White privilege — is selfish and self-serving. For the past week news outlets, writers, cultural analysts, scholars, historians and the general public have been dissecting the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Pro-Trump insurrectionists have taken the center stage of the nation’s conversation because what is America without whiteness monopolizing the narrative?
And just as in instances of white folks that commit mass murders or white folks who exploit loopholes to cheat the system or white folks who weaponize whiteness as a means of harming non-white people, there is always an exhaustive examination into why actions were what they were.
The short answer is this: whiteness, as a social construct in America, is given every benefit of the doubt as it has always been considered the dominant culture. White men who fled European tyranny came to America to establish a hierarchy that would first subjugate the Indigenous people of the land, and then capture Africans to force them into chattel slavery to do the merit-less labor of nation-building.
Every other non-white, non-cishet male subset of American identity would also become suppressed to some degree by white patriarchy and the supremacy it is enshrined in. This is the foundational social order that everyone outside of the power dynamic has been in resistance to. It is the dissent that colors the red in the American flag as it is hued with the blood of the marginalized.
But in the interest of self-care, self-actualization and in combatting the anguish that comes with writing once again about feckless white boys who threw one of history’s biggest temper tantrums, I am choosing to resign further commentary on this event after this writing.
Those people are not deserving of all of my editorial capital, therefore here are a few closing notes on their actions at the Capitol they were able to occupy:
- The House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for the second time. His abysmal leadership allowed him to make history as the first president to be impeached twice. Whiteness afforded him the opportunity to occupy a seat his ass should have never sat in, to begin with.
- A handful of Republicans finally had a “come to Jesus” moment in choosing to vote on Trump’s impeachment. It only took him calling the cousin-copulating cavalry to the Capitol to endanger the lives of U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen for those GOP members to arrive at that conclusion. The majority of their colleagues still thought impeachment was too drastic. Which is what enabling white supremacy looks like.
- The FBI put American governors on alert that armed protests by treasonous, right-wing zealots are being planned for every capital city in the nation. I immediately thought of my hometown of Baton Rouge that I relocated from five months ago as it is the capital of Louisiana. I then thought about how close I am in proximity to the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., as my Hyattsville, Maryland residence is only six miles from the crime scene of January 6th.
I thought about the inescapability of white rage and the intel that knows when it is fomenting but still acts surprised by its destruction.
- Several rioters have been arrested in the aftermath of the insurrection, but I have low expectations of them receiving sufficient punishment. It is not like they are Black Lives Matter activists, many of which have been detained within hours of peaceful protests. These white dudes were bare-faced posing for photo ops and being filmed, and were able to evade the law for days before some of them would be arrested. And of course, they were able to. Why would their co-conspirators apprehend them?
- To a certain degree, I am ready to get back to just combatting plain ole systemic racism. The kind of foundational inequity that I don’t expect the incoming Biden administration to eradicate, but also does not feel like every day is a pending apocalypse. Being Black in America, if nothing else, is negotiating a compromise with a nation that pendulums to what extent it will make your life insufferable. I have not ventured towards D.C. in the past week, because white domestic terrorists were allowed to ransack the area and are planning to do so again.
But even when the coast is clear of extremists, there is still the extremity of America’s persistent oppression of Black people that Black folks have to contend with regardless of who occupies the Oval Office. In that regard, whiteness never leaves it merely shapeshifts and changes tenor from death metal bigotry to easy-listening racism.
I cannot control the omnipresence of whiteness as a social construct. I can control how much real estate its worst impulses take up in my writing. I’m bowing out of archiving the events of January 6, 2021. I trust that whiteness will provide me with future fodder to expound on as understanding whiteness is critical to surviving it.
Which is exhausting, to say the least.
About the Author
Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate, and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be
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