This morning, a good chunk of the Antipodes woke up to the news that the US capitol (where US congress were meeting to ratify President-Elect Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump) was under siege by a pro-Trump mob. By now, you probably would've seen the surreal images circulating on social media that include pro-Trump rioters wandering the empty halls of the US capitol, lawmakers ducking as protesters try to break into the house chamber; even a guy swinging from a chamber balcony.
Here are some of the first things that crossed my mind as I began to come to grips with what was happening...
Where are the police?
This piece from Buzzfeed News is pretty eye-opening. It compares the police presence at last year's Black Lives Matter protests in the US to their presence in Washington DC today today (note that in contrast to what's unfolding in DC at the moment, the BLM demonstrations were overwhelmingly peaceful).
Pretty much the entirety of the pro-Trump mob storming the capitol are white, and that's a big deal. We tend to just see a group of white people as 'a group of people', but let's face it. Only white people would get away with this (quite embarrassing) attempt at storming the US capitol.
Can you imagine what would've happened if a group of Black people tried to enact a literal siege? Even Captain America knows.
If you're not convinced how central 'race' is to all of this, here's one protester waltzing through the capitol building, gripping the confederate flag.
While we're at it, here's a guy stealing Nancy Pelosi's lectern.
And I've got no idea what's happening here.
Meanwhile, Black people are routinely arrested and killed by the police for peacefully protesting or even just going about their lives.
3. Of course Trump praised the the protestors
All this, and it's only the first week of January.