In the wrong hands, social media can be used to provoke. In the right hands, it can be used to inspire. Following the extended siege on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., by radical conservatives, Twitter and Facebook, temporarily locked the social media accounts of the incumbent president, preventing him from posting any status updates or tweets. The 45th president is believed to have been the catalyst for the riot.
However, while the president of the United States has been blocked from his social media accounts, Black writers across the country have used those same platforms to inspire hope and condemn White supremacy. Ibram X. Kendi, author of the How to be an Antiracist, used Twitter to demand that Americans stop denying the persistence of White nationalism within the United States.
The greatest domestic terrorist threat of our time are White male supremacists who adore Donald J. Trump. But Americans are too blinded by their own racist ideas to see these terrorists for who and what they are. Will today be the day the denial finally ends?
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) January 6, 2021
That declaration received thousands of retweets and reposts across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as the public rallied behind the call to identify the roots of White supremacy within the so-called “Make America Great Again” movement. Kendi was not the only African American author to identify the attacks on the Capitol as a vehement act of racism. Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, claimed that MAGA extremism is, at its core, the alt-right’s response to the Obama presidency.
Let us not forget that all of this truly stems from people being pissed that a Black man was once elected President….
— Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas) January 7, 2021
The tweet shows the manner in which the political progress of this country is in constant flux, shifting like a pendulum between moments of inclusion and empathy. Thomas was not finished with her scathing critique of this American political moment. When President-elect Joe Biden tweeted, “America is so much better than what we’re seeing today,” Thomas responded:
Nah it’s not https://t.co/cHVWcueBML
— Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas) January 6, 2021
While the attacks carried out on Jan. 6, 2021, showed the eery solidarity formed between domestic terrorists attempting to overturn the constitution, they also showed moments of unity between Black writers, activists and thinkers. With prominent Black writers from different walks of life boldly challenging the status quo, it becomes a bit easier to have hope during these uncertain times.