Fascism isn’t on the way. It’s already here.
[TW: This essay contains discussion of racist and anti-Semitic violences, including assault, arson, and murder]
“They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism... They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church was a white terrorist attack that killed four Black girls in September of 1963. In his eulogy for two of the girls, Dr. King called the congregation and all who would listen to examine the very system of white supremacy, not just the terrorists that it produces. In examining the system, and its emissaries, we reject the scapegoating “lone wolf” claims because we recognize that the entire system is a ravenous beast with a multitude of arms.
Three separate instances of white supremacist terrorist violence made headlines last week: a man declared “All Jews must die” before opening fire and killing 11 people in a Jewish Synagogue, a man killed two random Black shoppers at a Kroger––“Whites don't shoot whites,” he allegedly told a witness––after he first tried to enter a Black church and found the doors locked, and a rabid Trump supporter mailed at least 14 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and vocal Trump critics, but his entire kill list included over 100 potential targets––political figures, entertainers, and journalists. These are not unrelated incidents because they are all acts carried out in service of the beast that is white supremacy, and in the U.S., Trump is its most emblematic ambassador.
Trump has run a campaign and maintained a platform built entirely on the strength of what I termed as apocalyptic whiteness in an essay on the racial implications of “The Girl With All The Gifts”.
“I call this panic apocalyptic whiteness––a compulsory obsession with the white genocide mythos that is rooted in racism, xenophobia, and nationalism, often with violent retaliation against the idea of ‘diversity'."
Apocalyptic whiteness actively seeks to hinder, not only the prosperity, but survival of non-white people for fear of their own extinction; from ethnic cleansing and forced sterilization, to enslavement and concentration camps, to immigration bans and deportation. Borders are a tool of apocalyptic whiteness. As are prisons and immigrant detention centers. As are gerrymandered school districts. As are the suburbs. As is gentrification.”
As are voter suppression tactics. As are acts of white terrorism. As is the rhetoric that provokes this terrorism. White American conservatives and those who theorize about them may call it economic anxiety, or patriotism, but it is undoubtedly a fear of losing power and status, and their reaction to that visceral fear is apocalyptic whiteness, an effort to stall or completely derail what they see as the end of the world and the end of whiteness as they know it.
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