure to comment with your thoughts on what McIlrath had to say.

Buzzfeed followed that up with a list of 25 girls claiming on Twitter how they wouldn’t mind it Chris Brown punched them in the face. Are we getting desensitized to things as a nation? Or has social media given us a pulpit to say whatever irresponsible thing comes to our minds?
A lot of it is not only the availability of a pulpit, but also the exposure to somebody else’s pulpit, which is, like, the dude down the street. All of a sudden you start getting encouraged by people’s bold attention at saying something like that. And then it’s like, “Well, he said it, so I can say it.” One asshole can be the first domino. They’re saying it because they are racist; they’re doing it for pure shock value; or it’s a way to dismiss someone like Martin Luther King, who is a hero of civil disobedience and a way to prevent any sort of conversation or dialog about that. Even in a culture today where, if Martin Luther King was alive today, there are people who would brand him a terrorist.

There are devices in place today with everything from the Department of Homeland Security to the government itself that would brand what he was doing as terrorism. Who knows if he could continue with his mission that has been so important to America? It’s the new way the establishment is doing away with activism—rebrand it as terrorism or something criminal. If they can do that, then they’ve won. It’s what they’re doing to animal-rights activists, branding them as “eco-terrorists.” If you follow the money, you can see why it’s a partially successful campaign. You have gigantic agricultural industries like the cattle industry, that see an animal-rights organization elevating the consciousness of the people they are talking to as a direct threat to what they are doing. So they pay lots of money to some think tank and ask, “How can we stop this?” “We can dismiss their activism as criminal.” The second you throw the word “terrorism” into a bill, no politician wants to look soft on terrorism. Some states have passed them, some haven’t. These same laws would’ve branded someone like Martin Luther King a terrorist.

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