Another American Temper Tantrum

From my knowledge, it has always been that the certification of the electoral college is not an act that typically garners such vast media coverage and attention from the general public. For many, January 6th, 2021 should have been a normal Wednesday. As a political science student, I learn about coups in various political science courses, but this is always taught with an eye looking abroad and ignorantly thinking that it could never potentially happen in your own backyard. 

To be alive to witness the president of your own country once again incite violence, only this time directed at his own colleagues is something I have not fully processed yet. What I have come to terms with are the facts. On January 6, 2021, white supremacists, white nationalists, domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol building in response to the falsehood that the November Presidential Election was “stolen.” Despite there being no evidence to support such claims and countless state officials continuously affirming that Joe Biden is President-elect, masses from the 73,432,865 Trump voters refuse to believe this truth. 

However, at the core of this issue, these domestic terrorists only believe this election to be illegitimate is because they refuse to acknowledge that Black people, as well as other nonwhite and disenfranchised communities, votes should count. White supremacists don’t want to believe that the barriers of voting suppression, for once could have been overcome. It is insulting to them that the systematic oppression that fuels the country’s gears was not powerful enough to stop BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities from fighting back against their weapons. It infuriates them to see the work led by Black women, organizations, and historically Black cities come to fruition. It enrages them to see us win for once. 

Therefore the only response that white supremacists know best is rage. I’m not surprised that the Capitol Police didn’t stop them. I’m not surprised that the response from the National Guard was not with flashbangs, teargas, and rubber bullets like they did this summer to the Black Lives Matter Protests. Black people know they have and will be killed for far less than a terrorist attack and the protests this summer gathered that much. 

But as easy and as relevant as the comparison to make may be, I had to stop myself. Ultimately, such comparisons do nothing to get at the core problem. Black liberation movements are imperative, that is a fact. They are our cry for equality, our release of justified anger. They are our continual mark that reminds the country that forced us here, we will not submit to their beliefs of inferiority. White rage is not comparable to Black movements, because it only allows white people to further ignore the issues they created. White rage can only be compared to the responses white people have made to Black movements. The distinction is important because such comparisons further perpetuate the myths that “this is not who America is” and “America is better than this” when moments of white rage provide the perfect clarity of what America is made of. 

White rage is the year 1619 when the White Lion arrived after capturing the first group of enslaved Africans, bringing them to Virginia. White rage is to lynch Black men to keep them away from the ballot box, then to continue the tantrum in the 1960s with Jim Crow literacy tests. White rage is to enact the Tulsa Massacre of 1920, where white mobs burned the thriving Black Wall Street to the ground. White rage is to erect confederate soldier statues in the 1950s, 85 years after the confederate loss to intimidate the Civil Rights Movement. White rage is the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing, murdering four Black girls, and then in 2020 to vandalize Asbury United Methodist Church. White rage is the 2017 Charlottesville attack, again continued in 2020 when white supremacist stormed the Michigan Capitol building. White rage has always been ready to “stand back and stand by'' for calling. January 6th, 2021 was another instance of white rage amongst the endless list of instances that have accumulated over the past 400 years. 

White rage will happen again after Trump is no longer the president. As a former reality tv star, he has created an instance of white rage that has been captured in HD with pristine clarity. As philosopher Charles Mills says, “Whiteness is not really a color at all, but a set of power relations.” Black and Indigenous communities are experts at knowing how white supremacy works and manifests. It’s beyond past due time that white people start identifying and deconstructing their rage. The consequences for not doing so simply means America will continue to be stuck on this endless rerun of white rage.