The demise of assumed superiority
Prior to Jan. 6, the assertion of white supremacy was generally believed in America. Whites from the working class would assume that they were superior to Blacks, and they might even freely use the N-word to express this conviction. However, whites with more mannerly upbringing might just dispassionately enjoy the advantages of white privilege. Blacks had the burden of making their way in the world while bearing the stigma of implied inferiority.
The Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol invasion by Trump supporters intent on preventing the Senate from certifying the results of the presidential election induced many Americans to reassess the validity of white supremacy. Those who viewed the videos of the insurrection were astounded by the unbridled violence and viciousness of the assault. The conduct of whites participating in the event certainly did not warrant the designation of white supremacy.
An unanticipated consequence is that if whites are no longer superior, then they must simply be entitled to no higher standards than other ethnic groups. Blacks have the privilege now of not being viewed by many others who are sensitive and intelligent as being generally subservient to “white supremacists.”
But that still does not answer a fundamental question. What provoked whites enough to become enraged, murderously violent and willing to desecrate the nation’s Capitol building, as well as corrupt the democratic process? To do all that on the basis of an unsubstantiated lie from a perennial liar is not the conduct of an especially astute person.
The motivation is even more disturbing because the followers of a despotic leader usually enjoy some significant benefit for their loyalty, but Trump provided little. He was opposed to national health care arranged by the Affordable Care Act, and according to a Washington Post report, about 60% of those arrested for invading the Capitol were found to be experiencing financial difficulties. It seems to some observers that the only things the Trump Administration and his followers share is a common hostility to Blacks.
The prior president’s lack of concern for the danger to human life presented by COVID-19 should cause working-class Americans to see that Trump had little concern for them. Their future well-being depends on solidarity with others in a similar economic status. The affluent understand that they are outnumbered by the brotherly alliance of working-class Americans. From the early days of the nation, there has been an effort to divide Americans by skin color to prevent them from uniting on the basis of their wealth status.
Whites must have noticed that there were not many Blacks involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Blacks have always believed that their welfare and the beneficence for others depends upon the proper operation of America’s system of democracy. Consequently, an insurrection to damage the election process could not be beneficial to the family that is in the working class.
Southern wealthy landowners induced poor whites to risk their lives in the Civil War to assure that the Confederate states would have slaves to work on their plantations. The death toll was horrendous. There was little benefit for the poor white sharecroppers. It appears that their progeny have not yet learned the painful lesson that they are better off when democracy functions fairly for all.
Whites should awaken from the Jan. 6 disaster and realize that their Black fellow citizens were wise enough and are sufficiently patriotic not to become involved in such a disastrous adventure.