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.
Camus, The Plague
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
Q. Whitman, Hitler's American Model
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,
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
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.
just shooting the scourge that obstructs America’s return to
greatness. There! Two blacks at a Krogers!
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.’”
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
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
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…
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,
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
people conspiring to
borders of the US.
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
the last 649 days, he told 6,420 lies.
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.” The power to
control the image and discourse surrounding the “other”
includes what’s exported to the world and what’s imported
to become a part of the way black, brown, Indigenous, women, and
LGTB, for example, see themselves in relationship to white America.
control the collective heartbeat. Who lives. Who dies.
for the purpose of warring against the common good!
the habitable living space, access to clean water and affordable
food, to social services and resources, to inform and to be informed,
to impart and acquire knowledge.
any means necessary, secure the borders, secure the wealth and the
resources! And then what? A fluent flow of human blood between Africa
and the New World testifies to how inconsequential is the concern for
border laws and border patrol when the end game was profitable to the
slaveholding class, most of whom were Founding Fathers and
presidents, in control of the mega narrative.
supremacy’s lies kill. It’s logic is
violence, ordered chaos that normalizes the practice of
discrimination. Murder. What most Americans just woke up to two or
three years ago has been around for a while. Quite a while.
1951, Hannah Arendt was writing about it when she called attention to
how the Jews in South Africa, without a “fetish of race,”
along with the black workers, posed to threat to “racism and
antisemitism,” both major “political weapons of the
Nazis.” The Jews, writes Arendt in The
Origins of Totalitarianism, “entirely
by themselves and without being the image of anything or anybody, had
become a real menace to race society” in Africa. Black workers
were becoming already increasingly “aware of their humanity
under the impact of regular labor and urban life.”
Consequently, as far as the Nazis were concerned, Jews couldn’t
be allowed to make “common cause with the only other group
which slowly and gradually is being won away from race society.”
subsequently singled out for hatred by the Boers, as different
from other “whites” were determined to be a different
Arendt writes. And how could an older people, that is, the Jews, be
convinced by the Boers’ “choseness”?
learned the Boers’ so-called “choseness” is the
result of its leaders denying the “Christian doctrine of the
common origin of men.” So a change in Old Testament passages
resulted in Boers as the chosen people—not by the divine for
divine salvation, writes Arendt, but, instead, the Boers saw
themselves as destined to dominate over “another species that
was condemned...to drudgery.” Another
even human! Now if what want to bring in the divine, then this is
Nazis took note.
colonial possessions became the most fertile soil for the flowering
of what later was to become the Nazi elite.” For the likes of
Carl Peters and Cecil Rhodes, in other words, and their concept of
the “Master race.” Arendt continues, humans could be
converted into races on African soil, even if the Nazi elite
recognized in the Boers, a “savage” people. All the
better to declare the crowning superiority of the Nazis.
oh, where could the Nazis turn to discover a way to solidify their
power, legalize their rightful, if not self-appointed mandate to
control a “race society,” if not to the United States.
September 15, 1935, at an event called the “Party Rally of
Freedom,” in Nuremberg, the Nazi party legalized its war of
hatred and further degradation of its Jewish population. Earlier in
July of the same year, the Nazis established the swastika as the
national emblem of Germany in response to the Breman incident.
the Atlantic, in New York, angry Americans, protested the appearance
of the swastika on the SS
a German ocean liner. The arrested protesters were released, however,
by Louis Brodsky, a Jewish magistrate. The Nazis were not happy. In
retaliation, or, as an excuse to take the next step toward the logic
of white supremacy, the Nazi party removed the conservative
nationalist flag all together and, with fanfare and accompanying
language about uppity Jews, hoisted the Reich Flag.
three years until Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938.
begins James Q. Whitman’s Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law,
Nuremberg, writes Whitman, three laws come into being. The first is
the Flag Law I refer to in the previous paragraph, a result of the
Nazis rejection of the liberal currents in American life,
specifically the place of Jews in American society. In America, on
this day, whatever day decades after the civil war, the Confederate
flag still waves, even on the back of passing pickup trucks in the
northern pines of Wisconsin. As an African American, it’s easy
to see how the swastika becomes synonymous with Nazism, uniforms and
goose-stepping soldiers. But soon, it becomes a symbol of death for
Jews in Europe.
other two laws, Whitman states, actually model America’s race
laws regarding “the right of citizenship” and “the
right to intermarry.” These two laws were not presented to the
world, Whitman adds, as a rejection of American. On the contrary,
Hitler and Göring
expressed friendship toward the Roosevelt administration and the US.
before Nuremberg, Hitler and the Nazis party, looking eastward,
toward Poland and beyond to expand Germany’s “living
back toward the US, to study, writes Whitman, the America’s
“wars on the Native Americans.” Along with the British,
the Nazis recognized Americans as “kindred spirits”:
there was respect for these two nations who not only acknowledged
racial difference and but recognized the necessity of building
control of the many by the few. The Aryan. Superior race.
