No, riot was act of white supremacy, exactly how media portrayed it

Brianna Tang, Opinion Editor

Following the scheduled certification of the 2020 presidential election results, armed rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building stealing furniture, vandalizing offices, smashing windows, and destroying news media’s equipment. Since then, there have been five confirmed deaths and more than 30 people arrested on federal charges.

These rioters are domestic terrorists, and the fact that only 52 arrests have been made so far is an indication of the power white supremacists and far-right groups have. I’m still shocked that people were able to break into the Capitol building in the first place, but I think that if the terrorists were largely people of color, or from a foreign country, the response would have been very different. 

Confederate battle flags, powerful anti-Semitism, and the yellow Gadsden flag (designed by a slave trader and owner at the beginning of the American Revolution) were amongst the symbols proudly carried by those at the Capitol riot. If this isn’t a clear display of white supremacy in America, I don’t know what is. This is also the behavior Trump endorses, tweeting to his followers to swarm D.C., calling the terrorists “patriots”, and telling them that they are “loved” following the violence. 

It confuses me why there were so many American flags present at the Capitol riot, alongside symbols for white supremacy. It is in no way patriotic to hold racist flags while attacking a building that stands for American democracy, unless American patriotism is still associated with whiteness. 

This attack could have been prevented if leaders and law enforcement had been paying attention. The Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol had been planning for violence on far-right platforms such as Parler and Gab (far right-wing social media platforms) for weeks. On the other hand, Capitol police seemed to be unprepared. This should not have been the case if violent threats to attack the national government were circulating the internet. 

Moving forward, the Capitol riot should be compared to the long history of white superemacist terrorism in America. Not to the Black Lives Matter protests, Hong Kong protests, or Arab unrest. I think that people who are comparing an act of terrorism to movements for human rights are not only disrespectful but beyond priveleged. 

The Black Lives Matter movement resurfaced after a Black man was wrongfully arrested and suffocated to death. The Capitol riot occured because of supposed “election fraud” to “Stop the Steal” after election results were already verified. Where is the logic? The Capitol Building is amongst the most symbolically important buildings for American democracy, yet people are comparing it’s siege to protests for basic human rights and decency. 

The Capitol riot deserved the media coverage that it received. I don’t think it was the violence that was shocking, but it was the fact that Trump’s supporters carried out an attempted coup just to keep him in power. 

Let’s not forget the long history of violence associated with white supremacy in this country, some of which has been disguised as patriotism, and some of which is still occurring today. In the 1960s, immigration acts were passed to limit Asian and African immigrants for the preference of Europeans. In the mid-1990s, white supremacists bombed federal buildings and infrastructure in opposition to government policies, abortion, or LGBTQ rights. Even Trump’s campaign rhetoric is based on eliminating immigrants in order to highlight America’s “greatness”, which I think is just another term synonymous with whiteness.

The white supremacist groups that exist today are the biggest threat to American democracy. We often talk about white nationalism and domestic terrorism as if it is a topic of the past, but it is not. Biden’s election will not be the solution to America’s problems, and neither will Trump’s temporary social media ban or Parler’s removal from the app store. However, I do hope that Biden’s Administration will bring the start to better change for the nation. 

Do you think there was bias in the coverage of the Capitol riot?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...