Simply referring to those who mobbed the Capitol as “protesters” fails to recognize the racism and white privilege in action. As political commentator Joy Reid said on MSNBC Wednesday, “White Americans are never afraid of the cops, even when they’re committing insurrection, even when they’re engaged in attempting to occupy our Capitol to steal the votes of people who look like me.”
She continued, “Because in their minds, they own this country. They own that Capitol. They own the cops.” Even when participating in acts of domestic terrorism, which is defined by the FBI as “violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences,” it is the epitome of white privilege to be able to shamelessly smile for selfies and interact with the police.
As clips and photos of thousands of Trump supporters storming the US Capitol in a violent insurrection circulated online Wednesday afternoon, news outlets, political leaders, and Twitter users alike initially described the mob simply as “supporters” engaging in “protests.”
But what took place at the nation’s Capitol was no protest. We must call this attack on American democracy what it is – racism, white nationalism, and white privilege on full display – and some celebrities and public figures have mustered the courage to do so.
“White Americans are never afraid of the cops, even when they’re committing insurrection.”
Celebrities have also joined in on the conversation, demanding that both those in power and the public in general call out these perpetrators for the dangerous acts they’ve committed. They are not protesters; they are domestic terrorists who deliberately attempted an insurrection and should be treated as such.
“We need to make sure that just because these individuals are majority white, that we’re not reframing this in something different,” Karamo Brown said in one impassioned video.
Roxane Gay, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, and more also criticized both law enforcement and the public’s response to the glaring racism of the situation and have called for others in positions of power to do the same. If celebrities can do it, surely others can too. See what more stars had to say about the Capitol attack ahead.