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There are 16 comments on “White privilege is on display.” Ibram X. Kendi, Director of BU’s Center for Antiracist Research, Sounds Off On US Capitol Attack

  1. Just heard Ibram X. Kendi on PBS. BU is so lucky to have him heading this most important center. I’m a white woman of a certain age and having found his book, “How to Be an Anti-Racist” extremely enlightening, I look forward to reading his new one.

  2. There was “no militarized force” because it was unexpected.

    But they were cleared out in a matter of hours, not weeks like CHOP/CHAZ, and plenty of them were arrested and commitment to prosecuting them vigorously seems high, also a stark contrast.

    And, of course, one of them was shot & killed, by the DC police.

    In all the thousands of protest met with “militarized force” in 2020, the police, the “trump troops,” the national guard, shot and killed exactly 0 protestors.

    Yes, they were treated differently in the Capitol, not because they were white instead of black (like the 2020 protestors, they were racially diverse), but because of their politics.

    Of course, color does matter – if she’d been the right color, there would be outrage at her death at the hands of law enforcement.

    1. I want to amend the above, in the interest of accuracy. There was one protestor shot & killed by police in the course of the summer’s civil unrest. In Las Vegas on June 1, as a BLM protest was winding down, a protestor, who had been carrying a cryptic sign and legally open-carrying two loaded firearms the whole time, aimed one of those firearms at police and was shot & killed by them. His name was Jorge Gomez. So I was wrong when I said “exactly 0″

      While reading articles about the incident, a quote stood out:

      “And those militia members, whatever you want to call them, carrying AR 15s and AK 47s, if these young black men who have been out here protesting did that, what do you think would have happened?”

      It struck me I’ve been seeing a lot of that kind of reasoning lately. “If Floyd had been white, he’d still be alive.” “If the mob storming the Capitol had been black, more of them would have been shot.” I engaged in it myself, above, ” if she’d been the right color, there would be outrage.”

      So I looked for analogues. There was a white George Floyd, named Tony Timpa, he’s dead. A mostly-black mob did storm a police precinct, last year, in Minneapolis, none were shot, only 4 were arrested & charged. But there hasn’t been an unarmed black woman shot by police while storming anything, not that I could find, in the last 20 years.

      So I withdraw that comment, as well. There’s no way of knowing if the death of an unarmed black Trump-supporter would generate any outrage.

  3. This was a sad day in our history, but hopefully we will learn from it. One good thing I can say is at least there was no looting or burning of businesses. We all need to come together and realize that there are different perspectives. There is no one right answer. we have to keep moving forward one step at a time.

  4. I completely disagree. There is no white privilege shown. Privilege is when cities get burned, people aren’t arrested and events such as that go on for months. These protesters had some bad apples and you cannot claim the entire group are terrorists. And just stating “white” in the privilege part is the exact racism you talk against. There were many people of color there. Why divide the nation more and write a fake article. You should be ashamed. You are a scholar, not a CNN commentator. Get your facts straight Sir.

  5. Ibram speaks a lot of truth here. My husband and I (both white) said that if the rioters had been mostly black there would have been a lot of bodies on the lawn instead of people walking around inside the Capital. Police would not have been allowing selfies with the rioters. The mob would not have been allowed to walk out freely, but would have been taken directly into large vans or busses and charged immediately. The Capital police showed restraint which has not been shown by police at BLM protests.

    BU is lucky to have Ibram on faculty.

  6. I am very dismayed by some of the comments here. The reaction to Wednesday’s riot was absolutely a result of white privilege. Privilege doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re financially successful or have an easy life, it means you can march into the Capitol holding a confederate flag having bashed in the windows, and you can sit in the Speaker of the House’s chair and steal her mail, and you can steal a podium from the House of Representatives (which is looting by the way) without being arrested. For reference, over 200 people were arrested in one day during the early June protests (which were mostly peaceful). Only 50 people were arrested on January 6.

    Additionally, there was a lot of notice of what was to come. There were multiple Facebook groups and Parler chats discussing their plans for January 6, the best way to transport their weapons, and the best streets to enter the Capitol from.

    Finally, a lot of commenters need to review the idea of logical fallacies. Please do not bring an irrelevant point, argument, or claim into this discussion. It has no place, and it does not help prove your point.

  7. “White privilege is on display.” Oh please. And what was it when we had a summer of BLM (Burn Loot Murder) riots across the country. Blaming what happened in DC on so-called white privilege, a concept created by race instigating academics to reduce an entire group of people to a single attribute, would be as idiotic and irresponsible as blaming what happened last summer on black barbarism, an equally invalid and unfair concept. Looks to me like a more or less equal failure of our country to maintain order.

  8. Professor Kendi’s observations are irrefutable. The fact that some readers can’t figure that out is disappointing, but predictable. Yes, if the insurrectionists had been black (or brown), they would be dead. And now that it turns out that one white police officer was killed in the line of duty at the Capitol, let’s see how the Trumpists try to spin it. (“Blue Lives Matter!!… except when they belong to traitorous cops trying to prevent us from overturning a U.S. election by force…”)

  9. Many of the commenters here seem to have an incorrect understanding of “white privilege.” Please educate yourselves! It’s disheartening and infuriating to see a defense of domestic terrorism and a false comparison to the BLM protests. We have so much work to do. Thank you Professor Kendi!

