Society’s Double Standards


Thousands of Trump supporters gather at the US Capitol fighting for an election they believe was “taken away” and “lost by a landslide”.

Ruth Mesfin, News Editor

Exhausting, unpredictable, and shocking are just a few words that many would use to describe this past year of constant worry. 

2020 has been a year filled with innumerable unfortunate events and unexpected turns affecting what individuals’ futures look like, with so much chaos adding to the baggage. 

With many hoping for a fresh start and a clean slate in 2021, all this was brought to hold just six days into the new year. 

On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters from all over the country joined to pursue a four-hour violent attack at the United States Capitol, all planned over social media. From breaking into the building to being armed with guns, people across the country questioned why law enforcement’s behavior seemed to be drastically different from the Black Lives Matter protests that took place just five months prior. 

Rangeview senior, Hawzin Gidey says, “I felt like the law enforcement should’ve kept the same energy they had with the BLM protesters. I found it interesting how when the BLM protesters were protesting, they were met with rubber bullets. The national guard was there, police used excessive force, and people were teargassed/pepper-sprayed.” 

She then dives into the differences she noted from watching the riot at the Capitol unfold, and how law enforcement seemed to be less harsh with individuals. 

Gidey continued, “However, at the Capitol, it was a different story. People were literally breaking into the Capitol and they did it successfully…none of the rioters were met with tear gas or were assaulted by any police officers, the national guard wasn’t even there. So it shows where the real intentions of the police officers that day were.” 

Illustrating the difference between law enforcement’s reaction to both BLM protests and the riot at the Capitol, this photo depicts the incomparable intentions of police officers in different situations.

How did these rioters get as far as they did? Why weren’t they stopped before things went too far? It’s simple. Many believe the answer is institutionalized racism. 

President Joe Biden responded to the riot, acknowledging the behavioral difference law enforcement has between the two situations saying, “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protests yesterday that they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true — and it’s unacceptable.”

Hours after the riots had started, Trump released a video urging his supporters to “go home and go in peace,” leading him to get banned from almost every social media platform for not realizing the dangerous event he encouraged. Twitter released a statement saying, “we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

As millions watched from home, surely eyes astonished from seeing officers taking selfies with rioters, opening gates for them, and even helping them down the Capitol stairs as they weren’t in the wrong. 

Many students expressed their thoughts on the situation, aiming at the idea that police officers can use excessive power to stop unarmed individuals from protesting for basic rights, but will take pictures with rioters like it’s some game. 

Ms. Westerdale, a history teacher at Rangeview says, “The violence at the U.S. Capitol was an attack on our democratic institutions. I never thought I’d witness such a horrific moment in history. The actions that day were incredibly undemocratic and unpatriotic as individuals committed acts of domestic terrorism against the legislative branch of our government who were in the process of certifying the electoral votes of President Biden’s 2020 election win.” 

She brings her experiences as a teacher to express what she believes young adults get out of this situation. 

With all the destruction done within the four-hour insurrection, individuals are shown cleaning the aftermath of the rioters as things seem to settle down.

Westerdale continues, “As a teacher, I think moments like these show young adults that history is not stuck in the past, but rather that we live with it, and have for a while. James Baldwin comes to mind: “People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.” There are actions and rhetoric of the past which still exist today, and the events of January 6th demonstrated that we have a lot of work to do, especially regarding the amount of white supremacist groups who stormed the Capitol. I hope that the response in holding these insurrectionists accountable shows young adults in our society that when we work together to address wrongs and injustices that progress will prevail from pain.” 

From a young adult perspective, students seem to question the double standards built against the BLM protests and why law enforcement felt less threatened with the riot ignited by Trump. 

“When I saw what happened at the capitol, I felt angry. I kept updated with the BLM protests that followed Geroge Floyd’s murder and what really concerned me was the fact that Trump supporters were able to break into the Capitol so easily. When the BLM protests were happening, the White House was surrounded by security” says Rangeview senior Iza McGrew. 

America appears more divided than ever- especially with the numerous varying opinions on the Capitol riot from family and friends- McGrew expressed how it can get quite frustrating watching these double standards come into play. 

McGrew continued, “I had many arguments with friends and family about the protests that happened in June/July, and most of their argument was ‘rioting is wrong, destroying property is wrong, etc.’, then I see this [the riots] and those family members and friends are quiet. It’s just angering to see this unjustified difference between the two honestly.’

With growing curiosity about the future, many carry on with hope still up in the air. The best option, for now, is to encourage others to take time to learn and educate those around them, ensuring a stronger foundation for the future.