What issues motivate white racists to demonstrate and riot? In the Charlottesville, Virginia protest in 2017, it appeared to be opposition to the removal of statues and memorials extolling the Civil War. On Jan. 6, the motivation seemed to be the loss of the 2020 presidential election. The defeat of former President Donald Trump would deprive their movement of necessary leadership. However, political scientist Robert Pape found that those arrested for their involvement in the Jan. 6 riot were from places with strong anti-Black and anti-immigrant attitudes.
Blacks in America are quite accustomed to racial discrimination, and Blacks have mobilized the Black Lives Matter movement to oppose police brutality of Black men. It is unlikely that this new wave of white hostility will be tolerated by Blacks. Right now the conflicting issues are not clearly understood by Blacks.
During the Charlottesville protest, a common chant was “Jews will not replace us.” In the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, videos showed protesters dressed in pro-Nazi T-shirts. According to Pape’s opinion, the anti-Black protesters are also concerned about Jews causing a future deterioration in the status of upper middle-class whites. This seems like a strange fear for those who assert that they are part of the “white supremacy” they create and control.
Now we see after Jan. 6 that there is a substantial group of white Americans from many parts of the country who are willing to destroy the democratic system responsible for the orderly guidance of the nation’s affairs. They would displace that with a despotic leader whose primary objective would be to maximize his family’s financial fortunes.
The election of Joe Biden rescued America from disaster. The people did it with their votes. The world is increasingly more complex. The press has the responsibility to keep the people informed with articulate and understandable journalistic accounts of public affairs. Elections should be won because voters are knowledgeable and fully persuaded of the value of the voters’ choices. There is no place for trickery in a democracy.
A clear understanding of the incompatibility of racism and bigotry with American democracy should empower “woke” Americans to choose freedom, equity and justice.