There has been a lot of talk about the noose that the domestic terrorists employed to terrorize Vice-President Mike Pence. To many, the noose embodied a shift of gears, it embodied white terror as occurring internally to those not espoused to its overt practice. In pondering the noose for over a week, like countless others, I cannot help but think of the domestic terrorism employed in Elaine, Arkansas in 1919.
On September 30, 1919, the Progressive Farmers union met in Phillips county to discuss equitable pay for their cotton crops. There were armed guards outside the church that housed the meeting put in place to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of the exchange. There is a lot of discrepancy regard the shooting that took place as the meeting occurred, but a white guard was killed. This news, in juxtaposition to the meeting itself, angered whites. As a result, they launched a murderous attack on black people vindicated by claims that their murderous actions precluded black insurrection.
I reference this attack in alignment with the noose, because the most pristine portrait of white power is painted in anti-blackness. What we saw at the capitol last Wednesday was not in protest to the incoming administration, it was to a system and racist white media, that, to the hegemonically hypnotized, made George Floyd a martyr but villainized Donald Trump. It was to a system and media that regarded their ideas as “Trumpism” and not the core of American axiology. On the surface, what we saw was white people demanding a specific form of white supremacy. Beneath the surface, we saw last Wednesday, what our ancestors saw in 1919, a physical embodiment of political evasion— an implosion of the white republic misconceptualized as intercepting a universal conflict.
Thus, while the noose appeared to carry a message for Mike Pence, it may also constitute a message, or an admonishment, to the black collective of what this implosion of interest could mean for us in the future.