Politics | January 12th, 2021

The Capitol Insurrection Draws Back The Curtain on “The Other America”

By: Kennedy Guidry
The Capitol Insurrection Draws Back The Curtain on “The Other America”

As the country is recovering from the first attack on the US Capitol since the War of 1812, Martin Luther King’s message from 1967, The Other America, is still a reflection of America’s racial disparities. After the recent threat to our country’s democracy, I believe we are still living in two America’s and we will continue to until America is forced to finally reckon with the mistakes of its past. 

After the insurrection America witnessed at the United States Capitol, the double standard fueled by racism is clearer than ever. This attempted coup draws back the curtains on the other America that coexists alongside our nation.

Martin Luther King coined the term The Other America, because of the duality we are witnessing today. 

“And I use this title because there are literally two America’s. Every city in our country has this kind of dualism, this schizophrenia, split at so many parts, and so every city ends up being two cities rather than one,” King said. 

King describes the privilege of our white counterparts as having, “the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing before them.” While the other America has “a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.” 

MSN Sports aired a message from activist and athlete Jaylen Brown referencing Dr. King’s speech saying, “In one America you get killed by sleeping in your car, selling cigarettes or playing in your backyard. And in another America, you get to storm the Capitol, no tear gas, no massive arrests… It’s 2021 I don’t think anything has changed.”

President-elect Joe Biden is not naive to this double standard and hopes it opens America’s eyes to the work that is yet to be done. “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday … they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” said Biden in a live stream via CBSNews.”

If the events of January 6 didn’t leave you pondering the devastation that could have been left behind if these happened to be black people protesting their right to life, you must’ve missed the police’s determination to instigate violence at the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. 

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death on May 27, 2020, windows were smashed, shelves were emptied, and videos showed people hauling out televisions and other expensive items in a Minneapolis Target.

President Trump responded to this by calling for the national guard to assume control, referring to the protesters as thugs and ended his tweet with, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

In this America, the president values the condition of a Target more than it does a Black life that has been senselessly taken.

In the America that possesses the milk of prosperity and honey of equality, Trump’s “stop the steal” rhetoric sent his supporters on a mission to disrupt the Senate’s confirmation of electoral votes — an act killing 4 people.

In a national address posted via Twitter, Trump responded to his supporters saying, “So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens, you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.” 

In this America, we are understanding a threat to America’s democracy to simply be collateral damage due to the frustrations that Trump supporters are enduring since he lost office to President-elect Biden. 

Two split Americas, two different narratives. In one America we’re arresting peaceful protesters in the name of law and order, but in the same breath, we’re welcomed with open arms when we storm the Capitol without respect to others’ right to choose the president.

In one America, storming the nation’s Capital is the right way to express frustration, but in the other America, kneeling during the national anthem makes you a “son of a b*tch.

In one America, a Black man is killed in the street and the media reminds us of his criminal record. In another America, a white woman is killed breaching the Capitol and the media reminds us of the time she spent serving our country.

While we wait on unity and healing, it is with the hope that we can be reminded of Dr. King’s message: “I do not see how we will ever solve the turbulent problem of race confronting our nation until there is an honest confrontation with it and a willing search for the truth…”