MLK, Black History, and the Capitol Riot

What happened at the Capitol is complicated. Indeed, the event was a great event muddled in politics and racism that will be engraved in American history, which are both complicated. Thus, I use one of the five W’s and ask a great question to begin and understand the story, “What happened?” The race and political aspects of the insurrection are broad and wide. Indeed, it was an insurrection and it will be considered in the American framework as such.

The insurrection occurred on January 6th, a week before the celebration of great civil rights leader, Dr. King, where a self-proclaimed “mob” stormed into the Capitol of the United States and invaded and destroyed it. A “mob” is what the group was called immediately after the invasion by the media, so they weren’t necessarily self-proclaimed. Of course, to them, they were probably not a mob, but an organized group with their right to freedom of speech and right to assemble, and the arrogance in that is baffling and is what stopped them as soon as their feet hit the stone steps. They were indeed a mob. We’ll call them the “MAGA mob” – a mob ordered by their leader and now former President Donald Trump to first cause attention to their own made-up political cause, which led to the spread of hatred and act of violence upon many. They were more than a mob. A group of white, conservatives who storm into the Capitol without respect to who’s watching and who cares in order to protest against their white, conservative President being laid off is a hate group and a hate act.

The race and political issues involved in the mob’s storming of the Capitol are alarming. First, that it opened our eyes to the fact that they are two different things. Politics, which the American media helped in unyielding, drove the mob to the Capitol and was what the whole riot was about. The government politics, muddled in worshipping a dictator and sticking to racist ideology, caused a group to protest at the Capitol in Washington D.C.. The Trump-incited mob could have convened at any of the 50 states of the Nation, but the self-inflicted wound of storming through the Capitol shows the true intent. Perhaps, there really was or could have been some motive considering that Trump supporters protest or gather in public all the time, especially during times of political unrest. But they shot themselves in the foot when they stormed through the Capitol building and caused embarrassment and violence in the name of Trump, as if the election was his to be won and that the U.S. election is not a two-sided one. The insurrection was one of attention, which it garnered from the American media looking to get a story, but that, too, was shot in the foot by the fact that it wasn’t the proper protest in favor of one’s Presidential candidate that it was cracked up to be. It was one of violence and racism. 

When the Make America Great Again mob stormed through the Capitol and rioted, I paid attention to how the insurrection happened just a week before both Dr. King’s celebration known nationally as “MLK Day” and the inauguration of newly-elected Democratic President Joe Biden. I paid attention to their motive and how they all by themselves decided to act on that motive. The insurrection caused the political, American stir, but it also infused a different kind of stir, a racial one that they or no one is ever prepared for. The racial politics in the insurrection were, as they often are, underlying and hard to identify, especially through the American media. The mob stormed coincidentally, in their minds, through the Capitol building in the start of the new year. The misleading aspect of this in itself is another thing, but never mind that, let’s take a look at their supposed intent to protest and indeed, at the time and place that they did. It was no coincidence that they decided to protest on January 6th because this was a specific date and time, so it wasn’t a coincidence anyway. It was no coincidence that the American media, in their own way, called them out on it right after they did it. It was no coincidence that they decided to call it a “protest,” a term amplified by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I was most disturbed by their supposed right to gather, and then, their misuse of the thing, which MLK kickstarted and which has been so important to the Nation as a whole, especially in recent times. Then, the violence that ensued instead of following their order of protest, misused the nonviolence of protest that one of our great American and African-American leaders thrust into American society. It was a slap in the face to all of what America has been taught for the past several decades. It was not merely just a rare violent protest. 

