In 2021, Some Things Changed, and Some Things Stayed the Same

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2021: Some Things Changed, and Some Things Stayed the Same

On January 6, 2021 armed protesters violently stormed, and occupied the Capitol of the United States of America. They wanted to “stop the steal”. Pictures don’t lie. 99.9% of the thousands of people involved were white. I would guess 75% or more of them were male. They were not protesting, marching, and rioting to move America forward. They were storming the capitol to protect their way of life and their freedom. Both ideas reflect their need to keep America the way it has always been, great for them, but not so great for everyone else.

Could you imagine what would have happened if the Jan 6th “protesters” were people of color? They would not have been able to get within a mile of the US Capitol. I’ll take it a step further. They would have been met with the same fury it took to clear Lafayette Park, which occurred on June 1, 2020. In that incident, protesters who were primarily people of color, were there to protest of the murder of George Floyd. They were met by pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets. There was no hesitation to clear out “those”  protesters by any means necessary. But on Jan. 6, 2021, protesters were allowed to storm the US Capitol with little resistance at all.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

Speaking of George Floyd, we did get a break when his murderer, Officer Derek Chauvin, was put on trial in March. For once, video evidence was indisputable. The world saw the execution of Mr. Floyd, and reaction to it was swift and overwhelming. There was no conceivable way that Chauvin could get off, or could he? Let’s be real, he had 18 complaints against him over his career which brought insignificant  reprimands here and there. Plus, he was “protected” by a blue wall of silence that is very high in the state of Minnesota. So we waited for the theatrics of the Chauvin trial.

As usual, the tactics of character assassination were on full display during the trial. First, the trial was referred to as the George Floyd trial. He wasn’t on trial: he’s dead. Next, the defense pointed to every character flaw they could find, in hopes it made him “deserve” his fate. Add the coverage by certain segments of the media, who were still able to give Chauvin a fighting chance for acquittal. The outcome was in doubt and the fix was in. Wait, Chauvin was guilty! However, his sentence was still considered light, given the charges. By the way, this marked only the second time an officer was convicted of murder. What was the other time? It was when an officer of color was convicted for killing a white woman.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

Shall we move on to the Wisconsin vigilante, whose trial shows that privilege in alive and well in courts around the United States? I give you exhibit A: Kyle Rittenhouse. I give you exhibit B: Judge Bruce Schroeder. Rittenhouse is the white kid whose mother thought it was a good idea to take to protests of yet another police shooting: Jacob Blake. The catch was that Rittenhouse brought an automatic rifle with him. He felt so threated while playing Paul Blart that he used it to kill two people in the process. Surely, he would be found guilty right?

Not if Judge Schroeder had anything to do with it! He made the Rittenhouse trial quite comfortable for the defendant. Guess what? Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. Apparently, it is legal to transport a weapon across state lines, pretend to be helping law enforcement, and then shot people when they confront you. The underlying principle in the case is a tried-and-“true” conclusion: we should not throw away a young white male who gets into trouble at an early age. Meanwhile, black kids are sent to the gallows, or worse, for offenses far less than Rittenhouse. On top of that, he’s a celebrity now. He has offers to work with Congresspeople, and he’s even met your former leader who shall remain nameless here.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

I recently had a conversation with two people, one white and one black, concerning the verdict in the Gregory and Travis McMichael Trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. It struck me because of a few things. First, we referred to the trial as the Ahmaud Arbery Trial. He wasn’t on trial: he’s dead. Yet all references made it seem like Mr. Arbery was on trial for murder. All over the media, you heard Ahmaud Arbery’s name attached to the case far more than the McMichael’s, which subconsciously painted Mr. Arbery as the criminal. Sound familiar?

Next, the conversation I had swirled around one fact, the jury only had one black person. The rest of the jurors were white. Both parties I was speaking to came up with the same conclusion, the McMichael’s should be guilty, but they would get off unless the black juror speaks up. I offered a different scenario. I said the McMichael’s may get off unless one or more of the WHITE jurors spoke up. Of course, we can’t assume innocence or guilt because we were not privy to all of the information, but our surface assumption is the duo should have been found guilty of the charges. Guess what? The McMichael’s were found guilty.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

If you’re keeping score, you will probably agree that in 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same. White protesters were allowed to desecrate the Capitol of the United States: a loss. Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder: a “win”. Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges: a loss. The McMichael’s were found guilty of all charges: a “win”. Yet I am saddened by the fact that I have to keep score at all. I am also saddened by the fact that my score card is ready for 2022. The only question is, who will be a part of the final tally?


Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!








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