On January 6th, 2021, Americans had a front-row seat to how truly horrible white privilege can get. On this day, Trump supporters raided the Capitol building. They forced their way through police lines and went into lawmakers’ office in a petty attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power after Trump lost the election. The news documented Trump supporters breaking glass windows and storming into the Capitol building to wave their Trump/Confederate flags as if they owned the place.
Interestingly enough, many Americans watching this event unfold in front of their eyes observed two things: the lack of reinforcement from the police and how the riot consisted of white people.
Compared to the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred in June 2020, in which people protested for the well-deserved rights of Black people shortly after the unjust death of George Floyd, police retaliated with weapons such as tear gas and rubber bullets. But when it came to dealing with the white Trump supporters, the police response was casual. In fact, a video surfaced around Twitter in which a Trump supporter took a selfie with a cop while he was unlawfully entering the Capitol building. [bf_image id="qfzbty-8jtwaw-7xff4z"] Little reports of tear gas and rubber bullets were used. In fact, they were only used once the mob had infiltrated the Capitol building. By this time, rioters were busy banging on the doors of US House chambers and vandalizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
Compared to the Black Lives Matter protests, in which thousands of national guard troops and US police protected the Capitol, the Capitol raids weren’t even close to the large “precautions” that were taken last June. Despite the BLM demonstrator crowd peacefully staying one block away from the Capitol building, the forces orchestrated by the police and army made it seem like the BLM protestors were incredibly dangerous. But the protestors didn’t resist the police. They protested peacefully to make their voice known and heard.
[bf_image id="qfuk9i-bjchco-26mf6r"] Meanwhile, the force taken to hold back the Capitol raiders was little to nothing. What was the difference between the Capitol raids and the BLM protests? Those that raided the Capitol were white Trump supporters. Many of them were also openly white supremacists. Those that were a part of the BLM movement were prominently Black.
It’s not rocket science to understand that what took place on January 6th is a horrifying example of how America is far from equal. Although we have come so far, from the Emancipation Proclamation to the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr, people still continue to be grossly misrepresented purely on the color of their skin. Racism has ruled over our nation for centuries, and we are still far from understanding the truth that everyone is created equal.
On January 6th, 2021, white Trump supporters were allowed to freely roam in the Capitol. Some of them carried guns. Some of them even possessed explosive devices. They raided the Capitol in a pathetic attempt to change the results of a finalized election.
[bf_image id="qcr1to-7kmeo8-b4o9zh"] On June 6th, 2020, thousands of people, mostly Black, peacefully protested for their rights. They protested for our law force to change for the better after the cruel murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. Police met protestors with tear gas, violence, and arrests.
In the words of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, “We have witnessed two systems of justice: one that let extremists storm the U.S. Capitol yesterday, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protestors last summer.” White privilege is terrifyingly real. And as a person of color, it pains me to see our country move backward.