Thank you for this great, honest piece, and for taking the time to write about your experience. I completely agree: the fundamental backdrop of the nation is fascist/white supremacist. One of our biggest problems — and one of the reasons it’s survived — is because the cloak of deception called ‘equality’ allows the dominant group an excuse when forced to face reality. So, it is the deception that allows this to continue, and this actual deception is negotiated psychologically as ‘ignorance.’
Naming continuation of white supremacy through purported unknowing ‘ignorance’ is YET ANOTHER form of white privilege — it allows white people to feel that they’re not really guilty of participating in white supremacy because, as Tommy Curry puts it, they’re just innocent angelic ‘cherubs.’ They just didn’t know. This attitude allows for the continuation of white supremacy just as does active exclusion, and it’s a deformation of the word ‘ignorant,’ which most people perceive as a true ‘not knowing’ due to lack of information or education. ‘Ignorance’ as we use it in reference to white people is not simply not knowing, or not having the educational material to make the proper conclusion, it is an active need to maintain power AND maintain one’s own benevolent perception of self. It’s multilayered deception that protects oneself from one’s own immoral choices.
I’m so glad that you brought out the long-standing reality of white supremacy, and the fact that Hitler praised overt white supremacists, because it locates the collective deception so well. The collective deception of white Americans is that ‘we are the good people eliminating fascism in Europe,’ when as you point out, Hitler turned to American books for his education. Specifically, he referred to Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race, published in 1924 as a reaction to the increase in immigration that was happening at that point, and Hitler called it an American ‘Bible’ in Mein Kampf, which he published several years before he came into power. He referred to Grant and American white supremacy as a sort of mentor to him.
Again, it is collective ignorance that allows white people to feel like America is ‘suddenly’ fascist. A long list of American leaders have made white supremacy and the maintenance of white collective power their priority, and they continue to do so. As you point out, Trump is only bringing it out.
Thank you again for digging into what must be very painful memories to bring your embedded, authentic experiences to the public. I’ve benefited so much from hearing your lived experience. These stories are so important!