Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Racism by Designation: Making Sense of Western States’ Nondesignation of White Supremacists as Terrorists

Búzás, Zoltán I.; Meier, Anna A.


Zoltán I. Búzás

Profile Image

Assistant Professor


How can we make sense of Western states’ nondesignation of white supremacists as terrorists compared to other actors engaged in similar political violence? This article offers three arguments and supports them with rich case studies of designation in the United States and the United Kingdom. First, the racially disparate impact of designations can be understood as a form of institutional racism. Second, within the Western racial order, Arabs/Muslims are stereotypically seen as terrorists, whereas whites benefit from the presumption of not being terrorists. The result is a racial double standard at the core of the norm against terrorism, such that white supremacists are disproportionately less likely to be designated as terrorists than other groups. Third, we caution against viewing the few recent white supremacist designations as transformative and overestimating their ability to deracialize counterterrorism.


Búzás, Z. I., & Meier, A. A. (2023). Racism by Designation: Making Sense of Western States’ Nondesignation of White Supremacists as Terrorists. Security Studies,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 10, 2023
Publication Date Jul 10, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2025
Journal Security Studies
Print ISSN 0963-6412
Electronic ISSN 1556-1852
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Political Science and International Relations; Sociology and Political Science
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Published: 2023-07-10


This file is under embargo until Jan 11, 2025 due to copyright restrictions.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations