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The Ephemeral Horror of January 6th

Between the pandemic and the government, I haven’t written a word of fiction in almost a year. Compared with the horror show of reality, how could I possibly come up with anything more chilling?

I hardly know where to start processing it. Who needs conspiracy theories when less than a month ago, we saw violent terrorists attempt to stage a coup at the direction of members of congress and the Kumquat Caligula himself?

Somehow, the perpetrators – direct and indirect – have gotten away largely unscathed, despite filming themselves committing their crimes and publicly organizing on open Internet forums.

Contrast this with the MLK day march in New York City a mere couple weeks later, where the NYPD arrested dozens of people on the spot. Is the NYPD simply more efficient at quelling a potentially violent conflict than the police protecting our nation’s capital, or is there another factor to consider?

When a crowd of white people gets rowdy, they’re called demonstrators. When a crowd of black people gets rowdy, they’re rioters or thugs. When white people break windows and destroy property, no one makes a fuss. When black people break windows and destroy property, there’s outcry and panic about “law and order.” 

What’s the difference in perception? And why do some folks get so bent out of shape when anyone brings it up?

Now, I’m not in a position to explain racism to y’all. Others far more knowledgeable and well-spoken have done so in great detail, and besides, if you’re determined enough, you can refute any argument, no matter how well structured and supported it is. 

What would be the point of trying to convince you of something you’re determined to refute at every turn?

Even though the coup failed and the new administration is now in control, those of us committed to justice and systemic reform must continue to be vigilant. This coup attempt was clumsy and ill-conceived, but if racists and Christofascists get a second chance, they’ll be more organized. And they might be successful. 

That is a truly horrifying prospect, and one we must prevent at all costs. 

In order to do this, we have to confront questions like this as many times as necessary. Why are Black people treated differently? Why does our society use different language when talking about crowds of Black protesters and crowds of white protesters? Why do people get upset when we discuss these differences?

We used to think the old racists would die off and eventually, we wouldn’t have to deal with the same old bullshit, but as these past 4 years have shown us, the old racists just indoctrinate new racists. We end up having the same conversations about the same issues we’ve seen for over a hundred years. 

And we’re going to have these conversations for a hundred more, unless we tackle these problems more concretely. What that looks like, I’m not sure, but let’s start with some food for thought:

How do you feel when someone brings up racism? Why do you feel that way? Are you the kind of person who “doesn’t see color?” Do you have a “racist bone” in your body?  

Stay tuned for our next conversation; I’m sure it will be a blast. 

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