I have been struggling to find the words regarding yesterday’s horrific events. The incitement to violence and treason by a sitting president, the storming of the capitol (something that has not happened since the War of 1812), the endangerment of our lawmakers, the absolute attack on our democratic process itself – these events leave me stunned and heartbroken.
There are so many issues to unpack here, but the biggest one, the most glaring, is this:
What if those protesters were Black?
If the BLM movements of this past summer are any indication – the peaceful protests that resulted in tear gas and mass arrests and rubber bullets – it’s safe to say that armed Black men scaling the walls and breaking the windows of the Capitol building would NOT have been met with open doors and a few selfies with on-duty cops.
For those of you who have ever questioned whiteness-as-privilege…this is your proof.
For those of you who are comparing what happened yesterday to the peaceful BLM protests of this summer, I’d like to remind you that peacefully protesting is a constitutional right. Attempting to overthrow the government because you don’t like election results is not.
One was a protest for basic human rights. This? Was treason.
We sat, last night, watching the news unfold with the boys. They were both upset, correctly reading the room both here and the newsroom on TV. I am amazed – and thankful – by how our boys seemed to fundamentally grasp that one of the issues at play was the glaring white supremacy. And that they – as white males – have a role to play in dismantling that system. It is important, to both Mike and I, that we raise two white boys who understand the privilege they are awarded, through no feat of their own. Through no merit of their own. It is important, to Mike and I, that our boys understand that while they are special to us, they are not special on a human scale.
“You are not special,” we tell them.
If ever there was a time for white America to take a long, hard look at themselves, it is now. We, us white people, we are not special. We have not been put into this place of privilege through any merit of our own. We got here through the systematic oppression and violence against other human beings.
When we take a long, hard look back, we see that this racism – our racism – has always existed. That we started this country with racist laws, and we have persisted in our own white superiority complex for hundreds of years.
I hope that this event – this year – when we look back years from now, will be seen as the catalyst that moves us forward.
One of my very first stops – whenever I’m searching for clarity on a major issue – is Brittany Packnett Cunningham’s IG feed. Her latest MSNBC interview by Brian Williams on yesterday’s events is so precise, eloquent and exactly right – it’s 110% worth a watch (and even a little hopeful). I love her.
I was also struck by @sarahromontoya’s latest IG, where, in the wake of yesterday’s events, she managed to do some soul searching, and came out with this list of commitments (reprinted with permission):
- I’m going to talk with my children about yesterday’s events in age appropriate ways
- I’m going to work on my own racism so that I can teach them to be anti-racist, even when they find that racism within themselves.
- I’m going to keep volunteering for candidates that share my values.
- I’m going to speak factually, accurately, and compassionately about people I disagree with.
- I’m going to do everything in my power to give them tools to love themselves deeply so that they are empowered to walk away from toxic belief systems.
- I’m going to keep educating myself so I can better understand my role in creating the world I want for all children.
- I’m going to model repentance and forgiveness, while demanding justice.
- I’m going to do my best and I’m going to mess up and I’m going to apologize.
The Mom Edit remains committed to a community of equality and justice. We are committed to continue our actively anti-racist work. We are committed to continuing to diversify our platform, and uplift Black and Brown voices and businesses.
Hang in there, Gang.