Columnist Tolley Jones: The hoods are off


Published: 1/14/2021 1:32:24 PM

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you think an armed insurrection at the Capitol is noble, but a silent kneeling protest at a football game is anti-American,

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you see the Confederate flag being paraded through our Capitol and think, “Those people are PATRIOTS!”

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you see a white mob beating white cops while paradoxically carrying Blue Lives Matter signs, and still think Blue Lives Matter is about supporting police and not oppressing Black people.

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you hear that Black Capitol officers were repeatedly called the n-word by whites also carrying Blue Lives Matter flags, and ignore that or excuse it as people “just getting caught up in everything.”

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you see image after image and video after video of Capitol officers being crushed in doors, beaten to death with a fire extinguisher, and chased up stairs while they try to stave off a mob, and your indignant reaction is, “But the BLM protestors were waaaay more violent!” and then spend time online arguing this.

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you saw the video and read the story of the Black female Capitol police officer who was surrounded by the mob while they grabbed at her, harassed her, and touched her, who punched a white female Trump supporter after she touched the officer’s face (during a pandemic where most of the mob was maskless), and if you read that the Black officer was fired, and your thoughts are, “Serves her right! She shouldn’t be punching anyone as a sworn officer.”

YOU ARE 100% A RACIST, if you then read that the white Capitol cops who were on camera taking selfies with the mob, opening gates to the mob, and failing to do anything at all to get them out and keep them out, have merely been suspended pending an investigation, (which means that the only Capitol police officer fired because of how things went that day is a Black officer who was defending herself), and you think that seems perfectly fair.

YOU ARE DEEPLY RACIST, if you think deep down that police are there to protect white people but to control Black people, and despite seeing pictures of kneeling BLM protesters being pepper sprayed, bloodied with rubber bullets and dragged away by cops, juxtaposed next to pictures of cops taking selfies with a mob that has broken into the Capitol after live bombs were also found nearby, you see no hypocrisy in that viewpoint.

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you watched the Black Lives Matters protests and felt a sense of satisfaction watching the police run over protesters, beat protestors, arrest protesters who were simply there in the street, shoot rubber bullets at faces, aim guns at children who were on their father’s shoulders, because, “They were blocking the road, that’s illegal!” but you are indignant that white people from the mob at the Capitol are being hunted down, arrested, put on no-fly lists, and labeled insurrectionists for their well-advertised attempted coup because, “What about freedom of speech?!”

YOU ARE A COMMITTED RACIST, if you think Black Lives Matters protesters were “thugs” but the pro-Trump mob who ransacked the Capitol and killed a police officer are “heroes.”

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you think Black people wouldn’t get arrested if they weren’t breaking the law but think that the Capitol police who treated the white people who overran the Capitol building with respect and deference were justified.

YOU ARE A RACIST, if you are still angry about Trump losing because you feel cheated, despite overwhelming bipartisan evidence that the election was free and fair.    YOU ARE A RACIST, because whether or not you want to admit it to yourself, what you feel cheated out of is your free pass to be an open racist, now that Trump has been voted out. You feel cheated that your confidence in your right to oppress the Black and brown people across the country has been thwarted. You feel cheated that people who don’t want to be in a racist country went out and voted against all of you who desperately want it to stay this way.

To the rest of you who are working to be anti-racist, Maya Angelou said, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Do not forget those local restaurant owners, business owners, and neighbors who have taken their hoods off and shown you who they really are.

And lastly, to my melanated people: Can you hear freedom calling?

Tolley M. Jones lives in Easthampton with her two children. She has worked with children and families in western Massachusetts for over 30 years. She is currently an intensive care coordinator.

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