By: Reverend Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness
“They exercised their “White Privilege”
What the United States of America and the global community observed via social media on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, (The Epiphany in Christendom) was not only a threat to the democracy of the United States of America, but a breach of its sacred trust to democracy and a travesty to unblind justice. It was also the manifestation (epiphany) of the frailties of a country that had a seemingly good reputation globally; that America was the land of the free and the home to the brave. It was an exponential threat to global peace, having been led by the President of the United States. They were strongly encouraged to participate in a treasonous act of taking over the Capital of United States and to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. An election participated in by eligible voters and affirmed by appropriate state authorities , however, they believed the election outcome was fraudulent and erroneous based on the word of a candidate.
Having exercised what they deemed was their 1st and 2nd Amendment rights as contained in the Constitution of the United States of America (1st Amendment protects: speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government). Accordingly, these guaranteed freedoms grant the citizens of the United States of America the freest in the world. Nonetheless, it does not carry a distinctive description that says, “Whites Only”.
(2nd Amendment – “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”). Why does the American legislative system continue to promote a “well-regulated militia” or domestic terrorism when a well-organized military force already exist,. These domestic terrorists were simply exercising what society has labeled as “white privilege”. However, they are no more than a menace to society. It is an understatement that if it were a reverse situation of a racial group, the Americans of African descent would have never made it to the U.S. Capitol steps and, it would have been a massacre opposed to only five deaths.
The global community witnessed, and was exposed to the insidious treatment that Americans of African descent have been subjugated to since their/my ancestors were involuntarily forced against their consciousness to cross the Atlantic Ocean to a strange land. And, were made privy to a system of double standards that relates back to the founding of the Constitution of the United States of America that labeled Americans of African descent as ¾ human beings. American of African descent in 2020 participated in peaceful protests and were subjected to gas, bullets and excessive police force. A substantial amount of Americans of African descent were tragically shot and killed by a system of law enforcement officers who were charged to protect and defend its citizens. To name a few, Breanna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland and others were basically innocent citizens who were not given the privilege of life as were the domestic terrorist during the insurrection in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
Yet, it is clear from reliable sources that the appropriate law enforcement authorities were aware that the domestic terrorist were coming to Washington, DC based on the permits that were issued for the assembly of approximately 30,000 Presidential supporters.
As a daughter of the soil of Columbia, South Carolina, what America witnessed was a part of my growing up. I was made aware as a young girl in a recently desegrated school (Frank C. Withers Elementary) that a double standard existed for the treatment of black students and white students. The Caucasian children were always chosen for extra activities always first in line regardless of height or alphabetically. This was the beginning of the theory of their right to “White Privilege”. Despairing words were made toward black children and we were not encouraged to further our education and our self-esteem was challenged daily. My twin brother’s Ronald and Donald and I were told repeatedly by teachers to go back where we came from. As young children we were only able to relate to the idea that going about two blocks from school to our home, which was previously an all-Caucasian neighborhood. What our teachers were referring to was Africa. Well, nothing about the positive attributes of Africans were taught in schools. I believe my spirit for justice and activism was inspired from early life experiences. In spite of access to NO privilege, American of African descent had to fight all their lives just to survive and for equality and justice”.
The President of the United States of America may be charged by Congress with, “Incitement of insurrection”, as a result of the domestic Terrorist’ behavior was incited by his words, “let’s go to the Capitol”, among other incendiary language. The word lynch was invoked in reference to what their behavior and a noose was found on the mall. Their actions exhibited an attempt to carry out their treasonous plans. American of African descent have been the victims of lynching since being transported to America. The images of lynched Americans of African descent became known as strange fruit hanging from a poplar tree. This kind of bad behavior is not good for our country, it needs to stop with the promulgation of amended laws.
How can we move forward as a unified nation without promulgating effective laws that promotes equal justice of the law. Or, where justice rolls down as righteousness and water like a mighty stream that does not only promote white privilege. America needs to do more in protecting ALL of its citizens, particularly Americans of African descent who have suffered immensely over the years. The domestic terrorists simply exercised what they deemed was their white privilege, which hopefully and legally will not go unchallenged as the country moves forward with welcomed new leadership. They exercised their white privilege, and that’s my Point of View.
Dr. Holness is a native of Columbia, South Carolina and lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Howard University School of Law (J.D.) and Divinity (D.Min.) and pastor’s Adams Inspirational AME Church in the Washington Annual Conference of the AME Church.