White Privilege Rides Again
Two main ideas stand out in the aftermath of the White anxiety–fueled attempted coup of the U.S. government on January 6, 2021. One is that, as Joy Ann Reid stated, “White Americans are not afraid of the cops.” That much is clear, as it is also clear via video (and subsequent interviews with at least one leader of a big city police union) that some police were on the side of the terrorists. The second point is that — like all White violence — this is not an isolated incident, the issue isn’t over, and it will most likely happen again.
Fear is a fascinating motivator, and the folks who ransacked the Capitol are full of it. Their racial anxiety and rage has collectively led to this moment, this year, this decade, and the whole of the history of the United States. That said, though many of Trump’s supporters are clearly afraid of Black and Brown people, enfranchisement, and land ownership, as well as Black cultural, scientific, and political achievements and contributions, they certainly aren’t afraid of punishment. If they were, they would not have worn their work badges to the riot or posted video of the things they stole.
They literally did not expect to get in trouble, they didn’t care, and they knew they already had the support of law enforcement.
Or maybe the appearance of being half-baked, slightly stupid, yet cocksure is part of the plan. It would be foolish for folks to dismiss the attempt here and think it’s done. After all, the racism that preceded and fomented this moment is glaring and not going anywhere soon. In fact, it was quite illustrative of the “system” in systemic racism, even down to the White folks who are doing mental gymnastics to avoid stating the obvious about the difference between how Black Lives Matter crowds are treated as opposed to armed White men.
Trumpism’s real organizing principles — racism, codification of White privilege, and defense of the former through White mob violence — were still standing after the National Guard finally showed up. Today’s riot validated what history has always shown and what Trump has known he could exploit since he was a candidate: that racialized violence, even to the point of treason, is tolerable if the perpetrators are White and their political aim is disenfranchising or oppressing Black people.
White Privilege Stormed the Castle, Er, Capitol
If the flimsy myths propping up Trumpism were pillars, the one that fell the hardest in yesterday’s riot at the U.S…
As Nikole Hannah-Jones tweeted and wrote: We — Black and Brown people — always knew it would come to this. The fact that many others still don’t recognize and refuse to work to correct the serious nature of the problem of racism says more about this nation than that coup ever could.