On Riots And Race

National Guard troops are seen behind shields as they clear a street from protestors outside the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. - Donald Trump's supporters stormed a session of Congress held t... National Guard troops are seen behind shields as they clear a street from protestors outside the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. - Donald Trump's supporters stormed a session of Congress held today, January 6, to certify Joe Biden's election win, triggering unprecedented chaos and violence at the heart of American democracy and accusations the president was attempting a coup. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 7, 2021 8:52 a.m.

Yielding the floor to TPM Reader BK:

I am a longtime reader and Prime Member and I consider your work to be invaluable. To put it in fast food industry terms I am a heavy user, checking your site literally dozens of times a day and night.

Like many Americans, I watched the events in Washington DC unfolding just a couple of miles from my home where we were under curfew.

However, unlike the breathless TV pundits, my reaction wasn’t one of “shock,” or “disbelief.” No, my reaction: I was enraged at what I watched. But none of this was shocking or unreal: it was entirely and utterly predictable.

I’ll write more on that at another time, but this morning I want to address one particular aspect of this story that very few want to talk about: race and white privilege.

And frankly, as much as I adore TPM, in my opinion, this is one area where you have a blind spot, or a lack on interest. I am not sure why, but it is one area where TPM is just like every other new organization/talking head on TV. There is simply no way to cover Trump, his mob, and what happened yesterday without talking about the racism flowing through our society and the racism that has been mainstreamed into our media.

If I see one more story asking “how could the capital police have failed so badly” I will scream. The answer is simple, indisputable, and disgusting. The Capitol was breached because these where white people with a WHITE CAUSE. Period. Can anyone who is not a complete denier/loaded with some other agenda assert that any large crowd of people of color, or BLM, or “AntiFa” would have made it within 100 yards of THE FIRST barricade??

We know they wouldn’t, because we saw the police presence this summer for the social justice protests. We have seen the State’s response to the BLM protests for the past 5+ years: rubber bullets, gas, batons. An overly militarized response. I mean, in the past 3 weeks police in Ohio have killed two people of color for minding their own business because the police feel they defied orders or posed some minimalist pretextual threat: a cell phone and a sandwich. But this mob of white people can storm the Capital with what appears to be only a single shot fired in defense of the building? Police fire more rounds than that at motorists of color for no apparent reason. Just ask the family of Bijan Ghaisar.

In the same way that a white man can load an RV full of explosives and detonate it in the heart of the tourist/commercial center of the 24th largest city in the country and yet not be referred to as terrorist, or the event a suspected terrorist attack, the answer is race. And until that is tackled head on, there will be no “unifying” the country, and yesterday, I am afraid, is just the start of what these domestic terrorists with their Trump flag will do. Because they know the consequences are simply not that severe. Because they know they carry a privilege that reinforces to them this is their land, and so the slight of not having their chosen leader must be acted upon.

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