After the extreme display of white privilege and criminality that happened at the Capitol on January 6, I saw a flood of Twitter and Facebook comments attempting to draw a comparison between the white supremacist barbarism and Black Lives Matter protests.
Please, stop with the false moral equivalence.
There is no comparison between what was essentially a fascist attempt to subvert a democratic process in the name of some delusional lie and people who fight for their lives to actually matter in a country that allows law enforcement officials to get away with actual murder. There is also no comparison between white supremacist movements and people who are fighting to dismantle the violence of white supremacy.
To compare the racist buffoonery that we witnessed at the Capitol to BLM is like comparing a violent KKK rally to a ‘60s-era civil rights protest. It ignores the realities of structural racism by suggesting that reactionary, racist protestors are the same as Black people fighting for their right to exist. There is no comparability between demonstrating for basic human rights and using mob violence to maintain white privilege.
Somehow, some people consider all of the protests to be on the same moral ground. It seems as though many Americans live in a strange universe free from whiteness, historical context and reality, to the point that they believe white terrorists, such as those who attacked the Capitol, are fighting for their "freedom." Unfortunately, the perverted perception of “freedom” touted by the far-right seems to mean being free to disparage other people with violent language and physical intimidation, to endanger other people by refusing to wear a mask, and to wield ridiculous amounts of ammunition and guns to protect themselves from those who they perceive as a threat to their way of life.
When Black people fight for freedom during Black Lives Matter protests, we are literally fighting for the freedom to just walk out of the door or even sleep in our own home without being killed by law enforcement. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have so much privilege that being asked to wear a mask feels like an assault on my freedom.
Activist and academic Walter Rodney asked, “By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?”
Slave master violence, or its current iteration of confederate flag-waving, neonazi fascism that we saw at the Capitol, cannot be compared with any unrest, or even any physical retaliation, that happens as a result of people fighting for their basic right to exist. And with the added fact that most BLM protests have been peaceful, there is no legitimate comparison between any form of white supremacist-emboldened mob attack and a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Ever. That’s even if a BLM protest did turn violent. (Which again, the vast majority do not.)
Conflating these very different forms of protest legitimizes the continuation of anti-Black violence and white supremacist barbarity. People need to stop making this dangerous, misleading and outright false comparison, period.