Almost Like the Borders are Not Where We Think They Are At All

Via matttbastard, I discovered “Hidden from History”, exposing the too frequently ignored/denied story of the genocide of indigenous peoples in Canada, and it’s fucking frighteningly recent components. Full length documentary included via google video – I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but I hope to shortly. During the same tour of my feedreader, via Ampersand, I come across this essay on the bullshit that’s being doled out re: Barack Obama’s affiliation with an “angry black preacher man”. Choice quotes:

What Jeremiah Wright knows, and told his flock–though make no mistake, they already knew it–is that 9/11 was neither the first, nor worst act of terrorism on American soil. The history of this nation for folks of color, was for generations, nothing less than an intergenerational hate crime, one in which 9/11s were woven into the fabric of everyday life: hundreds of thousands of the enslaved who died from the conditions of their bondage; thousands more who were lynched (as many as 10,000 in the first few years after the Civil War, according to testimony in the Congressional Record at the time); millions of indigenous persons wiped off the face of the Earth. No, to some, the horror of 9/11 was not new. To some it was not on that day that “everything changed.” To some, everything changed four hundred years ago, when that first ship landed at what would become Jamestown. To some, everything changed when their ancestors were forced into the hulls of slave ships at Goree Island and brought to a strange land as chattel. To some, everything changed when they were run out of Northern Mexico, only to watch it become the Southwest United States, thanks to a war of annihilation initiated by the U.S. government. To some, being on the receiving end of terrorism has been a way of life. Until recently it was absolutely normal in fact.

But white folks have a hard time hearing these simple truths. We find it almost impossible to listen to an alternative version of reality. Indeed, what seems to bother white people more than anything, whether in the recent episode, or at any other time, is being confronted with the recognition that black people do not, by and large, see the world like we do; that black people, by and large, do not view America as white people view it. We are, in fact, shocked that this should be so, having come to believe, apparently, that the falsehoods to which we cling like a kidney patient clings to a dialysis machine, are equally shared by our darker-skinned compatriots.

Country names, specific historical references and current event anecdotes interchangeable. It’s a great essay, but it should be a simple concept – my country is not the country that exists for First Nations people, or other POC. What I learned in history class is not their history. Why anybody finds it shocking to figure that out is beyond me.

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