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America's Embrace of Willful Ignorance

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  • These new great men are great because of what makes them similar to the mass --a kind of crude common sense, brutality, and lack of culture. The handling of affairs may make then admirably cunning and remarkably good at the practice of politics. But to maintain their prestige and power, they must also maintain their lack of culture and brutality. They must remain primitives. --Jean Guehenno, Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944: Collaboration, Resistance, and Daily Life in Occupied Paris
  • Related: White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It"

Lenore Daniels, OpEdNews If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it. [Credit: Anthony Frieda.]

5/30/2017 | Dark blue signs appeared on so many lawns. Trump/Pence.

"I just grab them by"." "When you're a star, they let you do it."

As I rode pass one lawn after and another, I thought those signs could have read: Whites Only!

Here, in Trump's Kenosha, otherwise known as America's Kenosha, I sit on a seat in the front of the bus. I walk on whatever side of the street suits me. I shop or eat at any store or restaurant downtown. Whites speak to me, and I speak to them. While the calendar indicates this is 2017, I am sure Rosa Parks would be familiar with the status quo here in the heartland of America. In other words, she would recognize white supremacy not only in the war chants of Richard Spencer and his ilk. But more important, Rosa would recognize the way Black Americans are still expected to inhabit a certain place and to do so in a certain way so as to acknowledge allegiance to the supremacy of whiteness.

When I saw all those "Trump/Pence" signs, I recalled those first few weeks when I arrived at a new campus and a new state. I had taught for over ten years by this time. A white colleague and I stood in a hallway at the university here watching predominantly white students walking to and from their classes. They are unsophisticated. I heard her in this noisy hallway, but I did not ask for an explanation. Instead, I felt as if I were miles away from her and these students. I looked closer at the students. They did not see me! I was somewhere where these young white people did not see me! And when they did, they looked down at the top of my head. Lessons from home mattered! Soon I realized the phrase referenced what was no longer contained as something local. After September 11, 2001, when the narrative of the patriotic full-fledged American made my critical critique of American politics and culture suspect and anti-American that same colleague informed me that I "didn't fit it." And this phenomena was neither local or personal either.

Lenore Daniels: Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory

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White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It" Tim Wise, AlterNet

  • It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.
  • Related: ‘We Must Actively Stand Up’: John Angelos’ Response to Racism at Fenway Park