The hypocrisy in Equal Justice – BLM v Capitol Riots

January 6, 2021.


One of the darkest days in American history.

On the day that Congress met to formally certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory by certifying the Electoral College, thousands of pro-Trump supporters infiltrating the Federal Capitol building, vandalizing property and terrorizing the foundation of American democracy.

The capitol insurgence that transpired on January 6th saw five people dead, which included a police officer.

The Capitol Hill insurrection, the first of its kind that the country has seen in the last 200 years, originated from a Pro-Trump rally held on the day at the Eclipse park, near the White House.

The rally tagged as the “Save America Rally” is the origin story of one of the darkest incidents in American history in recent times as Trump echoed the sentiments of “Our country has had enough!” to his vociferous supporters.

“We will stop the steal!” he ended, and the supporters headed for the Capitol building.

Barricades were broken as the angry mob of supporters made way into the building, trashed offices, including the Speaker’s office, and occupied the House of Senate.

We all saw the horrors of white priveledge on full display, the infamous photo of the stealing of Pelosi’s lectern is now history, but most of them were painful to watch.

Protestors had confederation flags, nooses and wrote violent graffiti on the building walls that were hurtful sentiments to the African-American people who saw a completely different response to their Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign last summer.

“They (Black people) would try everything they could to present themselves as nonviolent, non- threatening, just seeking basic rights. And still, they would get battered and beaten and bloodied,” the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson told PBS News.

“So it’s very hard to watch people who are armed, who are talking about violence, who are coming with weapons, who are coming with nooses, be trusted in the way that these protesters were.”

The Black Lives Movement vs Capitol Riots

The clear distinction between the police response between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Capitol building insurrection implied something that the world already knew.

The Black Lives Matter movement saw the uprising against police brutality. An innocent black man, George Floyd, was knelt to death by a police officer in Minneapolis.

An innocent black man’s death brought in the entire movement to halt police brutality — an issue more often overlooked in society.

What were the rioters’ lawless destructive motive? They were upset that they didn’t get their way in the democratic system.

As the protestors took to the streets after George Floyd’s death in June, police patrols fired tear gas at protestors while protesting peacefully in front of police precincts.

Fast forward to 2021, the police stopped using force but waited and watched with the least possible enforcement.

Everyone knew that the January 6th riots were coming. Donald Trump on Twitter made the public declaration on his Twitter account (which has since then being banned permanently) on December 19th.

“Big Protest in D.C. on January 6th, be there, be wild,” Trump tweeted.

Even with early indications, only the Capitol Police were on hand to protect the senate and the buildings.

The mob of several hundred protestors quickly overpowered the few hundred police stationed outside. It took ages for D.C. National Guard to bring in their reinforcements.

In contrast, the response to the BLM movement was reactive. When protestors marched on the streets holding signs that read “End Racist Police Violence” across cities, they were dealt with heavily equipped National Guard Troops with assault rifles, shields, tear gas, and battle helmets.

A Failure of Equal Justice

Images circulated on the internet showed explicit depictions of the police’s contrasting actions during the Capitol Insurgence when considering what went down during the BLM movement.

“If it were black people, I say it would have been a massacre if were black people trying to charge the Capitol,” added Black Lives Matter Global Movement co-founder Pattrisse Cullors speaking on ABC.

Similar sentiments were picked up by President-Elect (at the time), who appealed to Donald Trump to make a public statement requesting his supporters to stand down.

He also added that if this were a Black Lives Matter protest, they would have been treated differently.

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true, and it’s unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”

Vice-President-elect (then) Kamala Harris tweeted a similar stance bringing out the serious concerns in the American justice system.

“We have witnessed two systems of justice: one that let extremists storm the U.S. Capitol yesterday, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protestors last summer. It’s simply unacceptable.”

The Capitol Insurgence was a good indication of the problem at hand, the hypocrisy and chaos in the country’s law enforcement for protests.

If anyone looks at the photos from BLM protests in the summer, where peaceful protestors staged their displeasure on police brutality, you can clearly distinguish the difference.

For example, the peaceful protest and demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial last June saw at least a hundred of the D.C National Guard standing across as a barricade.

Hundreds of National Guards standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the BLM protests last June 2020

In contrast, during the January 6th, protestors stormed into the Capitol, occupied the steps, and made it inside, even before the National Guard arrived.

Ever since the BLM movement took in June last year, the idea and the concept of white supremacy have been something America does not want to accept openly.

But if there was something that the Capitol Insurgenced brought to light, it was the ugly truth of white privilege and white supremacy.

Renewed hope for Equal Justice

With the end of 4 years of racial tension, there is hope that there will be a change in the new administration. While the country grapples through the pandemic, the Biden-Harris administration needs to have a conversation on policing and putting their focus on the future of equal justice.

While taking a note of the past incidents, there needs to be a re-look on the policies and take a step ahead to eradicate police brutality.

The BLM movement in 2020 brought out a grave problem hidden deep inside society. 2021 is all about moving the country towards a more equitable future.

While we look at an equitable future positively, making it to the streets isn’t the only way to voice your opinion.

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