“This is Not America.” Yes, It is.


A mob of Trump supporters rallying together in the U.S. Capitol siege. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Bella Rock, Social Media Editor

January 6th, a momentous day revolving around the storming of the United States Capitol. What started as a protest quickly turned to violence and destruction as rallying Trump supporters charged the Capitol building, armed, and planning to take hostages. 

The siege was a result of the presidential election, in which Trump supporters believed was fraudulent and that Trump should’ve won. Thus, they attacked the Capitol in an attempt to somehow change or overturn these results.

As this turmoil was taking place, many commented “this is not America,” with President Biden taking to Twitter saying, “America is so much better than what we’re seeing today.”

Whilst this is a nice sentiment, it begs the question of: is this statement accurate? The America we see today was built on white supremacy and its violence. 

White supremacist-based violence has been deep rooted in America, from colonizers violently overtaking Native American land to enslavement to the KKK and the violence of today. Many look at America’s past of these racist organizations as long gone, when in reality their talons are still dug into America. 

Sociologist Kathleen Blee told NPR, “Well, the violence that we see today is not that dissimilar from the violence of the Klan in the ’50s and ’60s, where there was, kind of, the violence of terrorism,” further showing how this is in fact America. Additionally, Blee and other experts have noted there has been “indisputable uptick in hate crimes — and an overall rise in white supremacist violence.”

Saying “this is not America” fails to acknowledge the systematic racism in this country that has allowed this violence since its founding. “It’s called “systemic” racism because it’s ingrained in nearly every way people move through society, as written in Business Insider, “in the policies and practices at institutions like banks, schools, companies, government agencies, and law enforcement.”

This systematic racism can also be seen in the double-standards seen in the January 6th attack. Reported by the Washington Post, on June 1st, 2020 a group of protesters gathered outside the Capitol building in response to the killing of George Floyd. They were met with an army of federal agents, which used chemical weapons and rubber bullets against the demonstrators. 

However, when it came to the January 6th siege, they were merely met with the Capitol building’s and D.C. Police, later joined by troops from the D.C. National Guard, which arrived hours after the incident began. The rioters were also able to easily overpower law enforcement due to the low crowd-control attempts. This was all despite the fact that Trump supporters were openly threatening violence against the Capitol online in the days prior to the incident.

Biden additionally wrote on Twitter the day of the attack that if the rioters had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesters, they would have been treated “very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.” Biden’s statement holds much weight and truth, further showing the unfortunate ways in which racism is held in the United States.

The incidents at the Capitol were very much so, America. America has not been better than this, but if we begin to acknowledge it, one day it can be.