Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: IU students fear Inauguration Day after Capitol riots

President-elect Joe Biden adjusts his face mask as he leaves the Queen Theater on Dec. 7 in Wilmington, Delaware.
President-elect Joe Biden adjusts his face mask as he leaves the Queen Theater on Dec. 7 in Wilmington, Delaware.

After a long election season, full of false claims by elected officials and close races, Inauguration Day is finally here. It has been a long few months, but tomorrow afternoon, a new administration will take office.

IU students have hesitations coming into Inauguration Day, largely a result of an attempted coup of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 by Trump supporters. Dozens of police officers were seen allowing people through barricades and even taking photos with rioters. 

Related: [COLUMN: Damage to Capitol art represents rioters’ poor morals]

With the inauguration approaching, minority students should take precautions around Bloomington. 

Graduate student Carrington Smith said he is anxious the inauguration may consume people and result in hateful decisions.

“The storming of the Capitol was a big contradiction and was about people being upset from the recent election,” Smith said. 

Sophomore Mya Hammons said she believes the riots illuminated the hypocrisy of the U.S. 

“If this riot was performed by Black people, they would have not lived through this historical moment, Hammons said. “It demonstrates the downfall of our country from the span of this four-year presidency.” 

This past Independence Day, there was an attempted lynching of a Black man, Vauhxx Booker, in Bloomington. Two white men were filmed attacking Booker in the woods at Lake Monroe. These actions show the real dangers and exemplify distress to the Black community. This hate crime brings to light the potential danger minority students could face during inauguration week.

Even when Joe Biden becomes president Wednesday, minority students still fear that those who occupied the Capitol will attack their communities. 

“Honestly, I have high hopes that our country will move forward with a new face to represent us,” Hammons said. “But I do fear those that morally do not agree with what is next for us and what actions they may take part in to express their countering feelings.” 

Despite the current political climate, it’s important to remain optimistic about the future, Hammons said. 

“Coming into the inauguration week, I feel relieved that our country will begin to prioritize the needs of the people,” Hammons said. 

Minority students often deal with discrimination from other IU students on campus, which affects how they view the coming days as a new administration takes office. 

During his sophomore year, a car drove up to Smith in the IMU parking lot. The driver rolled down the window and called him the N-word. 

“I froze up and felt disheartened that it happened to me,” Smith said. “IU emphasizes diversity but their students are acting otherwise.” 

Smith said the demographics of the new administration make him cautious. He believes this could be a groundbreaking moment or just another page in the history book.  

“Considering Kamala will be our first African American vice president, it makes me cautious to stay home during the inauguration,” he said. 

Students said they fear being involved in racially charged incidents, with intolerant people around the country emboldened as a result of Trump invalidating the integrity of the election. 

“I am not excited about the inauguration, just on the edge to see what happens,” Hammons said. “Taking the time to be optimistic but curious to see how politics will play out starts with policy change.”


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