The Racist Legacy Of January 6th

A noose is seen on makeshift gallows as supporters of US President Donald Trump gather on the West side of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. | Source: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty

UPDATED: 8:00 a.m. ET, Jan. 6, 2024

Three years after the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a glaring double standard along racial lines remains impossible to ignore for anyone paying attention to all of the hateful elements that helped fuel those riots and define that moment’s legacy by continuing to reveal themselves.

The purpose of the so-called “Stop the Steal” rally was to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden‘s presidential election based on “the big lie” that nonexistent voter fraud played a role in his victory over Donald Trump, a racist whose rhetoric is being blamed for helping to incite the rioters. But if you peel back a few layers of that racist onion, you might recall how Trump falsely blamed states with significant Black voting populations that provided the deciding electoral college votes to secure Biden’s win.


Georgia, for instance, is largely credited with pushing Biden past the finish line — thanks in no small part to the devoted legion of Black organizers who mobilized voters across the state to cast their ballots against Trump, who also blamed Black election workers under false pretenses. This was the basis of energizing Trump’s base to act on his behalf to avenge his loss in the most disingenuous of ways: by blindly parroting the claim that he was cheated out of being re-elected with the help of Black folks.

With that seed planted, it was no wonder the Capitol riots unfolded the way they did — with white privilege at the forefront.

Trump and his team of MAGA enthusiasts continue to terrorize a pair of former Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss — who are Black and were recently on the receiving end of a whopping $148 million judgment against former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani for a racist defamation campaign. Freeman and Moss ultimately testified before the Jan. 6 committee, detailing the devastating levels of harassment they experienced for defending democracy.

Police reactions and responses

Let’s take the reactions from officers with the Capitol Police, for instance. Black Capitol police officers have recounted their treatment by rioters, including being called the N-word. White Capitol police officers, however, could be seen actually assisting Capitol rioters, with one even stopping to take a selfie with someone who obviously had illegally broken into the hallowed building on the federal government property.

Cops are taking selfies with the terrorists.

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 6, 2021

Capitol Police Pfc. Harry Dunn, who is Black, testified before Congress that rioters showered him with anti-Black racism as he attempted in vain to control the rabid crowd.

“You hear that, guys, this [N-word] voted for Joe Biden!” Dunn said a woman wearing a MAGA shirt yelled at him during the riots. He said that prompted a collective response from other rioters: “Boo! F–king [N-word]!”

He said he had never been called the N-word to his face until Jan. 6.

Dunn also testified that other Black officers told him they experienced similar treatment, including one who said he was threatened with racist violence: “Put your gun down, and we’ll show you what kind of [N-word] you really are!”

The privilege of white supremacy

Philadelphia columnist Solomon Jones wondered the obvious at the time: “Would those insurrectionists have been allowed to breach the Capitol if they were Black?” He answered his own question in the resounding negative because, “Black people and white people are treated differently by the police, and that’s why it was so easy for an overwhelmingly white mob to attack the Capitol.”

Not only did they break into and attack the Capitol, but many perpetrators also unabashedly looted items from inside the building, including personal effects belonging to members of Congress, like a laptop that was stolen from House Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office.

Source: Win McNamee / Getty

Rashawn Ray, a senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institute, drew a clear contrast between police responses to nonviolent Black Lives Matter movement protests and the uber-violent Capitol riots that also answers Jones’ rhetorical question above.

“Only about 60 rioters were arrested on January 6, 2021, while nearly the same number of police officers were injured (including one officer who was killed along with one of the insurgents),” Ray wrote. “For comparison, on June 1, 2020 in Washington DC, nearly 6,000 law enforcement officers ranging from ICE to DEA including National Guard helicopters were mobilized to descend on the area for a Black Lives Matter protest. Over 300 people were arrested that night. They never even got close to the Capitol or the White House.”

Anti-Black hate groups were involved in the Capitol riots

Anytime the Proud Boys participate in anything, chances are there will be an anti-Black theme attached. Members of the so-called Oath Keepers — a group recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as far-right antigovernment extremists who described Black Lives Matter as “racist” — took part in the Capitol riots, as well.

Jan. 6 was a model of white privilege — it’s taken months for suspects to be charged and convicted, a luxury that likely would not have been afforded had the rioters been mostly Black instead of mostly white as people would have been arrested on the spot, probably with the brutal violence we see law enforcement wielding against Black suspects every single day.

Notably, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced in September to 22 years in prison for his role in the riots that he was;t even able to attend since he was arrested the day before it happened.

Source: Jon Cherry / Getty

Jan. 6 is defended by racist elected officials

While it has been proven that a number of Republican elected officials played a key role in inciting the Capitol riots, people like right-wing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green have remained defending accused rioters in a racist context. After all, it was also Taylor Green who said they were being accused because they were white.

She claimed that “alleged” participants in the Capitol riots who have been jailed after being accused of some of the most serious crimes of the event are being discriminated against.

“They were isolated in a separate wing of the jail, where they are abused, where they are ridiculed, where they are mocked because of their political beliefs and because of January 6, and because of the color of their skin,” she said in December 2021. “So there is a two-tiered justice system, and these are the things that need to end.”

As of three years later, not a single one of the elected officials — none of whom are Black — alleged to be behind the Capitol riots have been held accountable for their [alleged] roles.

This is America.


The Black Heroes Of The Jan. 6 Capitol Attack

Jan. 6 Hero Harry Dunn Targets ‘MAGA Extremists’ As Former Capitol Police Officer Launches Congress Run

The post The Racist Legacy Of January 6th appeared first on NewsOne.

Help Stop Hate! Spread Love

Widely disseminated misinformation is extremely harmful and serves as a catalyst for hatred, violence and prejudice of every kind. This is counterproductive to the unification and strengthening of a nation. News outlets and journalists have a major responsibility to maintain a high degree of partiality and truthfulness that many Americans feel is not being honored. ADL, the Anti-Semitism Defense League is dedicated to offering impartial education on issues involving anti-Semitism to help Americans make informed decisions. A not-for-profit public service organization powered by Love, ADL provides free resources that educate society on anti-Semitism and ways to work together to combat the ancient hatred while promoting equality and prosperity for all people.

Free Download


Featured Articles

Breach of Contract and Conspiracy to Deprive of Civil Rights: An Evaluation of Potential Legal Claims and Criminal Charges Stemming from the Defamatory Social Lynching of Kyrie Irving

Basketball star Kyrie Irving captured the media’s attention when he faced allegations of anti-Semitism due to a social media post containing a link to the film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Succumbing to external pressure, Irving removed the controversial post and offered a public apology. Nonetheless, upon further examination of the circumstances, it appears that Irving might have been criminally deprived of his rights, and could potentially possess a legal claim against his former employer for violating contractual terms.

Send Us A Message

News & Opinions