Trump supporters invaded the United States Capitol building. Let that sink in.
A mass of people interrupted a constitutional joint session of Congress to certify Joseph Biden as the next President of the United States of America.
One person has been shot dead, multiple injuries have occurred, Capitol windows have been broken, barriers have been knocked down, congressional chambers have been occupied, suspicious devices have been located, and various offices have been broken into.
Prior to this, there was a protest against the results of the 2020 election where Donald Trump encouraged the crowd to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to give Congress what they need to “take back our country.”
His surrogates promised to primary all those that refused to fight for him. The event provoked the unprecedented actions of the day.
As I write this, authorities are securing the scene and much of the crowd has peacefully dispersed. However, there is still a significant contingency that has remained after the 6 p.m. curfew that Washington D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser initiated.
Herein lies the problem: the crowd has been peacefully policed. Are you kidding me?
In June, people were nonviolently protesting in the plaza between St. John’s Church and Lafayette Park. The National Guard and police used tear gas and violently pushed them away so that Donald Trump could take a picture in front of a church.
Data from 2020 depicted numerous examples of police brutality against Black Lives Matter protesters. Authorities in many instances dealt with protesters forcefully.
The Guardian reported nearly 1,000 incidents of police brutality over a five-month period. These incidents occurred in cities all over the country including 76 in New York City, 60 in Seattle and 219 in Portland.
Yet, protesters with guns can raid the State Capitol in Michigan and nothing happens. Trump supporters can scale the walls of the United States Capitol to claim a false victory and nothing happens. Each is peacefully dispersed.
What is the difference? There is one main difference that all of our eyes can see. It’s race.
There is no way around it. I saw a sea of white Americans take over the U.S. Capitol.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Black Lives Matter behaved in that manner? We would have witnessed “Bloody Wednesday.”
Instances such as these epitomize white privilege.
In the eyes of many, Black people present a greater threat than white people. Black people are more dangerous than white people. Black people cause more damage than white people.
Therefore, engaging Black people requires more force than with whites. White people have the privilege to not have to endure this kind of bias. They can assault democracy and illegally protest without fear.
Black people can’t do that. We know it. We will only go so far in our protests.
We would never do something like this because we know the result would be fatal. The truth is: white America does not have these concerns.
I have heard politicians say that we need to come together. In light of U.S. Capitol events, they have encouraged Americans to turn the temperature down, respectfully disagree with one another and find common ground.
The truth is that this is not possible unless certain aspects of our nation are acknowledged and addressed. White privilege is one.
The reality of it is clear as day … if you want to see it.
Senior pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Burlington, New Jersey. Jones serves on the Good Faith Media governing board. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Divinity from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center, and a Doctor of Ministry from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.