All (White) Men Are Created Equal

Isabella Shamoun, Contributor

As students, we learned the quote in the constitutional preamble in first grade, “All men are created equal.” That we are born into a country of equal opportunity. That there is a level playing field. But as many members of younger generations have slowly come to realize, America is not as free as it seems, it isn’t just and it isn’t fair.

So, as I watched thousands people, dressed in camouflage, donning riot helmets and bullet proof vests, waving Confederate, Nazi, and American flags as they scaled the walls of our Capitol, smashing windows and breaking down doors with impunity, I thought: Well that’s typical. 

If they had been black, they would’ve been shot to death, and the Capitol police wouldn’t have hesitated to use brute force.

The ways in which some Capitol police treated the Pro-Trump protesters as they stormed a sacred building was a direct example of racism in America’s justice system. 

Look at the way some police handled the Capitol rioters. In one video clip you can see a police officer calmly guiding a female rioter down the stairs. According to Business Insider, some officers even took pictures with the rioters.

Contrast that with the tear gas lobbed at peaceful BLM protesters so that Trump could stage a photo op holding a bible in front of St. John’s Church. The irony is almost poetic. 

And that type of treatment didn’t happen just in DC with Trump. It happened all across the nation at BLM protests.  US Crisis Monitor, which is part of a nonprofit global organization called ACLED that collects data on a myriad of subjects, records that when BLM protestors took to the streets, preparing for peaceful protests, they were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, the National Guard, unmarked vans, batons, and riot gear from the police. 

Even though, at the Capitol, the lives of congressmen and women, including his own Vice President, were being threatened, Trump did not send in the National guard. And, according to anonymous sources, Trump initially resisted requests sent by the mayor of Washington D.C. to deploy the National Guard at the Capitol. According to The New York Times Former Vice President Mike Pence was the one to approve the National Guard, not Trump. Even when the National Guard was deployed, they got on the scene at 5:40 pm, after the violence subsided. 

Although there were outbursts of violence in the beginning, most notably in Los Angeles, California and Portland, Oregon, the majority of the BLM protests, 93% according to the US Crisis Monitor, were peaceful.

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they would have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” said President Joe Biden. “We all know that’s true. And it’s unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”

It is jarring to think about, shocking to compare, and I imagine incredibly horrific to have witnessed. We are not, in fact, born equal as our hopeful parents tried to tell us, we do not live in a world of equal opportunity, we live in a world where domestic terrorism is on our nation’s land, where white people holding guns get treated better than a black woman sleeping in her own home. Where America’s democracy is threatened by people who can’t admit that their presidential candidate lost.

With a new president in office, maybe the hundreds of victims of police brutality can get their justice, and maybe our country won’t have to repeat it’s history in order for us to live peacefully with one another. One can only hope.


The left side of the image is the Capitol building on Trump’s inauguration day, January 20th 2017 (Washington Post). The right image is 1,455 days later during the Capitol riot (Andrew Markin).
During the Pro-Trump Capitol riots this is what the scenery looked like: chaos, confusion, and violence (Saul Loeb).
The Capitol building was covered in law enforcements during a BLM Protest at the Capitol (Mark Getty).