On January 6, “Reid Out” host Joy Reid gave an impactful speech about the boundlessness of white privilege following the security breach at the U.S. Capitol. She spoke on the sharp divide within the country, particularly the way police interacted with the mob, and called out how Black people would not have been granted the same grace.
“These people were so unafraid of the cops,” she said of the rioters. “They know that they are not in jeopardy because the cops are taking selfies with them, walking them down the steps to make sure they’re not hurt, taking care with their bodies—not like they treated Freddie Gray’s body.” Freddie Gray was the 25-year-old Baltimore resident who, after his arrest in 2015, had his spinal cord gravely injured during what media has described as a “rough ride” in a police van. He was comatose for a week before he ultimately succumbed due to the physical trauma.
Reid then continued by noting the difference between the way officers treat Black protesters and how they interacted with white Trump supporters. “Guarantee you, if that was a Black Lives Matter protest in D.C., there would already be people shackled, arrested or dead,” she said.
During the Black Lives Matter protests decrying the police-involved killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, protestors were shot with rubber bullets and arrested in large groups. According to Forbes, just 52 people were arrested in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, while 289 people were booked there during anti-racist protests on June 1, 2020.
Reid also outlined the experiences of Black women in activism who have had harsh experiences during protests. “Get Brittany Packnett Cunningham on here. She’ll tell you how they treated her in Ferguson,” Reid said. “Put Alicia Garza on here. She’ll tell you how they treated her at every Black Lives Matter march. Get Patrisse Cullors on. They’ll tell you. They’ll tell you what it feels like to ‘protest’ peacefully and unarmed and how the police will treat you if you’re Black.”
In 2014, President Obama spoke out against the use of excessive police force in Ferguson specifically, saying, “There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.” Citizens country-wide gathered in Ferguson to protest after the killing of Michael Brown by police.
Reid closed by saying, “They aren’t afraid of the cops because they know the cops are cool with it.”
Watch Reid’s full speech below.