Dear President Biden (and the media)

Mirah Riben, author and activist
3 min readMay 16, 2022

Journalists, and President Joe Biden himself, are empowering racially motivated domestic terrorism by repeating their language, which is rooted in the Nazi theories of a racial hierarchy and the elimination of those not of “pure blood.”

Headlines that shout: “Buffalo shooting victims were killed by white supremacy” glamorize and fuel racists, albeit unintentionally.

Speaking to mourners Buffalo following the well-planned siege on Black citizens, President Biden said “white supremacists” or “supremacy” at least five times.

We need to stop using the term “supremacy” to describe race-based hatred and violence. We need to stop glorifying acts of racial slaughter or the people who commit them by using their self-aggrandizing terminology. Every time a news report or social media post repeats the lie of “white supremacy” we are validating a false belief system — that one race is somehow “superior” when we are in fact all members of the human race and the blood that runs through us all is red.

We need to become more intentional in our language and nomenclature. Words have power. The word supremacist comes from the word supremacy, “the condition of being superior to all others,” and ultimately from the Latin word supremus, “highest.” Why confirm that distorted mindset by using that word?

We need to instead call it as we see it and call them just what they are: HATE MONGERS! Monstrous, murderous, bigoted hate mongers. Racists. Terrorists. Ignorant, fear-driven, prejudiced hate mongering killers.

We need to stop tip-toeing around, being polite or afraid to offending such acts of depravity.

Change the headlines to: “Racist Hate Monger Massacres Innocent Grocery Shoppers” (or church members, or school students.)

Linguist George Lakoff’s book “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” provides the tools with which to reframe sociopolitical issues. His mantra is simple: Do not use your opponent’s language. Messaging, Lakeoff teaches, is all about the words we chose to frame the way each side wants the issue seen. Repeating racial slurs like “illegal immigrants,” or worse, perpetuates that mind set. We need to use more humane terminology and reframe the dialog and concepts. We need to change the debate to the larger underlying cause of the problem — that all racism and hate is fear-based perpetrated by people who afraid that if they treat others fairly — or even humanely — there will be less for themselves. Focus on the poverty and lack of affordable housing that is at the root of the problem.

Re-focus the narrative on the false we/they dichotomies created to incite and divide us by fighting amongst ourselves and by doing so distract us from uniting around our mutual enemies: the greed of the top 1% and corporate welfare. It is when we feel powerless to fight the real adversaries that we turn in utter frustration against the likeliest scape-goat like wild animals fighting over a scrap to eat. Like INCELS (involuntary celibates who believe women owe them sex) who blame women because they can’t get a date. We turn on one another, blaming under-dogs to make oneself feel falsely “superior” — like an alpha dog — for the moment, because we feel so helpless, hopeless, angry and defeated. But it accomplishes nothing but the horrific loss of innocent, blameless lives who are not in any way responsible for our problems. Real men do not need guns to prove their power or strength. Only weaklings do.

Let’s expose so-called “supremacists” and for what they really are: Cowards. They are in no way super or supreme or better than anyone. They are “superior” to no one but rather inferior losers looking to blame others for their own sad, pathetic, rotten lot in life. Hateful, hate-filled losers. They frightened and scared of being “replaced” (a paranoid term being perpetuated by the likes of FOX’s Tucker Carlson.)

Please President Biden, et al., stop reinforcing a sick, distorted mindset that promotes violence.