On Concentration Camps and Corrupted Identities
American propaganda is so real that before I spoke a lick of English I could’ve sworn gringos were a brilliant, supernatural species. My family that’d been to the States lied to me. The only things they’re superior in is their brutality and lying about it.
There are so many things that are downright mind-boggling and maddening here. Like moving the goal-post with the definition of terms and erasing barbaric histories. And it’s not just gringos that are guilty of this—our people are, too, to numerous degrees.
Take the identity of the indigenous people of the Americas, for instance. Most people really believe that the Brown people crossing the border aren’t natives to this hemisphere. Those poor people fleeing violence, abject poverty, imperialism, and picking your crops, raising your children, rebuilding and maintaining this nation are literally Native Americans. They are natives. They are natives to this side of the world. And the only thing that separates them from US-born natives is an imaginary line that Europeans drew. So, yes, America is still exterminating, exploiting, and caging both North and South American Natives. Natives with Spanish surnames are still natives. This continent belongs to them. We’re the aliens here.
I’ve been talking about this for years.
Erin McKenna and Scott L. Pratt aptly summed it up in their American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present book:
It is also apparent that the shared history of the hemisphere is one framed by the dual tragedies of genocide and slavery, both of which are part of the legacy of the European invasions of the past 500 years. Indigenous people north and south were displaced, died of disease, and were killed by Europeans through slavery, rape, and war. In 1491, about 145 million people lived in the western hemisphere. By 1691, the population of indigenous Americans had declined by 90-95 percent, or by around 130 million people.
Today, those indigenous people are still being brutalized, displaced, imprisoned and gaslighted. And both conservatives and liberals are not just capitulating to those who are committing these barbaric acts, but they’re also willful participants by corrupting terms and identities we all know the meaning of. Take the recent debate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had with Dick Cheney’s daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney, in regards to the definition of concentration camps:
We are debating the definition of a term to humanize and dehumanize human beings. And Dick Cheney’s daughter took it upon herself to “school” a Brown woman as to why she couldn’t call what the Trump administration is doing to women, men, and children a concentration camp. No people have a monopoly on the term. But many conservatives, as well as liberals, believe Jewish folks do.
Mike Godwin, the originator of Godwin’s Law, has suspended it and advised us to call these white supremacists Nazis. Here’s a quick definition of it: “The theory that as an online discussion progresses, it becomes inevitable that someone or something will eventually be compared to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis, regardless of the original topic.”
In true form, he had to correct liberal media baby, Chris Hayes, about the meaning of concentration camps.
That ratio is vicious. The same one another liberal media baby, Chuck Todd, is getting, for his smug, paternalistic, racist, mansplaining outburst after finding out AOC said “The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border. And that is exactly what they are. They’re concentration camps.” in one of her Instagram live stories. Even willfully perpetually lost and wrong, the liberal paper of record, The New York Times, calls them Migrant Detention Centers instead of concentration camps. Again, so as not to offend the sensitivities of conservatives who don’t give a shit about Jewish people, but they sure love to use the identity of Jewish people as a persecuted people to punch down on other marginalized, persecuted people. Not one soul that supports an administration that thinks people chanting “Jews will not replace us” has good people on their side is to be taken seriously, yet here we are. This country is a whole-ass confederacy of gaslighters.
The real kicker to all of this is that Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by the way the United States IDed and treated its Black and Brown people. This has been widely reported and covered. Here, here, here, here, here, here… In his Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography, John Toland States the following:
He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.
Hitler and his legions of monsters admired the United States. Perhaps a reason why it looked away (and turned away many Jewish refugees escaping death) during those years when Nazis reigned supreme. The United States of America has never been a friend to the persecuted and marginalized. That includes Jewish folks—whose identity as a persecuted and marginalized people is now being used to silence, to gaslight, to dismiss the persecution, the displacement, and marginalization of other oppressed people. It’s ugly. It’s revolting. It’s brilliant. But brilliant in its brutality.
Even Bernie Sanders, someone who really should know better, is now distancing himself from AOC’s use of the term:
I have a lot of respect for Alexandria and I think she’s doing a fantastic job. What I will tell you is that we are locking up children and keeping them in deplorable conditions for weeks in places that are not meant for kids, and that is absolutely unacceptable.
Yeah, O.K. Bernie. The man is great with his class-based politics, but in matters of race, when it has nothing to do with the marginalization of Jewish folks (he supports reparations for them but not for African Americans) or this magical-rising-tide-lifting-all-oppressed-boats, he is terrible.
I am, perhaps, one of a handful of non-Jewish advocates that throws down for Jewish folks. I’ve debated, insulted, lectured, pushed back, and blocked anti-Semites for years. I occasionally let my networks know that antisemitism won’t be allowed in my presence—not on my watch. And it’s sad that all of this must be stated, but I know how the internet works and how people are always ready to come in bad faith to find holes or supposed omissions in your arguments to dismiss them completely. So, to cover all the bases, please look through this slideshow of posts I’ve made in support of the Jewish community throughout the years:
That said: Jewish folks don’t have a monopoly on the “concentration camp” term. I don’t believe any atrocity that happened here or across the oceans is bigger than another: The Holocaust, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, slavery, the genocide of Native people, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq, countless wars, coups, invasions, displacements, kidnappings, assassinations, bombings...
We, as a persecuted, marginalized, exploited, and gaslighted people, need to really look within ourselves and come to terms with the fact that we are looking to be in the graces of white supremacy, believing it won’t come after us if we punch down on others, but we think wrong. Once they are done with a group, any group, they’ll come after us. White supremacy is only loyal to itself.
Today we might get a bone for nefarious purposes, but tomorrow, we will be the ones who are getting crushed. It starts with the dehumanization of people (through language, through words, through the meaning of terms) and escalates to full-blown extermination.
Take it from us, take it from the numerous Jewish folks who recognize evil when they see it and vocalize it, take it from The Auschwitz‑Birkenau Memorial and State Museum:
Don’t just sit there. Join us.
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