It’s been a year since the riot at the capitol where white supremacists publicly unraveled white superiority for the world to see. I cringe writing this sentence because images of barbaric white murderers alongside the mutilated corpses of black men, women, and children that ornament American history have illustrated this point for centuries yet have fallen on deaf ears of a nation bound to selective amnesia.
However, this overt portrait of whiteness as detached from superiority was not the core lesson to be learned here. Instead, what the white supremacists and practitioners of white nationalism conveyed last year was that white nationalism projected into the United States of America bears a promise to implode. For those of African-decent, the events of January 6th are an admonishment of what’s to come and the fate that awaits us if we accept an invitation into a burning house.
I will speak about this invitation in a bit, but first, I wanted to talk about something that remains under-discussed in conversations surrounding January 6th. The events of January 6th and the subsequent trial were only surprising to those who believed white superiority to be true and those who coveted this belief as paramount to their sense of being. There is a cognitively dissonant pattern of people who will convey an ability to see the more significant racial issues with police brutality and systemic injustice as a whole but go home to watch Joel Osteen and proclaim his deceitful platform as a portrait of goodness. The unwillingness to completly depart from whiteness as domestic terrorism is the reason why the stealth invitation into the burning house will be a pyrrhic victory disguised as progress.
This invitation is one of the most under-engaged components of white supremacy. Notably, the media conveys a pattern of designating a black male rapist or homophobe of the month that received a plethora of censure from the black collective on command. Public censure of Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, and most recently Trey Songz, appears to be the “right” thing, but said behavior illustrates a collective acceptance into a space that promises to sear the flesh of those determined to be “right” in a land inundated in what is, and has always been, “wrong.”
“I think it’s an attack on men,” you hear from others also indoctrinated in the same racial poison that engenders many to individualize an attack onto the black collective and stand beside their oppressors under the false ties of gender. No verbal or physical assault on a black man or a black woman is individual; it is a seemingly singularized approach to launch a collective missile against a collective that appears most clearly in the division that arises. Unity with those who benefit from your oppression is a farce that exists to ensure that you remain oppressed. Similarly, what we witnessed last year was not an attack on our capitol. We may all have seen the smoke, but it wasn’t not our burning down. Our liberation lies in the legs that lie beneath…
Though acts to divide and conquer the black community may seem autonomous from last year’s events, they illustrate the many ways an oppressive world seeks to lead the oppressed into the flames of colonial terror. The events of January 6th serve as a reminder that the oppressive castes that reign in domestic terrorism are fatally divided. If we take this lesson for what it is, their acts to divide us will become perhaps more evident and hopefully less successful.