I have read, watched, processed, and am continuing to process the insurrection at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. When I read articles like this one from NPR Timeline: How One of the Darkest Days in American History Unfolded, I feel many emotions, but surprise and shock are not among them.
Based on my informal and formal education of American and world history, my observations of the racial inequities and injustices among the diverse individuals and groups in my social networks, and my own life experiences, I am neither shocked nor surprised that predominantly White domestic terrorists invaded the United States Capitol. I am neither shocked nor surprised that those White insurrectionists have not suffered punishment for their actions in the way that protesters for Black Lives Matter have endured.
I am still hurt. I am still mourning. I am still livid. I am still sad that this transpired.
This morning, I saw that my friend had shared this post on her social media account, and I am sharing it with you below:
Be mindful of how you frame “unity.” If I am getting a tutorial on unity from anyone, it is going to be from people most impacted by racial injustice and those who have been working toward racial justice longer than I have been. Most certainly, I’m not getting my tips from anyone who realized racial injustice was a thing in 2020 or 2021.
In this context, it makes sense to listen more to Black people and other people of color. Collectively, members of BIPOC communities have been doing the most work toward racial justice, and they have been doing it over a longer time frame.
If you are someone who realized that White supremacy and racism were significant issues only in 2020 or 2021, you are not in a position to define what behaviors contribute to “unity.” It is your responsibility to listen to Black people and other people of color and follow their lead in building more substantive, genuine structures and communities for peace and unity.