Chaos at the Capitol: If they had been Black

It was like Charlottesville, Virginia, all over again for me on Jan. 6, the day an angry mob of pro-Trump supporters descended on the nation’s capital to protest select Electoral College votes that would help confirm Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president of the United States.

Jan 12, 2021

By Carole Norris Greene
It was like Charlottesville, Virginia, all over again for me on Jan. 6, the day an angry mob of pro-Trump supporters descended on the nation’s capital to protest select Electoral College votes that would help confirm Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president of the United States.

My husband and I and a friend were wrapping up a two-day vacation in Charlottesville three years ago when white nationalists and counterprotesters clashed, leaving one woman dead. We drove out of town that morning, clueless of the violence we had narrowly escaped.

Now once again my husband and I and a different friend weren’t far from the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

A dental appointment drew me and Andre to Hyattsville, at the Maryland-D.C. border. Right after, we visited our friend in northeast D.C. to give her a Christmas gift. She ordered a takeout lunch for us and had her television on to watch the Electoral College vote count.

With horror we witnessed violence escalating. My sister Joanne called my cell urging, “Get out of there!”

But we were glued to the TV. “If the majority of protesters had been Black, they would have been rounded up, arrested or shot by now!” we lamented. Very few people were arrested or even detained as events unfolded, although some arrests came later.

Indeed, one woman was fatally shot by U.S. Capitol Police. Three other people also lost their lives in the bedlam.

We were outraged that the U.S. military was not rushing to help quell the desecration of the Capitol! Then we considered who the commander in chief is.

We weren’t the only ones to jump to this conclusion about the fate that would have awaited people of color. Some observers voiced the same concern.

Had the majority of pro-Trump supporters been Black, I am convinced that they wouldn’t have dared scale the Capitol walls, bust windows to gain illegal entry or found the chutzpah to enter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, propping their feet up on her desk. They would not have been buoyed up by sentiments of white privilege that render them unaccustomed to not getting their way.

But those Trump loyalists’ insurrection was excused as protest. Sympathy was given to them for believing the president’s lies. Some dragged Jesus into the fray, waving a U.S. flag bordered with “Jesus is my savior” at the top and “Trump is my president” at the bottom.

While their numbers were substantial, as were the numbers of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, they still were not the majority in a nation ruled by the will of the majority who follow the law and exercise their right to vote!

For the vast majority, defiance of the 6 p.m. curfew was tolerated. Some police removed barricades and one video showed a police officer taking a selfie with protesters!

America created this monster. Its majority sanctioned the racism that for centuries destroyed countless lives while unjustly bolstering the lives of others.

Now we must hold up the mirror to see who we really are and what we must do together to heal our wounded democracy.--CNS

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