Coping with chaos: Twitter reacts to January 6th, 2021
An insurrection in Washington D.C. laid bare what America is, and social media was there to analyze.
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On Wednesday Jan. 6, 2021, just as a joint session of the newly-sworn in 117th Congress began to count and certify the 2020 electoral votes, a large group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, triggering hours of chaos and the death of four people.
As the violence unfolded, Twitter was ablaze with reactions of all kinds. Yesterday’s acts of domestic terrorism shook a lot of people to their core, but for many others, it was just another day in a country that is deeply rooted in racism and colonialism.
One of the main topics that was discussed was the presence of white supremacy and white privilege.
Several commenters were quick to highlight the stark contrasts between the immediate and deadly force that has been used on Black Lives Matter protesters in the past and how little was done to clear out this group of white nationalists.
“So damn tired of living in a country that treats Black grief as a threat and white rage as a sacrament,” wrote Rev. Jacqui Lewis, PhD.
If they were black, they would be dead.— Ben From Canada (@BenChinapen) January 6, 2021
If they were black, they would be dead.
If they were BLACK, they would be DEAD.
California Rep. Barbara Lee also called out the stark contrast of treatment.
“We must acknowledge the profound inequity of a broken system that allows peaceful protesters to get tear-gassed for a photo op, while domestic terrorists who storm the Capitol in a violent coup attempt get to roam the streets freely,” she wrote.
only 13 were arrested for BREAKING. INTO. THE. CAPITAL. AND 14000+ WERE ARRESTED FOR TRYING TO GET EQUAL RIGHTS?? HELLO??— mayo (@maya_thisnight) January 6, 2021
Commenters further dissected the appalling display of white privilege through several jaw-dropping comparisons.
Journalist Kayla Brantley posted two photos of Richard Barnett, the rioter who broke into Nancy Pelosi’s office, took a piece of her mail, which is a federal crime, and made it safely out to brag about his crime.
On top of this tweet, Twitter user Rita Konaev, displayed the hypocrisy by bringing up the case of the 15-year-old Black girl from Michigan who was sent to Juvenile Detention for not completing her online homework.
A 15 year Black girl was sent to juvenile jail for not doing online homework. https://t.co/rHFD2k4ZdH— Rita Konaev (@RitaKonaev) January 7, 2021
Activist Kenidra R. Woods posted four photos: two of them were peaceful protests conducted by BLM supporters and the others were of the attempted coup.
“The same people who made a whole deal about Kaepernick kneeling and these BLM protests are the same ones excusing the fact that the Capitol was stormed by terrorists. True patriots would not do this. Fighting for Black skin shouldn’t be a crime, storming the Capitol should,” she wrote.
The violence that ensued yesterday was not funny, but it was emotionally taxing, and Twitter also came to the rescue with humor and memes to help process the news.
People quickly began to make jokes about the lack of security at the Capitol building.
“The Olay Body Wash at CVS has better security,” one user wrote.
The creativity continued with tweets referencing everything from a timeless adventure into American history and Google.
“I am no longer impressed that Nicholas Cage managed to steal the Declaration of Independence,” one analyst wrote.
“It’s literally harder to sign into gmail from a new device than it is to breach the Capitol walls,” wrote another.
Twitter dealt with yesterday’s events in a myriad of ways.
But the most important takeaway is that many people, especially BIPOC are reaching their breaking point when it comes to law enforcement and the political leaders that enabled yesterday's violence.
It cannot continue.