These seditionists were made up of military veterans, police officers, state elected officials, businessmen, lawyers, members of known white supremacy groups and ordinary moms and dads. At the end of the assault, four people were dead.
Instead of masses being arrested, these terrorists were allowed to leave the premises and return to their homes. They came from all over the country, as far away as Hawaii. At first look, it appeared there would be no consequences. Unlike BLM protests, this mob was met with a soft show of force and even less restraint after desecrating the Capitol.
The FBI has classified this as an act of terrorism and dozens have now been arrested and fired by their employers. The question remains as to why the Capitol Police were not prepared. President Trump had been signaling for weeks that Jan. 6 was going to be a wild day. He encouraged his followers to come to D.C. and stop Congress from certifying the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
People, including President-elect Joe Biden said, “This Is Not Who We Are.” Black America has not made this statement. Even though we agree that what occurred on Jan. 6 was horrific, we were not surprised that this could and did happen.
Black America remembers the horror of the KKK that terrorized us with lynchings, bombings of our homes, burning crosses in our yards and forcing millions to flee the South from their terror.
Black America remembers the massacre of East St. Louis when a white mob angry over African Americans being hired at East St. Louis plants beat, shot, lynched and forced African Americans into burning buildings. In the end, the mob murdered over 300 Black citizens and left another 6,000 homeless.
Black America remembers “Red Summer” when white mobs destroyed the all-Black town of Rosewood, Fla., and in Tulsa, Okla., destroyed 35 square-blocks of Greenwood, a Black neighborhood that was so wealthy, it was known as “Black Wall Street.”
Black men and women in America are routinely killed by the state for far less offenses than what this mob of 8,000 did on Jan. 6. Just gathering in one place, for Black citizens, is considered a threat.
In the aftermath of this insurrection, House Majority Whip James Clyburn observed that the way the mob was able to get inside the Capitol suggests that someone on the inside was complicit. Whip Clyburn believes they also knew where they were going. His inner office was targeted by the mob, while the office with his name on it was not touched. We now know that at least 15 Capitol Police are under investigation.
Professor Carol Anderson of Emory University said in response to the attack on the Capitol, “what we are seeing is vintage white rage.”
Human rights activist Bree Newsome Bass said that Jan. 6 is “entirely about the perceived loss of the power of whiteness. White people feel like they are losing something if their whiteness no longer carries privilege and power. If there’s racial equality, they feel like they have been denied what this country was supposed to be. Trump was able to inspire this cult-like loyalty because he embodied their grievances.”
What we witnessed on Jan. 6 is “Who This Country Is.” The very fabric of America is built on the blood and pain of non-white people who have always been seen as a threat to the doctrine of white power.
On Jan. 6 we saw white people turn on their own.