Written by guest author: Alexander Coleman Jr.
As I, a 17 year old Black kid who lives a metro stop away from D.C. write this on January 7th, 2021, I realize I can sum up what we witnessed yesterday in two words: fucking disgusting.
I learned a lot about race in America in the past year, especially since the murder of George Floyd, which, for better or worse, put a lot of things into perspective for kids like me. Like many other minorities, I was blind for a long time to some of the greater injustices in our society due to where I live and my family’s socioeconomic status. Even still, I’ve been taught about racial tensions all my life. My mother has always tried to instill in me a sense of where we came from and the struggles we have always had to go through and will continue to experience, but I still did not see it first hand until this year. That’s when I truly realized no matter who you are or where you are, all it takes is one wrong turn if you look like me.
If you look like me, you can so easily end up dead, usually with little to no or heavily delayed repercussions for those who commit the crime. I watched Ahmaud Arbery get chased down and shot like an animal earlier this year, an event that is legitimately one of the only times in all seventeen years of my life that watching something made me break down in tears. This year was one of heavy realization for all of us, but it most definitely was for black people, especially younger ones. And that’s what brings me to the events that transpired yesterday.
In what may be a shock to some of you, I’m not surprised in the slightest at what we saw. I’ve known for some time now that the government doesn’t care about us. We watched our Federal Government bitch out to white supremacy on national television. We saw them allow hundreds, if not thousands of fanatics and white supremacists to invade the capital, wreaking as much havoc as humanly possible. So far, this has only resulted in around 50 arrests, with most of those being for gun charges, not committing acts of treason or domestic terror.
In 2012, when I was nine years old, Trayvon Martin getting shot was the first I can remember.
Yesterday, I wanted to see the Capitol Police and National Guard use the full force they’ve used on people who look like me and the people who FIGHT for people who look like me for decades, if not centuries. But they didn’t. They fully and completely allowed white supremacists with countless Nazi and Confederate imagery (the flags of not one, but two armies the United States has fought and beaten in War were ironically being flown by these “patriots”) to break into and take over our Capitol. There is no way you can look me in the face if you are white after seeing the events of yesterday and tell me we live in the same America.
This is not a political statement. I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I honestly do not care who you support, nor who you voted for, as every option possible contains putting people in power who had or would have used that power recklessly and with full violence force. In all honesty, I blame both white liberals and conservatives for what happened yesterday. It might have been conservatives who broke into the capitol and put on this display of American White supremacy in 2021, but take a second to ask yourself, how do people get to this point? The polarization and stigmatization of conservatives in today’s age lead many of these people to extremism. I’m not making the argument that conservatives are oppressed. Oppression comes from a position of power and anyone who believes conservatism is oppressed has not faced real oppression. However, people (this being infinitely prevalent in our generation) having this “my way or the highway” attitude when it comes to political discourse and posting things such as “If you support Trump you are no longer my friend” simply fosters that attitude and makes it grow into hatred in people on the other side. Some of these people fall down the so-called “alt right pipeline”, leading to the invariably terror that ensues in what feels like my backyard.
It is interesting how many differently imagined scenarios create the same final product, and it makes me question whether it’s that (certain) white liberals don’t realize how dangerous creating this political polarization can be, or if they simply don’t care. At the end of the day, they are the only people on their side with nothing to lose. A White person fighting for the rights of marginalized people can quit and go on with their life at any time. In the end, it comes down on us. I’m not saying this to foster white guilt, and this only applies to certain people on both sides, but it would be a damning sentiment to sweep under the rug. That’s why we saw Nazi and Confederate flags in the United States Capitol of all places yesterday. Those flags are symbols against us, not them. I urge all of my friends on both sides to continue fighting for what they believe to be right but make sure it is only what they actually believe in.
Do not post things to simply make yourself look like a good person or to divide us even further than we already are, because it all contributes to that whether you realize it or not. I plead with you, as opposed to the other side, because I know I simply won’t be listened to. Most of those on the right side of the political spectrum do not condone what happened yesterday at all, I have friends who are Republicans and/or voted for Trump, and are similarly disgusted at the events that transpired. This isn’t a Red versus Blue issue, this is an issue of White Supremacy and our government doing nothing in the face of it.
Feature Image Credit: BBC.com