January 19, 2021

Storming of the Capitol exposes biases of federal government

Catherine Brown–

The riots at the Capitol building on Jan. 6 are inexcusable. But the government needs to answer for its own hypocrisy when hundreds of white protestors can storm their way into a federal building trashing political offices, looting and even killing 5 people, while peaceful Black Lives Matter protests were constantly victim blamed, shot at and even killed for standing up for their right to live.

Sadly, I agree that white supremacists who staged an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol based on unfounded conspiracy theories were being treated differently than Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington this past summer,” said University of Louisville political science professor Dewey Clayton.

“It should not matter whether they were Trump supporters or not,” Clayton said. “They were engaged in lawless activity — a mob going after anyone not supporting their attempt to overturn a lawful election.  This country has a history of treating Black and White protesters differently even when the Black protesters are engaged in lawful peaceful protest and the White protesters are engaged in lawlessness.”

It’s clear that there is privilege afforded to the protestors who participated in the recent riot. 

On what he thought of the news when he first heard about it, Clayton said that he was shocked, but not surprised. “President Trump has released racial hatred since he became president and this was predictable as we saw his behavior and that of his supporters at his rallies.”  

“The band of insurgents carried Confederate flags into the U.S. Capitol, Tea Party flags, Trump flags and American flags as they threatened the safety and lives of our elected members of Congress and attacked Capitol Police,” Clayton said. “One of the greatest threats to our democracy today is not from foreign invasion but from domestic terrorism from white supremacists within this country.  Too many in the administration have remained quiet for too long — some have now resigned, though too late.”

Clayton said it is unlikely that Vice President Mike Pence will invoke the 25th amendment, which members of the House across party lines have called for.  And as Clayton predicted, Vice President Mike Pence did not invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump. 

Despite this, President Trump was not let off the hook for the incident on Capitol Hill. As the House moves forward with a second impeachment trial, several media corporations, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google have already suspended or banned Trump from their platforms. “Our democracy is shaken but it will hold,” Clayton said.

This incident will be yet another example of how we continue to fail Black Americans and stifle Black voices. We shouldn’t tolerate this racial bias because it could lead to even more casualties in the future. Don’t accept this incident as yet another American tragedy because of this country’s history in discrimination. 

Use it to make your voice heard against the injustices that prevail.

Photo Courtesy of Tyler Merbler 

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