WASHINGTON, D.C. – Race issues in America have longed defined how we shape chapters of our history. After protests against systemic racism and injustice last summer, Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol is no different.
Images of rioters breaking down barriers, breeching building security and invading the Capitol can produce insurmountable opinion.
A challenge from some is to look at the group of mostly-white rioters and imagine if they were Black.
“That would have never been permitted if all of those folks were Black folks,” said Rev. Reginald A. Early, president of the Rockbridge County NAACP.
As dusk falls on 24 hours of confusion, chaos, and melee in our nation’s capital, some are left feeling that the images of throngs of people storming one of the most protected buildings portrays a double standard.
“Most people with a conscious can’t deny what they saw,” said Dr. Deneen Evans, a counselor with focus on race management at Mosaic Mental Wellness and Health in Roanoke. “We know what would have happened if that had been 30,000…forget 30,000…100 people of color.”
Pastor Bryan Moss of Lynchburg was on the streets during last summer’s protests for racial justice, which many feel garnered more reaction from police and local leaders.
“They are going to defer to the rioting and the burning of Target and things of that nature,” said Lynchburg pastor and activist Bryan Moss. “They’re going to say nothing was burned, you know? It still doesn’t compare.”
The NAACP is calling for President Trump’s removal.
Here at home, local leaders share the sentiment.
“It’s clearly white privilege and white supremacy at its best,” said Early.
In the overnight hours following the riots, the hashtag #whiteprivilege was trending as some people called out what they call “hypocrisy.” Others are questioning why race is being tied into Wednesday’s riots. Dr. Evans said even the simplest act can set off race-based triggers.
“We’re back at race because it’s systemic. It’s part of the disease of society,” said Dr. Evans. “Why, if they’re feeling like this, is it hurting us 10 times more. We have seen this over-and-over again.”
“Racism is alive and well. Bigotry is alive and well. Injustice is alive and well. Inequity is alive and well. White privilege and white supremacy is alive and well in this country,” stated Rev. Early. “Yesterday was crystal clear proof. Crystal clear proof.”
While the path to better days is yet unknown, the pain of many, as stated, is crystal clear.