The Capitol Siege Through the Eyes of a Group Chat

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By Rosie Savelson, Staff Writer

My large family group chat (originally containing 20 people, now only 19) exploded after yesterday’s events at the Capitol. All of us were equally disgusted, but some focused on a half-joking comment my older cousin made about white supremacists being shot. They were upset and thought he was encouraging senseless violence. One family member expressed his disapproval by leaving (“I am deleting myself from this text group of immature nonsense”). The conversation spiralled away from where it had begun– with our mutual denouncement of the extreme hypocrisy and blatant white supremacy on display in DC– and morphed into a back-and-forth of different interpretations of my cousin’s singular text. At this point another person left briefly, then returned, ratcheting our chat back up to 19 (and then he got accidentally deleted by my step grandmother). Most of us were upset at the direction our conversation had taken. Instead of the historical event we had all just lived through, instead of the rampant anti-Blackness these rioters expressed with their Confederate flags, instead of their shirts reading “Camp Auschwitz” and “6 million wasn’t enough”(as Jews, we weren’t surprised), we were focusing on a sarcastic text that had been misinterpreted. 

I’m going to overanalyze some stuff, so buckle up. To me, this entire interaction was more funny than anything else, but it represents an issue within almost every community. Infighting is a plague; we find it much easier to police each other’s reactions and attitudes than we do to criticize the larger systems at work. I don’t want this to come off the wrong way– checking and calling out the language and behavior of individuals, especially those close to us, is important. I’m not talking about when an older family member says something transphobic, or cancel culture at all. I’m talking about disagreements within communities; different reactions, different perspectives, sarcastic texts that get misinterpreted. This is a function of white supremacy and many other oppressive systems: to divide the oppressed into smaller and smaller factions, forever fighting with each other instead of recognizing the true threats against them.

Featured Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP