I recently saw this tweet on Twitter: “We’re not asking you to shoot them like you shoot us we’re asking you NOT to shoot us like you DON’T shoot them!”
It’s a sweet tweet. It stopped my scrolling. It convicted me, and it conflicted me about my feelings. But I’ve decided the “We” in that tweet doesn’t include me. During the latest white terrorist attack on the Capitol, the police should have shot more people than I can count. The white building should’ve turned red.
A few days ago, I listened to Retired General Barry McCaffrey say if you try to break into Buckingham Palace, you’ll be shot. He said, if you try to break into the White House, you’ll be shot; if you try to break into the CIA, the Pentagon, or a military base, you’ll be shot.
He makes the same point in this tweet:
During a recent Morning Joe episode, I heard Joe Scarborough ask Jeh Johnson if this group would’ve been shot if they had scaled the White House fence and started racing toward the White House to kill the president. Johnson said, “Probably. Yes.” And Scarborough said, “I sure as hell hope they’d be shot.”
Then I heard Congressman Tim Ryan tell Andrea Mitchell he wanted to know why some people weren’t shot, suggesting he thought the Capitol Police should’ve used lethal force.
And Dr. Jason Johnson tweeted this:
I’m with McCaffrey, Scarborough, Ryan, and Johnson on this one. They aren’t trying to incite violence. They’re trying to incite self-defense, which is common sense.
People know why more shots weren’t fired during the attack, but that doesn’t change the fact that more shots should’ve been fired during the attack. The stand-your-ground crowd should’ve been mowed down to the ground.
Instead, white America responds to itself the way Susan Collins responds to Trump. And that Susan-Collins response is old. This white complicity, weakness, incompetence, and failure has a long history.
White mobs have been getting away with what white mobs do since there have been white mobs. From the beginning of this settler-colonial project, whites have gone too light on each other. And the bad behavior keeps repeating itself. That’s why I published the piece “White Defiance to Compliance Demands Force” with these words:
“If fragile white people get in its way, or other forms of white supremacy won’t let it have its way, white defiance will run them down or run around them…
White defiance requires a constant show of force. It needs a legion of troops in its face with no end in sight. It needs a crushing and punishing foot pressed hard that won’t lift. That’s the response to white defiance.”
Yes, I want a knee on the neck of white terrorists. I can’t say, “Don’t shoot us like you don’t shoot them,” because I’m not seeking equality with the white experience or a false equivalency. I can’t say, “Don’t shoot us like you don’t shoot them,” because I want people to recognize a legitimate threat as a threat, and white terrorists are a threat. They should’ve shot them.
But there’s always one side of whiteness that’s fragile and another side of whiteness that’s defiant. This country has always avoided dealing with white terrorism because this country deals in white terrorism. This country is a dealer of white terrorism. And when this country acts against white terrorism, it does so begrudgingly.
The people in my circle remember what the US government did to Black civil rights leaders and the Black Panthers. The people in my circle know that the Trump administration labeled some Black people as Black Identity Extremists. We want this government to infiltrate white terrorist groups to shut them down.
It may be an unpopular opinion, and I may be an unpopular person, but I want to see force against whiteness that ends whiteness. I want to see the finishing move against whiteness that this country has never started.
Get my newsletter https://onequalterms.substack.com