There’s a Term for What Happened at the Capitol This Week: ‘Whitelash’


January 6, 2021, should have been a day of celebration of American democracy—of a cherished U.S. tradition of peaceful transfer of presidential power, and historic wins for Democrats in the Georgia Senate runoff election. That morning felt particularly celebratory for Black Americans. Thanks in large part to their intense engagement in the runoff race, Georgia elected the first Black Democratic senator from a former Confederate state in Rev. Raphael Warnock. His victory and that of Jon Ossoff clinched Democratic control of the Senate, with a tie-breaking vice president, Kamala Harris.

But, that afternoon, jubilation gave way to shocked sadness when a group of mainly white insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in a failed attempt to stop the will of 81 million voters and 306 electors for President-elect Joe Biden. Rioters displayed the Confederate flag and other white supremacistsymbols—including a noose—as they trampled grounds where the people’s business is…

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