1928, writes Whitman, Hitler is praising Americans for having
“‘gunned down the millions of Redskins to a few hundred
thousand, [and] now [are able to] keep the modest remnant under
observation in a cage.’”
Hitler, the cages will be concentration camps, not just in Germany,
but throughout Europe.
flags! And Confederate flags were still flying!
legalization of cruelty. Violence.
is and isn’t a citizen of Germany, of Europe.
the US, “de jure” and “de facto” citizenship
for blacks, Filipinos, Chinese, and others, writes Whitman, meant
that these groups were second-class citizens. For the Nazis, this
legal framing of second-class citizenship for Jews was a first step
toward establishing the concentration camps.
addition to framing citizenship in Europe, the Nazis found in the
US’s miscegenation laws a “beacon.” With 30 states
participating in anti-miscegenation laws, and many above the
Mason-Dixon line, the Nazis’ justice minister, Gürtner,
was grateful, writers Whitman. No such laws existed anywhere else.
“When it came to immigration, second-class citizenship, and
miscegenation, America was indeed ‘the classic example’
of a country with highly developed, and harsh race laws in the
1930s.” Nazi lawyers were thankful for a bounty of knowledge it
gleaned from the US. That knowledge is called upon today in Brazil
and in the Philippines, for example. A “mirror image”
attempt to traumatize black and brown and Indigenous children in
school or at the border or on reservations to produce adults too
troubled to resist, no avalanche of personal stories, family
histories about good ole,’ hard working fathers or mothers,
conveyed on public radio, and no amount of devoted piety, fervent
belief in a “higher” being, by white Americans, on
Sundays, or even seven days a week, erases the violence, systemic
violence, of exploitation, exclusion, and death from the historical
lies have been offered to excuse if not downright deny. The
usual fate of inconvenient truths.
institutionalization of racial segregation, of immigration and of
citizenship laws continues the work of targeting human beings white
Americans perceive as threatening, dangerous. Such a system of
discrimination and marginalization is so normalized that whenever
there’s rise of alt-right and fascist and white
nationalism—whatever label you want to apply to these groups
because it makes little difference to dead victims - liberal and even
“Reagan” conservatives point to these groups as
I would ask Rakia Boyd to imagine this, sister. But she’s no
longer alive, is she?
“pure” and “innocent,” as Faulkner would say,
who, running full
the violence inflicted on the victims of regimes such as enslavement
and genocide, turn away in denial. Nonetheless, the blood of
Indigenous, black, and brown victims of militias, of vigilantes, of
law enforcement, of the justice system is what consists of the
Manifest Destiny sent US ships sailing to Eastern and South Pacific
territories, in search of resources to control—in other
people’s living space. There’s blood there too, and the
dead. Planes and bombs and now drones with the logo of US
corporations unabashedly displayed on their sides. We
bring peace! Order!
the “peace” business is a wealthy man’s enterprise.
Jewish bankers were stripped of their wealth in Nazi Germany and
forbidden from doing any business, pogroms to exterminate all Jews
became the “peace” enterprise. For a world suffering from
the hordes of invaders, evil doers, terrorists, the Aryans will be
the restorers of peace—in Europe. Trains commenced the
transportation of Jews to concentration camps while in the US the
lynching of blacks progressed with the regularity of those German
trains. And yet neither the regularity of those trains nor the
visibility of the lynched disrupted the average German’s or
white America’s collective image of themselves as inheritors of
for a while. And only after drastic measures. And even after the last
of the smoking chimneys is sealed off, there’s Atlanta,
Baltimore, Charlottesville, the southern border of Arizona. Puerto
in global corporations, too, is American chivalry that will not
abandon the hateful and cruel tactics necessary for those who’s
values in life center around controlling resources and the resistance
of its victims. Corporations control the message, so few in the media
(controlled by the corporations) want to call it fascism. Trump hails
“nationalism,” that is, white
while attacking black women politicians and journalists, calling them
“low-IQ.” We’re not far from hearing, “enemies
of the people!” And the media, (“enemy of the people,
too!), excluding Fox
features the attacks as “Breaking News.” Stay
victims congratulate other victims who succeed in sporting fine
clothes produced at sweat factories, using the labor of the poor
working class in Bangladesh or India. Entertaining,
if not a sign of progress!
Yemeni babies and children, however, don’t care what
politicians, academics, pundits, and talk show host call the
slaughter that is systematically wiping out their lives. Tortuously,
one breath at a time.
on the market - when America was “great.” But the
moment of oppression from above is the moment resistance rises from