Whiteness Stole From Us Again

Yesterday’s terror at the U.S. Capitol was yet another example of whiteness’ thievery

Insurrectionists inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday, many of us watched whiteness at work. I was in my living room, glued to CNN, unable to peel myself away from witnessing armed white terrorists invade the U.S. Capitol with caucacity and Confederate flags. On the same day members of Congress counted electoral votes to confirm Joe Biden as our next president, they had to seek safety from the riotous mob. A coup attempt unfolded. The imminent next step of “stand back and stand by.”

Despite having a full slate of work, I couldn’t look away. After 1:30 p.m. Eastern, my day was toast. I lost my focus to the pro-Trump extremists on my screen. I swapped texts with friends, remembering a time when politicians had the nerve to urge us to reach across the aisle to heal as a nation. I took a short walk in my Harlem neighborhood, headphones in tow, in an attempt to distance myself from the news — only to turn to NPR and listen for updates. I scrolled through Twitter and Instagram, sinking further into an abyss of video footage, memes, and commentary about the mayhem. A noose was erected outside of the building. One person was shot and killed by police. Only 52 arrests were made so far. A stark contrast to how peaceful protestors at Black Lives Matter marches have been treated over the years.

So much time was taken from me yesterday. Time I can’t get back.

That’s how whiteness works. It steals. It disrupts.

Emboldened by a fascist president, droves of unmasked white terrorists stormed the Capitol—during a global health crisis—believing an election was stolen from them. Yet, whiteness is the real thief. Whiteness snatches Black lives, with bullets and knees; pilfers possibilities with voter disenfranchisement; robs us of the chance to close widening racial gaps in health care, education, and wealth. It interrupts our train of thought, turns our day upside down, and impedes the good energy we’re trying to usher into this new year.

Yesterday was yet another example of whiteness’ thievery. Instead of celebrating the Georgia Senate wins of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff — victories fueled by the leadership of Black women — our day was discombobulated by legitimate fear. Disrupted by frustration.

Whiteness stole my yesterday. I’m determined to not let it steal my today.

Wishing you a beautiful day to protect as your own, as best as you can.

Rule breaker, champion of women and education, and recovering sports journalist.

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