The fibre of privilege runs deep in our society. So deep, in fact, that a slight ripple in that fibre shakes society to its core. We grew up learning that the colour of the skin was peach. That’s what my kindergarten class and generations before me grew up learning.
And as we, five-year-olds, picked up peach crayons to colour the barbies in our drawing books, not once did we question why we were being taught that a colour we had never seen on anyone was the only right colour one’s skin could be.
Those five year little children never wondered why the colour couldn’t be black or brown and the myriad shades in between, why their colouring books could not resemble their friends and family. Why the country that loves its chai so much despises its colour on their own bodies. We never coloured our heroes brown, and that’s where racism began.
India, America, and the rest of the world still pay for the racial stereotypes that began centuries ago. America, ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’, the most powerful democracy, has failed to stand true to the most basic fundamental of humanity – equality.
While the BlackLivesMatter protestors marching for their right to live were labelled a violent mob, Trump supporters destroying the US Capitol and attacking politicians were celebrated as the heroes America needed. Here’s a look into what went down in America’s hallways of power on January 6, 2021.
The way police treated armed protestors inside the Capitol was in sharp contrast to the brutality BLM activists were subjected to.
A woman protestor, Ashli Babbitt, died after being shot in the chest, 3 others died from medical emergencies, and a total of 52 protestors were arrested. Protestors breached security on Capitol and smashed windows. If you too remember pictures of armed guards on the Capitol stairs during the BLM protests, you know the US Parliament isn’t an unguarded place.
In fact, the entire Congress had gathered in the building to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the Presidential elections. The incident occurred when the ‘power of America’ had gathered together, and police officers stood at the gates to guard the Capitol. The crowd carrying Confederate flags occupied the building and created a ruckus on the Capitol grounds.
Police treated BLM protestors and pro-Trump insurrectionists differently. That does not surprise me. It’s in absolute alignment with the centuries-old racial injustice the BLM movement fought against. Tear gas and rubber bullets were used after the protestors had breached the Capitol. The US National Guard was called in several hours after the breach had occurred.
Netizens were quick to compare pictures from the recent BLM protests and the attack on the Capitol yesterday. The difference in the amount of security, arsenal, violence was glaringly different. Let’s not forget this is America, a country always under international press spotlight, a country where the freedom of speech rights of citizens are actually protected by Courts.
This injustice happened in a country where judging by the statistics, it should be most difficult to happen. This draws a sad picture of the worse reality in countries that do not enjoy this global spotlight.
Americans watched in shock as this mob attempted coup and walked right into the Capitol, while the BLM activists claim they would be battered with pepper balls if they so much as attempted to touch the fence. The crowd first gathered at a rally addressed by Trump. Hours after the rally in Washington DC, his supporters tore down metal barriers at the bottom of Capitol Hill and marched inside.
Both houses of Congress had gathered to certify Joe Biden’s victory. Lawmakers and their staff including the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, fled the scene, escorted by their Secret Service detail.
The glaring question is – why did Trump organise a rally on the day Biden was to be certified? The rally was addressed by Trump just a few hours earlier and just a few miles away from the US Capitol. Isn’t it safe to say that the President incited his crowd and later sent Tweets to set off the fire after it had already wreaked havoc?
The same President had sent a National security guard against the governor’s wishes when people were protesting for their right to live.
The same President called rioters “special” when they attacked the Capitol because they believed that the elections were fraudulent, a claim intensified by none other than Donald Trump. Twitter and Facebook locked Trump’s account for 12 hours, following the Capitol siege.
Biden commented on the incident and stated: “at this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault, an assault of the citadel of liberty, the capital itself.” The siege forced the lockdown of Congress itself, and peaceful transfer of power – the cornerstone of every democracy, suffered yet another setback.
The joint session of both the houses of Congress was adjourned, the safety of duly elected representatives threatened, their offices occupied, threatening notes left in their offices. In my opinion, this incident has provedn exactly why Donald Trump isn’t fit to govern a democracy, the immature tantrums he throws, disrupted everything America stood for, everything past Presidents spent their entire presidencies building, and it took him just 5 years to break it all down.
Popular American personalities, including Republicans, expressed resentment at this attack on the “heart of American democracy“. Chris Evans tweeted, “Just think of the carnage had they not been white”. In June, last year, BLM activists outside the White House were sprayed with tear gas so that Trump could do a photo op outside a church. And today, the Capitol was attacked by an armed mob after Trump called on his supporters to march to the capitol.
If there was any doubt left on the decision to elect Trump out of office, this should do it for America. World leaders have condemned the violence and urged for a peaceful transfer of power. Trump has constantly encouraged conspiracy theories and repeatedly attacked the electoral practice.
Protestors broke into lawmakers’ offices and left notes, stating “they will not back down“.
What’s to be noted is that this was not an impromptu event. It was executed after weeks of planning on online forums. There were clear warnings that staunch Trump supporters could attack Capitol with Trump claiming fallacies in the November 3 elections.
A 2000 member US Capitol police force failed to stop the mob. Other wings of the US Federal security force took hours to arrive to assist in a glaring security fallacy. The limited guard at the Capitol was easily outpowered, and once the protestors were up the stairs, police lost control. The Capitol building has many windows and doors, and thus it was no longer possible to guard all points of entry.
The city force was exceptionally late in arriving for an assist. The police tried to barricade the doors with furniture but were easily outnumbered. National Guard reinforcements, summoned by the city’s mayor, were not mobilized until more than an hour after protesters had first breached the barricades even though these agencies were aggressively deployed by the Trump administration during the BLM movement.
Trump later put out a video urging protestors to “go home.” Trump has also agreed to a peaceful transfer of the power as Republicans distance themselves from the attack, unprecedented in the history of independent America.