In the Era of Donald Trump’s racism, why are we Americans comparing the detention of Hispanic immigrants seeking asylum to the Jewish Holocaust, when America has its own gruesome history of detaining, killing, and enslaving people which precedes the Holocaust?
The Jewish Holocaust didn’t happen in America. It happened across Europe and Nazi Germany between 1941 to 1945. And while the Holocaust is an important part of world history, we here in American should not use it as a metric or reference point for how bad things are here in America today. America has its own sins we need to give an account for.
I can’t understand why we Americans so quickly defer to Nazi Germany when calling the racism of White Nationalist leaders, their overt nationalized racial hate, an illegal immigrant detainment, and genocide here in our nation. America has its own, long history Holocausts activities, we just call our atrocities by another name. Most times, we Americans act as if our own atrocities never happened, and that’s a huge problem.
When we forget, we are ignoring our own past, giving preference to European history instead of delving into our own savageness. It’s a savageness that has been a consistent throughout American and world history.
Slavery was America’s second Holocaust, and it happened here beginning around 1619 and it lasted until about 1865, and longer in some parts of the deep South, long before the Holocaust. The estimated number of Africans killed during the transatlantic slave trade varies anywhere between 6–150 million depending on the source. The official UN estimate is 17 million. Slavery is still fresh on the minds of African-Americans because some of us are just two generations removed from it.
Human were beings taken against their will were slaughtered, enslaved, tortured, raped, and separated from their families because of the color of their skin in the name of God in American, but as usual, White and White passing America have the luxury of casually forgetting.
Yes, slavery happened 400 years ago, but we haven’t gotten over it. We still haven’t received a formal apology by the entire Congress or a sitting President. The lack of interest in acknowledging the African Holocaust that happened here in America gives the appearance that these atrocities don’t matter. It’s a microaggression. White America’s forgetting and moving on to the Jewish Holocaust is deliberate.
America’s original sin was the massacres of America’s Native Indians. I call it the American Indian Holocaust, America’s first Holocaust. The slaughtering of millions of American Indians happened here, in America, during the European colonization which began around 1622. Unarmed Native American women, children, and elders were prisoners of war by colonists and the colonizing military forces. They imprisoned American Indians for existing on their own lands.
So how did the Jewish Holocaust supersede the massacring of millions of American Indians? To forget our own atrocities is yet another microaggression upon America’s indigenous people. A people, much like African Americans still living with the traumas of displacement, assimilation, and disenfranchisement.
Why do we forget some darker-skinned human suffering so easily? Likewise, why do we recall the suffering of our fair-skinned brethren with such ease? It’s because even the ways we remember world history is racist.
Why is the suffering of the fairer-skinned victims in Europe more memorable than the atrocities committed against darker-skinned victims here on our own soil? Why does European history supersede American history? It’s likely because America is racist in all of her ways, even how she remembers history. White Supremacy has always determined whose history is worthy of remembering.
Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it every generation.
The winner of the war gets to write history and control destiny for a season. Europeans have had the pleasure of writing their stories and deciding which of our stories gets retold. The very mention of the Holocaust by Whites describing the mass killings and the detention of Hispanic immigrants without acknowledging the playbook for the Holocaust was developed right here in America centuries before, illustrates just how entrenched White and White passing Americans are in erasing parts of American history. It’s classic White Supremacy. The lack of recall is the main reason we all continue to fight the same battles.
I find it rather disheartening to see Blacks and other People of Color in America abet Whiteness in retelling and neglecting their own history. I suppose it’s because they see America as one of the ally saviors of World War II, and not impediments to the freedom of others. How quickly we forget nearly all the World War II ally saviors Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin were all racist. The saviors of Jews were in fact oppressors to other ethnic groups in their own countries. History always needs context, but you must do the work to get that yourselves.
Black and Brown people glossing over American genocides in favor of retelling and recalling European history is helping Whiteness wipe away their own history. That’s pretty damned deep I’d say.
In no way am I saying that the Holocaust didn’t happen. I’m not saying it wasn’t wrong. I’m not overlooking Jewish deaths, torture, kidnapping, or internment camps. I’m not advocating an oppression Olympics. I’m also not saying it wasn’t one of the most terrible atrocities in modern history. I’m asking how did the European Holocaust and Jewish atrocities supersede America’s African and Native American Holocaust?
The powers that be are always working to erase the suffering of Black and Brown people in America. We must not forget our own history. Forgetting our own history allowed the Tea Party to flourish, allows Southern Strategy politics to continue, and allows racism, American White Nationalism, and White Supremacy to remain strong. Forgetting all of this got us Donald Trump. The media aids in our ignorance.
Erasing our history keeps us bound. Forgetting our history keeps us oppressed. Allowing Whiteness to recall history puts us all in danger. Putting others before ourselves keeps us last. Blatantly overlooking our history in favor of European history is an extension of White Supremacy. Forgetting our own history means evil and racism wins. We must recognize it. We must call it out, and we must learn our own history so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes.
Every generation fights racism. Coretta Scott King said “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. you earn it and win it every generation.” It’s time for us to remember our struggles, as the time has come again for us to fight for our freedom.
We must be careful as we slowly slide back into overt White Supremacy. It’s easy to forget we’ve always been a racist, color-hating nation. Allowing powerful White, White passing people and European immigrants to gloss over American history to retell European history is a form of racism. It’s a racist microaggression that if not called out will continue.
The Holocaust happened after the American Indian massacres and slavery in America.
Jewish concentration camps came after the interlopers made American Indians prisoners of war and long after slaves were chained, piled into ships and delivered throughout South America, the Caribbean, and America. Interlopers sold Africans on auction blocks so that Whites alive and to make them wealthy. Entire cities and towns of prosperous Blacks were burned to the ground by racist White men right here in America.
Indian and African children were sold, killed, and used as ransoms by colonizers to force mothers to do unspeakable acts right here in America. Slaves in America were kept in cages, chained like dogs, and separated from their families long before the European Holocaust.
We cannot forget our own atrocities, some of which this country has never repented for. Do not forget American lynchings. We cannot forget our own church bombings and cross burnings. We cannot forget how and why ghettos exist. Let’s not forget the Japanese-internment camps or the Trail of Tears. Remember how America discriminated against the Irish, Italians, Koreans, Arabs, and Hispanics, and don’t forget how those groups now discriminate against Blacks. America has its own dirty crosses to bear. Why are we redirecting to the Jewish Holocaust, when we have a long, ugly history with racial discrimination and concentration camps called by another name?
We all need to be cognizant of the history we recall and careful about using the historical contexts of politicians and pundits. Some of these people are too young and too arrogant to understand how little they know. Some of those we look to for leadership and guidance weren’t taught real American history (which is why they can wear Black face and become governor). Some people glossing over our history do it intentionally. These people are pure evil and they know exactly what they are doing. American history matters, and Americans need to learn it.
America has a habit of forgetting and excluding parts of its history. We must hold her accountable. We must make the world remember, and we must keep America honest.
America has had its own Holocausts, and we all need to remember them.
©2019 Marley K. All rights reserved.