black child standing near "colored" fountain

As an Indigenous Black woman, I find myself completely unsurprised about current events: the Nazi demonstrations, the election of a white, narcissistic, and nepotistic POTUS who is nothing more than a blithering braggart in the wake of the first Black president, the idiosyncrasy of white women whose brand of feminism and fragility simultaneously purports agency while disavowing that they are agents of white supremacy, and other miscellaneous mayo mediocrities wherein white people subvert or transmute their welfare at our (and sometimes, their own) expense under fundamentalist pretexts of eugenics, Christianity, androcentrism, and rape apologismall of which were the advent of colonialism and eurocentrism.

As somebody who studies history, I am surprised by neither the not-so-subtle Nazi endorsements by President Trump nor the false equivalencies by centrists who prefer to condemn “both sides.” What unnerves me are the ardent declarations that Americans (and pretty much all white people), particularly liberals and centrists, are somehow morally superior to Nazis despite their white supremacist sentiments and systems— that they toil over the toxicity of Nazism when they themselves are toxic.  

black and white photo of the USS Arizona  BB 39America was never truly against Nazis. It was Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Air strike against the U.S. naval base in Hawaii,that prompted America’s involvement in WWII. The attack led them to battle alongside the Allies—England, France, and Russia—against the entire Axis tripartite which included Japan. Warring against Germany and Italy were simply apart of the package deal. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was neutral, despite Germany’s genocide and Italy’s fascism which included invasions of Europe and Japan, as well as reigns of terror throughout Asia. The U.S. was only inclined to act on their own behalf.

This is why narratives akin to Inglourious Basterds, Fury, Band of Brothers, etc. strike me as, quite frankly, comical. There is an appeal in living vicariously through heroes and heroines (however fictive) blasting through Nazis, but the reality is that Americans were not nearly as keen to battle Nazis during WWII as these stories would suggest. Interests similar to Nazism and other ideological incarnations of white supremacy were foundational to America’s colonialism, enslavements, and continued existence. The ensuing violence throughout the Civil Rights movement following WWII and the pervasive racism experienced by non-white American soldiers in subsequent wars is a testament to the contradiction in casting the U.S. in the role of championing racial—if any—equality against the evils of Nazis.

White liberals and centrists demonize Nazis in order to publicly distance themselves, even while romanticizing the atrocious vision of Americana that relies on white supremacy. The current complacency of Caucasoid America denies and ignores the fact that colonialism enabled white people, Nazis and otherwise, to occupy and pillage Indigenous lands while denouncing “illegals” and refugees.

Militaristically, Americanism is operant upon the violation and destruction of non-white bodies, and that is accounted for time and time again when referencing its international opponents in wars or domestic colonialist crusades. Few people cite the reality of Red Summer, My Lai, and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. Despite the looped commercials for child sponsorship in Africa, few people fail to note America’s apathy during the Rwandan and Sudanese genocides in addition to their own culpability in the continent’s dearth as they siphon its resources. Recall the original intent of the police force as slave patrols; the very same police forces which brutalize us as they serve and protect hate groups’ right to “free speech.” Note the vehemence and vitriol that ensued on their behalf via the “Blue Lives Matter” devouts. I am unsure if this staggering lack of awareness is a matter of an inability for people to draw very these parallels and critically consider context at large, or if people prefer to supplant reality with willful, blissful ignorance.

It is sheer farce that (white) Americans and other whites altogether claim some moral high ground over Nazis as they have historically been, and presently are, conservative against efforts of revolution or reform. And, they are conservative in ultimately striving to conserve systems that accord and assure their privileges. Particularly, those who cite eurocentric respectability politics to legitimize their complicity or decry folks like myself who do not oblige their saltine sensibilities otherwise. The idea that America would ever actually —actually, as in truthfully and realistically—denounce a dogma like Nazism, when America itself was founded and sustained through similar principles of white supremacy, genocide, internment, and enslavement, is laughable.

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