Advanced wypipology: What the Jan. 6 hearings can teach Black people about white liberation
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio
If you’re reading this, you’ve been preselected to participate in theGrio’s graduate-level program in wypipology. This curriculum is predicated on the foundational belief that it is impossible to identify, understand or dismantle America’s unique relationship with white supremacy by studying African-American history, indigenous studies or even “anti-racism.” While those academic disciplines have their place, they are inadequate tools for understanding the political, economic and sociological impact of whiteness. Did Black people create white supremacy out of whole cloth? Did the natives knit it into the fabric of the nation? Did “people of color” Scotchguard an entire segment of society against the terrifying threat of being stained with equality?
No. White people did that.
Furthermore, it is difficult to understand Black people’s struggle for human rights unless you understand whiteness. Emancipation didn’t spark the racial terrorism of Reconstruction; the fear of losing political power did. Jim Crow wasn’t the result of Black people’s desire to live in Caucasian neighborhoods; white people’s social fears did that. If one didn’t know about America’s color-based social structure, the marches of the civil rights movement would seem like a series of parades. Confederates, lynch mobs and states rights segregationists are just different names adopted by movements for white liberation.
Perhaps nothing explains the foundational premise concept of wypipology better than the House select committee’s Jan. 6 investigation. The event that will probably be known as “Janteenth” explains all you need to know about the historical movement for white liberation. So, this year, instead of requiring students to enroll in the leg-washing seminar to complete our prerequisite course in wypipology 101, our friends in Congress have generously shared a panel discussion that encapsulates the entirety of the struggle.
To assist you in understanding these foundational principles, here are the core concepts you will learn by watching the Jan. 6 hearings.
Lesson 1: Wypipo vs. Democracy
The first thing you will learn from watching the hearings is that white people hate democracy.
Before the Declaration of Independence—the foundational document of the white liberation movement—devolves into the hypocrisy of stating that “all men are created equal,” it suggests that anyone who wants to “dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,” they should “declare the causes which impels them to their separation.”
In America, this “cause” has always been whiteness.
It’s why every single Confederate state mentioned slavery in their declaration of secession. It’s why terrorist cells tried to overthrow the state governments and disenfranchise Black voters during Reconstruction. It’s why the delegation of Southern segregationists left the Democratic Party and formed the Dixiecrat Party instead of supporting civil rights. And yes, this aversion to democracy is why a mob of MAGAmuffins stormed the capitol on Jan. 6.
The entire goal of the Riot of the Rednecks was to overturn a free and fair election. And in the absence of the usual “states’ rights” argument, they were willing to invalidate rulings issued by state courts, the decisions of state legislatures, the will of individual voters and the entire Constitution to install a government of white people, for white people, established by white people.
A better synonym for white supremacy does not exist. But there is a better antonym for democracy:
Lesson 2: Pro-violent resistance
No one is surprised that the Jan. 6 rally turned into a gang fight. After all, most white movements are violent.
The Boston Tea Party was violent. More lives were lost in the war to end slavery than in the fight to stop the Holocaust. While the struggle for Black equality was based on “nonviolent resistance,” every single significant Black activist during the ’60s was subjected to life-threatening violence. The Freedom Riders were beaten and bombed. Black churches were destroyed by dynamite. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. The supposedly pro-life activists will bomb abortion clinics and take the lives of abortion providers.
And before you point out the comparatively small number of pro-Black movements that use violence, remember that all of those people ended up in prison. The FBI had undercover agents inside the Black Panthers, SNCC, Black Lives Matter and every movement for Black liberation. There isn’t a Black leader involved in peaceful resistance who hasn’t been investigated, jailed or charged with a crime.
The congressional investigation into the MAGA March on Washington teaches us that, when it comes to effective protest, nothing compares to an angry gaggle of pink-faced protesters.
Lesson 3: There is no “holding back”
Whenever someone steps out of line at a Black protest, there is always someone trying to talk some sense into the people who step out of line. Aside from “aight then, bet,” the clarion call that signals any kind of Black fight is: “Don’t hold me back, bruh.”
I don’t want to say all the white people at the Stop the Steal rally were bad people, but when the committee played footage of the violence, why was no one in the crowd restraining the people with the bear spray and cattle prods? Did no one think to say “too soon” to the guy with the Confederate flag? How could all the people sit silently and watch someone erect a gallows?
Let’s forget the people like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley who incited the Hoowyatt Riot for a moment. Where were the fiscally conservative Republicans who knew the election wasn’t stolen? Where were the family members of the rioters? Considering the number of people who stormed the Capitol, why haven’t more snitches stepped forward?
And this is not confined to the Coup Klutz Klan rally at the Capitol. During the lynching epidemic of the Red Summer of 1919, why didn’t any of the white people stop the guys who tied the nooses? Why didn’t the “good white people” fight the Klan? What did the white wives say when they saw the news footage of their husbands spitting on kids trying to integrate all-white schools? These are questions that need answering.
And seriously…who built the gallows?
Lesson 4: There is no law and order
There is an oxymoronic sense of irony in watching white people beat a cop with a Blue Lives Matter flag that is both unsettling and telling.
Although we mistakenly believe that conservatives support the brave men and women of the police force, the Jan. 6 hearings teach us that the white uncivil rights movement doesn’t believe in acting as my grandmother called “decent and in order.” Then again, if most white Americans believed in the law, law enforcement officers wouldn’t be able to shoot Black people in the face indiscriminately. If they believed in order, Black people wouldn’t have to wait longer to vote.
As a matter of fact, every Black grassroots movement in history is essentially a desperate plea for law and order. The anti-lynching movement simply asked people to adhere to laws on murder. The civil rights movement asked for rights ordered by the Constitution. The Black Lives Matter movement wants law enforcement officers to do what they were ordered.
Lesson 5: We don’t need more white heroes
One of the most significant takeaways from this congressional virtue-signaling exercise is that it exposes the process by which one can become a hero.
According to Michael Moore, Cassidy Hutchinson became a hero by watching her co-workers plan to overthrow the United States government and do nothing until it failed. Before joining the MAGA administration, she trained for the Caucasian Capitol Invasion by serving as an intern for white supremacist orator Steve Scalise and insurrection supporter Ted Cruz. Anti-choice, anti-Black, pro-gun advocate Liz Cheney was transformed into a hero by fulfilling her constitutional duties. After a decade of supporting pro-white policies, the members of the Lincoln Project are now the “vanguard of Democracy.”
Black leaders must sacrifice their lives and do what is right in the face of the mightiest government in the world. Whites, on the other hand, can become heroes by simply doing their jobs and completing the most straightforward task of all:
What have you learned?
As you can see, there is much to learn from the Jan. 6 hearings. Hopefully, this symposium will lay the foundation for your studies in wypipology. Even if you are not interested in the science of whiteness, at least you have learned an essential mathematical equation:
White liberation = Black oppression
Michael Harriot is a writer, championship-level Spades player and host of theGrio Daily podcast. His book, Black AF History: The Unwhitewashed Story of America, will be released in 2022.
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