D.C. Insurrection Highlights White Supremacy

Seditious rioters waltzing into the United States Capitol, comfortably recording their invasion while taking selfies with cops. Scaling the walls, pushing through the doors, scattering the police, and breaching the House speaker’s office while relaxing in her chair as if they owned the place. It’s undeniable now, unarguable. What happened this month was simple: unchecked White supremacy. Over the course of his presidential term, Donald Trump has ingrained in White communities that America had been unjustly stolen from their hands and has beckoned them to Washington to take it back. He was their Inciter-in-Chief, he gave them their commands, and all they had to do was follow. They saw insurrection as not only their duty but also as their right.

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It is not a coincidence that most of the individuals who stormed the nation’s capital were white, nor is it by chance that they align with the Trump Republican Party and our former president. Additionally, it was not an accident that symbols of white racism, including the Confederate flag, were presented and proudly displayed. Among the rioters were members of Groyper Army (a loose network of white nationalists), the white supremacist New Jersey European Heritage Association, and the far-right extremist Proud Boys, along with other identified white supremacists. The proliferation of white supremacist symbolism has a long history, with two clear peaks in the civil rights efforts following Reconstruction and during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. While not all the far-right, anti-government groups were explicitly white supremacist, many endorsed white supremacist beliefs.

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In contrast to the Black Lives Matter protests of last year in which many Americans were harassed, arrested, or brutalized, the treatment of the pro-Trump fanatics came as “not only scary but also humiliating” said junior Ariana Shaw. Additionally, Ms. Richard, a teacher here at Apopka found that her “immediate reaction was one of shock and dismay. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” The idea that people of color, specifically Black people, who champion for their rights are one step away from becoming violent while white people with objections are justifiably upset or simply fighting to defend their rights is no stranger to commonplace America. “In the case of BLM, however, the purpose of this was a message. Equality. Black oppression needs to stop. Not blatant hatred,” continued Shaw.

Although some have expressed parallels between the two events, there is an important distinction to be made: Violence aimed at spreading democracy, ending injustice, and encouraging fairness in the light of law has nothing in common with the abominable, anti-democratic riots of January 6th.

Photo Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The horrific recurrence of our racist history is illuminated by what we witnessed in Washington, D.C. It is is the potent by-product of a belief system that argues white Americans and leaders who reflect whiteness should have an unchecked grip on the reins of power in this nation. “Most civil protest were fought to right an injustice but what we witnessed a few weeks ago was about the inability of a person to accept defeat,” Ms. Richard highlights.  Unfortunately, this is what we can expect from those whose white identity is intimidated by an increasingly diverse country.

In the coming days, certain realities will become clear. For now, it appears that in America, white supremacy is preserved and valued, even though the rule of law is entirely violated. The authorities’ reluctance and refusal to deter those who incited Capitol Hill security teaches Black and Brown citizens not to forget their clear-cut position in this country.