How White People Were Able to Break into the Capitol Building
I’m hardly surprised.
White people and their antics have always been extreme and have defied common sense, morality and ethics since practically the beginning of time. In America specifically, white shenanigans are protected and even lauded by white supremacist power structures which exacerbate white people’s sense of entitlement.
But breaking into the Capitol building? On the day of the congressional certification of the electoral count? In the middle of a pandemic???
A white shenanigan of this level arouses surprise even amongst the most seasoned scholars of caucasity.
The ability of these protestors to not only gather in hundreds on the steps of the Capitol Building but break into the building itself is a stark contrast to protests that have previously occurred. In 1968, following a wave of protests in response to Dr. Martin Luther King’s assasination, police positioned themselves outside the Capitol with machine guns. In 2007 Iraq veterans who protested were immediately arrested before they could even reach the steps of the building. Just a few months ago in June of 2020 when Black Lives Matter protestors gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial, dozens of members of the D.C. National Guard stood on the memorial’s steps wielding guns.
With such a dense track record of militarized protection of the nation’s government buildings and property, it was astounding to watch white pro-Trump rioters break into the Capitol with virtually no opposition from law enforcement.
The contradiction is almost too obvious to state.
Just a few months ago, in the Summer of 2020, the murders and brutalization of Black people by police officers led to thousands of protestors, Black and otherwise, taking to the streets, congregating around governmental buildings to protest state-sponsored anti-Black violence. The response was brutal, excessive and inhumane.
Black people were brutalized when peacefully protesting against police brutalization.
Even more mind boggling is the fact that Black people are murdered for absolutely no reason at all.
The regime of American anti-Black violence is endemic to the Black experience, creating the cognitive coherence of what it means to be Black.
A staple of anti-Black violence which makes it different from other institutional and systemic violences that befall other subjects of the state is that it is gratuitous, prelogical and conceptually incoherent . Anti-Black violence can not be reasoned with or explained away with the claim that it serves any immediate material purpose because it is not contingent upon a real transgression or threat. Tamir Rice was not murdered because his toy gun posed a real threat to an officer. Breonna Taylor was not murdered because the officers wished to seize the bed upon which she laid when she was killed. The cops who murdered George Floyd didn’t give a damn about the supposed counterfeit $20 bill.
Black people are murdered by the state because they are Black.
A legacy of slavery has rendered Blackness as a marker of death and natal alienation. Blackness and whiteness are, amongst other things, relational dynamics; the dynamics must be continually and perpetually performed and reproduced in order to upkeep the social order. In the terms of Blackness, the perpetual performance that is enacted upon the Black body is that of violence.
This may explain why or how Black people are murdered for absolutely nothing and may also explain why the response to Black folk protesting anything is met with even more vicious violence.
Not only is whiteness dependent on gratuitous anti-Black violence but it is also about the protection and shielding of those with white skin.
So here we are, on the first Wednesday of the new year and white folk are climbing up the walls in front of the Capitol, gathering on the stairs, breaking in and gallivanting through the halls of the Capitol with virtually no police opposition for hours.
To be Black in America is to know that you are denied access to places, privileges and rights that white people are given freely. Absolutely nothing new or profound to note. But to sit back and watch as white people break into one of the most secured places in the country like they are soldiers in Call of Duty and knowing that my Black ass would likely be shot down before I could even get near the steps is interesting, to say the least.
Whiteness is a protective shield, a privilege that affords white people the right to travel, march, breach and destroy whatever and whomever they wish. White people are socialized to believe that their whiteness gives them dominion over all beings and all spaces.
So, of course white Trump protestors were able to break into the capitol building. Of course, as I am writing this, three hours after the breach first occurred, the interior of the Capitol is still not secured and there are countless rioters still inside and outside of the building.
A key component of whiteness is its desire to evade being named, meaning that for the past three hours I have been flipping between MSNBC and CNN and not one reporter has named whiteness as the key reason these rioters were able to get as far as they have without nearly the same level of militarized state violence that befell Black protestors who did much less.
When the highest office in the land gives you the go ahead to fight for what you feel as your white right, there is no such thing as restraint.
I am white and that means that all of my anger is validated (even when its to stop the fair result of a democratic process). I am white which means that I can go wherever I please (even when it’s breaking into the capitol building in the middle of a Senate count). I am white which means I can yell at, spit on and berate police officers with no repercussion (even when Black people are murdered by police for doing absolutely nothing at all).
Years following the Ferguson protests, protestors pleading for the fair and humane treatment of Black lives are ending up dead, surveilled and/or undermined by the FBI and CIA. We were, are and will be punished for daring to fight against our own murder.
In a month, or year or five years, these white protestors who broke into the Capitol will have a job and a family and the nation will have forgotten that they smashed the windows of the Capitol building with painted faces and flying MAGA flags.
For them, all will be fine.