The race politics at the Capitol is what left the whole society with unease, and it should have. The violence ensued at the Capitol targeted black people, as we were left with the aftermath of such violence. The black community was, once again, left to pick up the remnants of American mishaps and mistakes. The stories told by black Americans at the center of the protest about the disrespect they were shown, the ignorance, the slurs, and the violence doesn’t differ much from the main point of broken glass. Indeed, people in glass windows shouldn’t throw stones. The stories of broken glass and people being injured were a point of emphasis, especially for the media looking to seek and find the true nature of the wrongness in it all, but nothing says wrong like the wrongdoing against the disenfranchised and black Americans, and all they had to do was look no further than the center of it all. Black people made their own point about the Capitol and the stories unraveled it all. The main point of black people was that if the mob had been BLM protesters, they would have been mistreated. Indeed, as history shows us, if this were black people and not a group of conservative, white mob just doing what their Capitol enabled them to do, black people and BLM protesters would have been mistreated badly and it’s deeper than that. The comparison to BLM protesters wasn’t just in the idea that we’d be mistreated either physically or metaphorically, it’s in the literal idea of the protest. If we were a mob, if we were black, we wouldn’t have reached Capitol and the story about the Capitol wouldn’t have been told by the American media as it was told about the mob. But if we were a mob and only if we were, would we know this, so still, the secrecy of the relationship between the Capitol riot and the media is one that is kept between America and them, and that is good. 

The way that the American media told the stories differ from when these are black stories. The media liked the attention. The media liked covering it and lending their professional energy to an event, no matter if it was racist or foolish or a great, American event. The media liked to call it the “Capitol Riot” and it will go down in American history as an event with that title, without revision or erasure. The media included black stories from and about the Capitol, and how could they exclude the tales from black people because much of the uproar in America today is about the violence toward its black citizens. The account of the initial story without the help of black people is really what’s at stake. I paid attention to how the media covered this tragic event, even in the midst of outright hatred and violence. It wasn’t portrayed as just an invasion or total chaos, it was their right and reasoning toward storming through the Capitol building. It was an event that almost could have worked in the mob’s favor, if it wasn’t for the sheer common sense of our Nation today, which is the equality and fairness for all people and a society working toward the nonviolence which Dr. King represented, especially against racial and political violence. The sheer purpose in storming through the Capitol, one of the most important buildings in the U.S., couldn’t have any reason other than to further sway the media and they wouldn’t have a choice in covering it, regardless of whether or not it deserved all of the proper coverage and analysis. Black people and their stories know this all too well, and this is why black stories continue to be told without the front page uproar or the white, American media’s help. I learned from the Capitol that popular, mass media still doesn’t like to tell black stories, and it’s precisely for that reason. For the reason that a white mob can incite political and racist violence at the Capitol and we don’t know why and neither do we want to know why.

The riot is just a little over a month old, and in this Month of Black History and on the last day, the story about the Capitol is a story that had less to do with its rightful place in American history and more with its present effect on black society The Capitol riot will be known for its historical impact and the credentials that fit them into that history, unfortunately, but we shouldn’t forget how regular, everyday Americans were literally sitting at home watching a MAGA mob tear up the Nation after the election was over and then tell us how historical, instead of how violent and radical it was. If this was a black protest, which makes more sense and history than anything, it wouldn’t go down as a historical account or get the proper analysis to fit into that category. What happened and what truly happened would turn into “What had happened was,” a true misunderstanding of that history and the true effect of misunderstanding that history would never be fully known. Our bodies would be underneath the building. The arrests would have come in numbers. The injuries would be unaccounted for because they would be an emotional, spiritual injury that can’t be undone or overturned by the shallowness of American society and their refusal to acknowledge even the most violent of violent acts which happened right in front our faces on our steps in America. This is why black history matters, and it matters in perspective of the riot at the Capitol. 

This is why MLK, Black History, and the Capitol are connected. The ideas and true history that was destroyed during the Capitol’s riot are cringing and how we the people, especially black people had to pick them back up is turning. The Capitol event was an American historical event, but it should be known for its violence and misuse of their rights, and not as a proper event which so heavily represents the right to protest or the rights of media or rights of political freedom. There are many rights, but they can be broken and changed, and which ones are broken and which ones are changed are important, also. The Capitol destroyed and broke the rights. Black people and MLK changed them, as if to say that rules/rights should have a higher standard and never stoop as low as the mob did. 

There are many rights of the American people, and that includes the right to vote and to protest, and they are powerful things. But it is a separate other right, which the wrong people have made up to inflict violence on the Nation and its people. This right will not be tolerated by the Nation and American people in this day. The Capitol riot may belong to general American history and let them have it, but black history and the history that our great leaders wrote against violence is something that can’t be lost in the world’s historical or present issues. 


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