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  • Khristina Raglin

White Privilege: The U.S. Capitol Storm

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

No more debating…white privilege is real.

Six days into the new year after the whirlwind that was 2020, Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Fired up by President Trump at a rally, supporters walked to the government building in hopes of overturning the Republican’s election loss. Many supporters turned to rioters after vandalizing and looting the property. People around the world watched the event in shock, many angry from the lack of policing.

What happened on that day is a pure example of white privilege. White privilege is when white citizens receive benefits in certain situations that non-white citizens aren’t. For example, a white man and a black man are both arrested for robbery. The white man’s news picture is his yearbook photo while the black man’s picture is his mugshot. This same example of having a white person less criminalized can be seen in the Capitol’s events.

White privilege has nothing to do with class or money. Many people rebuttal the term white privilege by saying that they grew up poor or had to work hard. I’ve seen this many times myself on Facebook. But this isn’t the case. Even poor white Americans have benefits over poor black Americans and even richer black Americans. Even though black celebrities are very well-off, they still have to deal with situations regarding racism and discrimination that a poor white American doesn’t. It is simply based on skin color, nothing else.

No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protestors yesterday that they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol - Joe Biden via Instagram

It’s interesting how many Trump supporters viewed the BLM (Black Lives Matter) protests negatively due to the looting and vandalizing that occurred, but this year many of them committed the same act. Trump supporters are also the group known to defend and honor law enforcement. “Don’t break the law and you won’t get shot,” they say. Yet, at the Capitol many police officers were injured at their hands. One officer, Brian D. Sicknick, succumbing to injuries.

While the rioters were tear-gassed, they didn’t receive half the treatment that BLM protestors did last year. Many BLM protestors were jailed and injured from pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and other forms of police brutality. Here, at the Capitol, a standoff between Trump supporters and the police developed. There was pushing, shoving, and tear-gassing, but nothing compared to last year’s protests. No police cars ramming into protestors, no rubber bullets. One video posted by Twitter user @cevansavenger shows police moving the gates to let the rioters onto the property.

White privilege created a security blanket for Trump supporters during the riot. Even after Ashli Babbitt’s death at the Capitol, social media posts of her flooded timelines, pointing out that she was a veteran and that people should “say her name”. Not only is it incredibly disrespectful to use a slogan that is used to amplify unjust black female deaths that go unrecognized, but it is also disrespectful to try and leave a positive image on this woman when George Floyd’s name was dragged through the mud. When George Floyd died, many brought up his criminal record as a way to justify his death, but after this woman’s death, she is pushed to be seen as a hero because she was in the military. Not to mention the fact that she had a criminal record herself. It is racist, hypocritical, and an example of white privilege.

Ashli Babbit is also the only rioter to be killed by the police. We don’t even have to imagine how many more deaths would’ve occurred if it was BLM protestors. We saw what happened last year during the many months of protests. Riot police showed up to a vigil for Elijah McClain, another young black man killed during an altercation with the police. They pepper sprayed the attendees who displayed zero violence. This is gut-wrenching to know that the police are armed and ready for violence when it comes to situations regarding BLM, but are more lenient when it comes to Trump supporters storming a government building.


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