The Racist Roots Of The Capitol Insurrection

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Trump supporters push back a police car while gathering outside the Capitol Building. (Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Trump supporters push back a police car while gathering outside the Capitol Building. (Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)

America's racist roots were on display as pro-Trump extremists paraded the confederate flag in the Capitol on Jan. 6th. We discuss race, racism and the role it played in last week's attack on the Capitol.  


Keisha Blain, professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. President of the African American Intellectual History Society. Editor for the Washington Post’s Made by History section. Co-editor of "Four Hundred Souls." (@KeishaBlain)

Brittany Packnett Cunningham, activist, educator and writer. Co-founder of Campaign Zero, a project to end police violence. Host of Undistracted, a news and justice podcast. (@MsPackyetti)

Jemar Tisby, president and co-founder of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective. PhD candidate in history at the University of Mississippi, where he is studying race and religion. Author of "The Color of Compromise" and "How To Fight Racism." (@JemarTisby)

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David Cassidy, pastor at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

Fr. Carey Stone, rector at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

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New York Times: "The American Abyss" — "When Donald Trump stood before his followers on Jan. 6 and urged them to march on the United States Capitol, he was doing what he had always done. He never took electoral democracy seriously nor accepted the legitimacy of its American version."

CNN: "The Capitol attack was White supremacy, plain and simple" — "How in the world do scores of seditious rioters simply waltz into the United States Capitol, so casually that many of them record their invasion on their phones and take selfies with cops? How do they scale the walls and push through the doors and scatter the police and not get forcibly stopped by whatever means necessary?"

Religion News: "Taking the white Christian nationalist symbols at the Capitol riot seriously" — "If there was one thing of value to come out of the shameful chaos of Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, it’s that the horrific events made plain the powerful ideological and theological currents of American politics that often stay just under the surface."

The Atlantic: "A Christian Insurrection" — "The name of God was everywhere during Wednesday’s insurrection against the American government."

The Atlantic: "The Whole Story in a Single Photo" — "On Wednesday afternoon, as insurrectionists assaulted the Capitol, a man wearing a brown vest over a black sweatshirt walked through the halls of Congress with the Confederate battle flag hanging over his shoulder. One widely circulated photo, taken by Mike Theiler of Reuters, captured him mid-stride, part of the flag almost glowing with the light coming from the hallway to his left."

New York Times: "How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism" — "Before self-proclaimed members of the far-right group the Proud Boys marched toward the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, they stopped to kneel in the street and prayed in the name of Jesus."

The Atlantic: "Denial Is the Heartbeat of America" — "'Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are,' President-elect Joe Biden said during Wednesday’s siege."

This program aired on January 14, 2021.


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Grace Tatter Producer, WBUR Podcasts
Grace Tatter is a producer for WBUR Podcasts.


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Meghna Chakrabarti Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.



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