Not some surprising anomaly

They said no thanks.

According to the Associated Press, the Capitol Police knew about the potential threat of the riot days before it took place, but rejected offers of help from the National Guard and the FBI. Officials said that they wanted to avoid using federal force against Americans, as they had done this summer.


So when it’s Black Lives Matter, it’s deadly force time, but when it’s pasty-faced fascists, it’s hello nice to see you please don’t steal anything worth more than $5000.

The choice to turn down help amid warnings of an insurrection is as revealing as it is disturbing: Why did law enforcement assume that they’d encounter violence from protesters marching for Black lives in June, but think that a largely white crowd of pro-Trump extremists and conspiracy theorists would remain peaceful? The difference in the Capitol Police’s response shocked many who bemoaned the double standard. But police brutality against Black Americans and police inaction toward white Americans is not some surprising anomaly; it is the status quo.

I wonder if part of the reason for that is the buried but lurking knowledge that Black Americans have such very compelling reasons to be furious. Buried guilt, in short. It was a generations-long crime, and there was never any kind of reckoning with the crime, let alone reparations. We alive now didn’t start it or cause it but we do still profit off it, like it or not. I wonder if law enforcement is just more afraid of Black Americans partly because of that crime.

In December, a 111-page investigative report about the New York Police Department revealed that last year’s Black Lives Matter protests had been grossly mishandled by officers. The report, conducted by a city oversight agency, confirmed what millions of Americans had seen after the killing of George Floyd on May 25: Police responses during peaceful protests were characterized by “excessive enforcement” and the violation of First Amendment rights. Yet one month before Floyd’s death, on April 30, the country had watched as white protesters, some of them heavily armed, swarmed the Michigan state capitol to object to stay-at-home orders, resulting in little incident from Michigan State Police troopers and only two arrests.

Yes. I remember saying, probably far too many times, imagine if those guys had been black.

The mob attacks on the Capitol are not so much “unprecedented” as they are consistent with America’s history of white backlash to racial equality and white entitlement to political, economic, and social control. It is not a coincidence that on the same day of the riot, the first Black and Jewish Americans were elected to Senate seats in Georgia. Wednesday’s violence claims no legitimate grievances. It is merely the perpetual retaliation to racial progress, as evidenced by the insurrectionists’ parading of Trump flags, Confederate flags, Gadsden flags, Blue Lives Matter flags, and neo-Nazi symbols. This was not an uprising against a tyrannical government; it was an uprising against a multicultural government. And the police reaction—calm, measured, tolerant—to that uprising suggests that when it comes to engaging in violence against the state, white perpetrators have nothing to lose.

Unless they stick a taser down their jeans.

Updating to add:

H/t Roj Blake

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