Incendiary Writings # 1: The American Luxury of Forgetfulness

Please Don’t Read this !!

“Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”
Frantz Fanon

The relationship between memory and history in the United States is a tricky one. There are many aspects of our own history that  are purposefully not taught in schools. As an A+ honor student who actually enjoyed reading the textbook I thought that I need American history. It wasn’t until I looked at my own history and  delved deeper into other books that I found a huge disparity, and of course sadness. Howard Zinn says it quite well:

My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.

The Luxury of Forgetting

A friend told me a beautiful story of his Jewish relative that was able to escape the Nazis and come to America. What he loved so much about this country is that one could forget about the past and start anew.
It’s a beautiful story, one I cannot related to. I love this country more so than anyone else in my generation, but my love for it comes from my inability to forget. This luxury of forgetting doesn’t extend to everyone here. Ask a native American if you can find one. As the Sikh community in Wisconsin. Ask the neighbors, friend and relatives of Amadou Diallo
Amadou Bailo Diallo (September 2, 1975 – February 4, 1999) was a 23-year-old Guinean immigrant in New York City who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999 by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers who fired a combined total of 41 shots, 19 of which struck Diallo, outside 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Soundview section of The Bronx. All four officers were acquitted at trial in Albany, New York. Diallo was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and a firestorm of controversy erupted subsequent to the event as the circumstances of the shooting prompted outrage both within and outside New York City. Issues such as police brutality, racial profiling, and contagious shooting were central to the ensuing controversy.

En Revanche

En revanch in French means on the other hand. One thing also I think we need to keep in mind is that every group of people that came to this country got tarred and feathered for a while, The Irish , the Italians, the German immigrants before the world wars etc. It is important to remember that as well.

My dilemma is how does one preserve the memories of the past without taking away from the complexity of issues and peoples involved in those issues.I always go back to Franz Fanon’s criticism of communism that a class less society isn’t a raceless society. I don’t have answer of course, but I know what works for me and that is relentless questioning, and never taking things to be at face value, the clearer I see things the better I can make sure I am not infringing on some one’s rights when I act.

What kills Progress

There is one thing though I found that’s a barrier to progress the mentality many of my fellow country men have. I like to call it, the get over it mentality can I give you an example:

  • Slavery ended over 100 years ago, get over it,
  • Obama is Black no one is oppressing you, get over it
  • There is help for the poor, they need to stop beign lazy and get over it
  • There have been too many holocaust movies, they need to stop and get over it
  • Immigrants should stop complaining, everyone here gets the same treatment – get over it
  • Those Muslims in the Middle east have oil and money they need to leave us alone and get over our involvement in their affairs since the cold war.
  • Women who dress provocatively, shouldn’t complain when they get raped they need to get over it.

I have heard all these statements and then some more but i wont assault you with then all. Fanon is right, well for me at least, ” Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.  It is not enough to elect Barack Obama and then all racism disappears, it still exists in the minds and hearts of people.

Why am I bringing this up

A Towson University student has proposed a campus White Student Union, leaving administrators and the student government walking a fine line between students’ First Amendment rights and avoiding what many are calling outright racism at the Maryland university.  “Every ethnic group has its own advocacy group but white students don’t,” Matthew Heimbach, a senior studying U.S. history at Towson, told The Huffington Post.

Any time there’s a group with conservative principles and white students standing up for themselves, it’s a battle cry for radical leftists on campus,” Heimbach said. “There’s nothing I could do or say … to try and get these people on the same page as us.”

The Interview & Other Articles

The student in questions gave an interesting interview. I for one feel that people have the right to free speech and to organize. I raise an eyebrow when in a school that is 68% caucasian a guy calling for a white student union invites as his first speaker Jared Taylor to campus. Taylor is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “white nationalist” who has argued black hate crimes against whites exponentially outnumber white-on-black hate crimes. Taylor came to offer support for the proposed White Student Union, claiming it “a spectacular double standard that only whites are singled out and told they can’t have a race-based organization.”

Samuel Jared Taylor (born 1951) of Oakton, Virginia, is an Americanjournalist and an advocate of racial realism, the philosophy that recognizes race as a biological reality and advocates the separateness of racial groups as the key of a well-functioning society.He is known for his advocacy of racial profiling as a valid technique in crime fighting and for his role as a relatively moderate voice in the American white nationalist environment

You can watch the Video here on the Huffington Post . A quote that struck me, probably with fear was when and I paraphrase  “If someone is down with White Culture and wants to promote it then they should feel free to join.”

Where I need Help Understanding

 This is where for me rationality takes a back seat to an emotional response, I don’t know how to phrase this  politically correctly.  I should add some other articles I have seen recently

  1. Supreme Court to Hear Case Brought by White Student Who Claims Race Cost Her Admission to UT

  2. President Obama Accused Of Racism Against Whites In New SuperPAC Web Ad

  3. White People Face the Worst Racism?

I’m at a loss and am unable to see this. It seems like a cruel joke. The Term white culture means something very different to me. I can give you an example when someone tells me that white people, in a predominantly white area are organizing this is what comes to mind:

Jesse Washington, a teenage African-American farmhand accused of raping and murdering the wife of his white employer, was lynched in Waco, Texas, on May 15, 1916. There were no eyewitnesses to the crime, but during his interrogation by the McLennan County sheriff he signed a confession and described the location of the murder weapon. After his sentence was pronounced, he was dragged out of the court by observers and lynched in front of Waco’s city hall. Over 10,000 spectators, including city officials and police, gathered to watch the attack. There was a celebratory atmosphere at the event, and many children attended during their lunch hour. Members of the mob castrated Washington, cut off his fingers, and hung him over a bonfire. He was repeatedly lowered and raised over the fire for about two hours. After the fire was extinguished, his charred torso was dragged through the town and parts of his body were sold as souvenirs. A professional photographer took pictures as the event unfolded, providing rare imagery of a lynching in progress. The pictures were printed and sold as postcards in Waco.

When I see or hear white people gathering together it’s just scary for me. A group of cops looking at me asking me to open my bags, talking to debt lawyers in court.  There is no rational reason aside from inter generational trauma. (Historical trauma (HT) is cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experiences.)

I have many white friends, shit we eat BBQ and listen to rap together I have many white co-workers, cool neighborhoods. I have been fortunate to have been helped by many people of all races. I have no hatred or animosity for anyone.

But if I am anywhere and I see a bunch of white people coming together I will be sweating, running, praying. I think what’s crazy perhaps is that my father would feel the same way, as would my grandfather who was alive during the American Occupation of Haiti. I don’t know any more about my family past my paternal grandfather and maternal great grandmother.

Any thoughts please share,

I am completely at a loss with this issue and it would be nice to hear from someone else



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