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He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves” perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightened men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.
In the 1930s, Nazi Germany and the American South had the look, in the words of two southern historians, of a ‘mirror image’: these were two apologetically racist regimes, unmatched in their pitilessness.
For many years, I’ve remembered coming across a passage or two in some book about the Nazi reviewing the way slaveholders were able to control large populations of enslaved and “freed” blacks in the US. In a state such as Mississippi, for example, the population of enslaved blacks was larger than that of whites. I was studying the major works of William Faulkner, “Southern Chivalry,” that is, narrative violence, lies, if you like: ladies and gentlemen, the columns of mansions, happy slaves, content blacks, Aunt Jane, Jezebel. The cover up of a crime against humanity. The enslavement of Africans and their decedents. The lie told blacks, victims of the crime, that they were cast aside by the divine, but, lucky for them, blessed to have been saved by the white race. The superior race. Their benefactors.
White purity vs evil blacks. Whiteness vs blackness. Legalize it all.
Unfortunately for me, a paragraph or two isn’t enough evidence to work with; and yet, when you attempt to study enslavement in the works of a 20th Century writer such as Faulkner, you realize “borders” bleed. It’s impossible to limit your attention only to the 1900 to 1945 (an academic restriction). For obvious reasons, slavery doesn’t begin after 1900 or in the US. Everything about the complex institution of slavery, too, isn’t limited to the cruelty of kidnapping, torture, rape, maiming, death.
And then in 2017, I hear about a book examining how the Nazis turned to the US to legal guidance.
Americans in the United States have to be reminded that white supremacy is the foundational bedrock of this nation. In almost two years now, since Trump’s ascendancy to head entrepreneur of white supremacy, Americans (and the world) have listened to a barrage of racist language from the president and racists and their supporters who have been waiting for the lifting of restrictions on their right to speak opening about people of color. Finally they are able to be , again. To act , again. Ramming vehicles into anti-fascist protesters, or mailing explosive devices to former presidents, black politicians, Jewish financiers of liberal causes, and liberal entertainers.
Or just shooting the scourge that obstructs America’s return to greatness. There! Two blacks at a Krogers!
On October 29, days after the massacre of Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh where Robert D. Bowers killed 11 people, when the dead have yet to be buried, the New York Times reports on the spike in internet postings spewing lies. Search for the word “Jews” and, according to the report, some 11,696 posting are displayed, “some with the “hashtag “#jewsdid911,” in which is claimed “Jews orchestrated the Sept. 11 terror attacks.” On Instagram, Nazi ideology appears in the frequent reference to “the number 88, an abbreviation used for the Nazi salute ‘Heil Hitler.’”
There they are again, according to believers like Bowers, who didn’t derive his hate-filled rhetoric from the ether. He’s heard the rhetoric before he could even recite it back himself. So, yes, now, the Jews have financed and are now orchestrating the flow of invaders hellbent on destroying the American way of life–just after every man among the hordes of them rapes American women and pillages every town and city, one home at a time. It’s the Jews, particularly the wealthy Jews, supporters of black and brown folks, who are the enemy within.
I’m more fearful of the immigrants who sailed to American aboard the caravan of Mayflower vessels. Many who followed dragged Africans in shackles from their homes in West Africa to caves such as those in Ghana to ship holes. Quite a few ships. I’m fearful of those immigrants who, during the years of formal slavery in the US, used black labor for free. Hundreds of years of that history on the record books. And even after those years of free labor for capital gain, white America still managed to institutionalize cheap labor from black cotton field workers and imprisoned inmates. I’m fearful of those immigrants who still insist that blacks haven’t done enough to garner the right to air grievances without being accused of boring them, even angering them with “race” issues”
Before the nation came to be called the United States, the matter-of-fact acceptance of white supremacy is present when the rape of Indigenous women become a privilege of war. It’s there with ever bill of sale attached to an African labeled “Jane.” It’s not the opinion of one black or one brown person who, then, is forced to hear, time and time again, “sorry you feel that way.”
It’s lies. Improvised, sometimes, but otherwise ordered, organized, and normalizes. White supremacy is evident in the corruption of the collective thought. Americans have become accustomed to hearing about certain people, hordes of people, caravans of people conspiring to invade the Southern borders of the US. A dangerous from without! One thousand four hundred and nineteen lies were told by the current president of the US in the last seven weeks, according to the Washington Post. In the last 649 days, he told 6,420 lies.
White supremacy is the power to control the image of those at the top within a narrative that justifies and ultimately legitimizes the use of violence against those deemed “other.”