  10. I am a white male who immigrated from a communist country and I am afraid of the cops. That said, I do not loot businesses, force people to raise their fists in solidarity with my ideology, terrorize neighborhoods, or judge other groups by their affiliations or beliefs.

    Dr. Kendi’s comments are reminiscent of the communist red commissar of my youth, ready to start red (or other color) terror, and silence dissent in the name of ideology. It is amazing that this is done from the pulpit and safety of US, BU privilege, money, and academic position.

    The disparities that are exploited by racial justice opportunists are economic, not racial, and affects the poor in the US equally regardless of skin color, facts no one talks about anymore.

    1. I value your opinion on this issue more than most, since you have lived under a repressive regime which punished or silenced dissenting viewpoints. This is new territory for the U.S. The U.S. used to tolerate (even celebrate) dissent and divergent opinions. It appears that we may be headed into a dark time in America for freedom of discourse, conscience and ideas. Some in academia feel it is legitimate to silence, rather than defeat in open debate, ideas that challenge popular opinion. In a free society, real justice rests on a foundation of truth that can withstand the challenge the open debate of ideas. In a free society that values open speech, bad ideas will wither and die under the scrutiny of logic and debate. Those who advocate silencing diverse opinions which they believe to be bad (or evil) are advocating for less freedom. To me, their calls to silence dissent shows a lack of confidence in the logic and truth of their positions.

  11. Assuming Konrad is actually who he says he is (i.e., an immigrant from an (unspecified) “communist country”), it’s unfortunate that he has been moved to establish such absurd parallels between Professor Kendi’s characterization of the dynamics governing the police reaction to the armed insurrection against the legislative branch of the U.S. and his (alleged) experiences at the hands of the “communist red commissar of [his] youth.” Konrad: you can sleep well tonight: none of us BU professors are in any position to initiate the “red (or other color) terror” you claim to fear. Perhaps you can be invited to attend an actual BU faculty meeting to set your mind at rest. Meanwhile, open your eyes and look more closely at the country to which you have immigrated. Yes, if you aren’t black, it takes more time to figure out, but it’s worth the effort.

  12. Rest assured that Konrad is an emigrant from a communist country, who spent several years in communist political prison camps, was allowed to emigrate, and spent the last few decades working in academia, including BU.

    I am drawing “absurd” parallels between Dr. Kendi’s statements and the communist commissars and apparatchiks, as the language and sentiments are something one could previously only hear at Patrice Lumumba’s Peoples’ Friendship University and now the same rhetoric and language has reached the US propagated by mainstream media and their academic experts.

    I disagree with you regarding academics’ role in the proliferation of protests and discontent . Academia leads in dividing US population by racist and non-racist, white and color, good and bad, moral and immoral, etc.

    Additionally, please study history of the well-intended Russian February Revolution and revisit last years of the Weimar Republic for additional references to academia and academics’ function in modern civil conflicts.

    As for the effort to understand, I do understand working class Americans and their pathos regardless of skin color. I prefer them and their common sense over the neo-bourgeoisie who try to use people to feed their own egos.

    I wish you well and thank you for commenting.

  13. Many thanks, “Konrad”, for your response. I’ll take you at your word about having emigrated from a formerly communist (and still unspecified) country and having worked at BU. You and I do agree on one thing: way too little attention is paid to the effects of our class system (yes, it’s a product of capitalism…). Not talking about the class system has, in fact, helped to generate the befuddlement in the minds of the white working class, which has been duped into thinking that voting for a billionaire (or “billionaire”–we still haven’t seen the tax returns) conman is going to solve all their problems. The Democratic Party has to place much more emphasis on the word “class” so as to regain the white working class vote (which it in fact received for many decades). To conclude my comments, “Konrad”, you may have been here in the US during the Cold War. If so, you may remember the phenomenon of “red-baiting”. It was a tactic even used on Martin Luther King, whose memory this country is about to celebrate in a national holiday. Going after Professor Kendi with references to the “red terror” is akin to those tactics–perhaps an unintentional move on your part. I, too, wish you well and hope you continue to enjoy freedom in your adoptive land (despite your fear of “cops”).

  14. I wish, for you, that your simplistic explanation did work. But it does not explore the deeper, historical, aspects of poverty that are, of course, impactful to those who are white as well as those who are Black in the U.S. There is a difference, however, in the ways that poverty is experienced. You do not mention disparities in access to healthcare, or the injustices around who is, and who is not, incarcerated in this nation. In my college courses – and I teach at a public community college – students come to welcome opportunities to engage the gaps within their education and experience. They welcome this after learning that their middle-aged, white woman instructor will not let them off the hook when they make statements such as yours. We do not, however, debate this topic. We enter into respectful dialogue that is predicated on reading a variety of sources that, again, fill in the gaps. Best to you – we are all trying to make for a better world – and I’m thankful you, as an immigrant from Russia, have found the U.S. accepting of you.

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