White supremacist images culminate at Capitol riot
Symbols of white supremacy and anti-government extremism were on display as a mob swarmed the Capitol last week. But the hate-filled symbolism was not new: It was the culmination of a series of earlier displays of white supremacy. (Jan. 14)
Extremist groups, including the pro-Trump, far-right, anti-government Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, a loose anti-government network that’s part of the militia movement, were among those descending on the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6.
Lecia Brooks, chief of staff of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said it was also important to note the demographics of the riotous crowd, which was overwhelmingly white.
Within that context, Brooks said, even more traditional symbols of American patriotism, like the American flag, or political preference, like Trump 2020 signs, served to give the symbols of hate a pass.
“You can wrap yourself in the American flag and call yourself a patriot and say you’re acting on behalf of the country, that you’re serving to protect the country,” she said. “But what America were you standing up for? One that continues to support and advance white supremacy? Or one that welcomes and embraces a multi-racial, inclusive democracy? That’s the difference.”
Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland was inside the Capitol building as the violent mob made its way inside.
Raskin, who is Jewish, chairs the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Congress and has sat through multiple hearings about the dangers of violent white supremacy. He said he was shocked by the “open manifestations of pro-racist and pro-Nazi ideology.”
“This massive attack on the Capitol and invasion of the Congress would be shocking and criminal enough even if these people had no racist or anti-Semitic intent at all,” he added. “But when you add in the elements of violent white extremism, you can see how profoundly dangerous this is to the future of our country.”
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