This is the epitome of white privilege.
In a violent coup to overturn Trump’s election defeat, hundreds of supporters gathered in Washington to protest the presidential victory of Joe Biden. This came after Trump’s ‘Save America’ speech, encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol. The peaceful transfer of power in the US ground came to a halt for hours on Wednesday after furious mobs invaded the Capitol building.
The distinction between the law enforcement reaction to the storming of the Capitol and the suppression of Black Lives Matter protests is not just undeniable – it is black and white.
As a reminder, the Black Lives Matter protests that unfolded across the US over the summer following the killing of George Floyd became increasingly more violent, with use of tear gas and rubber bullets, along with mass arrests of protesters. In and of itself, protesters were thoroughly and aggressively contained.
In contrast to this, there is undoubtedly a clear difference in police response as there was no tear gas or rubber bullets deployed. In this case, the law enforcement was evidently mute; They escorted rioters down the steps and even posed for pictures with them.
It is also important to remember that demonstrators of Black Lives Matter made no attempt to breach the security of the White House; However, the US Capitol mob stormed the seat of US democracy, and the police force collapsed in their path.
Armed protesters were easily able to break past police officers and enter the usually secure building. Seemingly, the demonstration which rapidly escalated into a vicious rebellion, with rioters breaking into Congress and causing the entire building to go into lockdown, as well as vandalising federal property, did not initiate the same police response.
Generally, it is unknown why there was a lack of substantial police force in front of the Capitol building, given all that was openly known about the plan to cause a nuisance in the Capitol building. Nonetheless, I personally suspect that the level of threat was deemed as minimal, until the reality of the situation was grasped.
President trump, who has referred to the election as ‘fraudulent’ and incited the riot, has been banned from using various platforms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook due to condoning violence and therefore, breaking community guidelines.
Overall, I strongly hold the belief that if US Capitol rioters were black, there would have been an excessive use of force by the police, with rioters battered, tear-gassed and perhaps shot.