An Open Letter to the US (Trigger Warning)

Dear Citizens of the United States of America,

Don’t tell me Nazis are not in the US, actively working on killing people withtheir virulent hatred. I have met them. Don’t tell me that other hate groups don’t exist. I am tired of hearing other white people tell me that what I have learned by listening to black and brown people is not true. I am tired of hearing that what I have seen for myself is not true. My ears and eyes may see differently than yours, but this does not mean that my being aware and having known a bonafide Nazi, a man proud of his loyalties to “The Great Adolf Hitler” isn’t true.

Don’t tell me that because we are in the US we are safe. The WE in that statement precludes immediately every minority group. If We are so safe then why do people die in the streets, murdered out of a hatred based on who they were born? I have known many great people but yes, I knew a Nazi. A man that was not born in Germany, though his father was. A man raised with the beliefs of Hitler. A man I have written about and how his hate of all things lead to my own destruction. My own memories of being murdered over and over again yet not dying. My own tortures.

My father taught me about the Holocaust, or I never would have learned about it. My father did something my US Education didn’t. Education here is a joke, because we only teach the “comfortable” history that makes Whitey look damned good. I am a white woman. I was raised to believe that you, if you are black, must die. I do not share this belief but I wonder if this has shaped the life I lead, I wonder if it has shaped the lives of my siblings. I wonder too how my mother really thinks. Is she too a Nazi sympathizer secretly wishing that Hitler had won his evil campaign to slaughter an entire culture?

For me the entire idea of race itself is racist. Racism is the only word I have that fits into that slot. I don’t believe Race is anything outside of a social construct to belittle, demonize, dehumanize, and wrest unfair power from others. It’s highly effective propaganda that we absorb greedily. We in this context are white people, people taught we have no race. Sorry. I do. I am white. Yes, I see skin color. I can’t not. I am aware that even if I were to go blind my knowledge of how race works would not change. My goal is to prevent this vision of color from being one of hate.

I don’t recoil from a black man walking down the street. I do a white man. Guess why? The white man is the one that has hurt me. The black man, the asian man, the hispanic man? These are the men that have saved me. These are the man that I see as protectors. Of course I am aware that any male being has the male privilege factor going for them, but that doesn’t preclude whiteness’ existence as a terrorist organization since the inception of an idea for Othering people.

My father, the Nazi. My grandfather I never met? A Nazi. The lie I met as a child… the hatred I saw. The acts of hate that I took part in because my father wanted me to feel things. I unlocked a piece of the mental puzzle. For my entire life I have had a flash of my hands, my bloody white hands dripping with the life blood of a man. A flash of murder? A flash of guilt and pain each time. What have I done? Why don’t I know? What horrors am I capable of.

The flash has had no age imprint, nothing beyond “Murdered him.” Him. A black man. Blood stained hands and a probably dead body. What do I do? Who do I tell? I told someone once and was locked in a seclusion room for three days, at least I think it was three. There’s no time there, just hours, just meals, just an aching terror that if I ever mention this moment again I will go to jail or be murdered for it.

My father the Nazi, socially was considered a great man. He was the type of man that people liked. If they were white and racist. Every church I ever went to? He was the sort they wanted. Every sermon any minister ever gave? Racism racism racism. The black demons are people who aren’t evil. Just black. Just torn from their ancestry by our hatred of the other. I cannot not claim it.

The imprint changed, that little memory. I know what happened now. My father was telling me all about the holocaust while we stole things from a man’s store. This is when I took the hammer. That image of stealing against my will, it has always held for me a more horrible feeling I never understood. My father, the nazi. He taught me to salute, he taught me to be proud of my ancestors for eschewing their Jewish heritage. My father, a son of a German Jew who was willing to sell out his neighbors to hatred to have his judiasm expunged. Who was betrayed. Who was still loyal to a man that when finished with the Jews would target another race, and another until we were extinct. Genocide is species extinction.

The owner of the store heard him tell me how great Hitler was, and how it was good to kill people different than you. My father was whispering but apparently we were suspicious. I remember the look of revulsion on this man’s face. I remember his words. “Hitler was evil, what the hell are you teaching this girl?” The words are burned into my memory forever. This man was black. I was immediately afraid, not of the man but that my father would hurt him. White people, your children FEAR your actions.

My father did hurt him. The details will be spared you but not me. I will see it in my mind forever. I will see him lying there, bleeding, and I will hit him obediently. I will pray to any god that will listen that we get caught. That my evil father can go away. I held on to those words, subconsciously as seeing someone die like I truly think he did haunts you even when you can’t remember the events.

My father. The Nazi. My father the civic leader. My father, the church Deacon. My father, a white man deemed as close to Godly as a minister. In my mind that’s spitting in the face of your god. My father the liar. I found out he always knew where his family was eventually. The lie that we had no family was broken when his brother visited. My uncle, the Nazi. We were screened, tested to see how closely we resembled their desired package, their desired little beasts of murderous evil.

My siblings are blonde haired, green eyed, thin, white. They were given points for being born with the right looks. I am short, my hair is red, my skin is very white, my eyes are blue. I was told then my mother must’ve been a cheating whore for me to be imperfect, despite the fact that really I look like my father. My father the Nazi. My father’s ideal person is the same as Hollywood’s. White. Blonde. Blue eyes are best. Hollywood, fully embracing that same ideal person as Hitler. Americans, as you call yourself in short hand ignoring how many countries are on both America continents, embrace this. We teach it. We live it. We white people are awfully Nazi like.

I am tired of internalized hatred. I am tired of seeing the look in the eye of a young black woman seeing someone different, someone who most likely will hurt her coming if I am near. I am tired of my skin being a mark of hate. I am trying to change this but there is so much evil in this world that is ignored. The evil is now other. People in the US are never as evil as a Nazi, I hear this all the time. My father identified as one. He was born in Hackensack New Jersey.

So yes, Nazis in the US exist. The US has it’s own violent history of oppression that is along a very similar path to Hitler’s. One man has yet to rise in such a way here but many have tried and keep trying. Are you going to someday have your little son or daughter realize you are a member of the KKK? That’s a terrorist group. Are they going to embrace it too? What if because you ignore race so hard your racism pours out your pores that they become members of the KKK despite your thinking that’s bad?

It’s time that we acknowledge en masse the hate. I am tired of being hated for knowing by whiteness. I am tired of whiteness. I am tired of hate. I am just damned tired of the lies. Teach the truth about the Holocaust, from multiple cultural perspectives not just our “Haha we are the best, no need for any other knowledge!” approach. Actually teach your children, our children, about this dangerous legacy. Stop saying we are post racial. We never will be. We may someday be all equals but since Race was created to control, it has become a marker of social and personal identities. Being post racial tries to whitewash, yes white wash, erase, deny, the harms that we have done by saying “It can’t happen here”.

My father was a Nazi. For me, that says it all.

Yours,

Kateryna Fury

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7 Comments

  1. * nodding *

    This is why I try to talk to my niece about race. Oh, of course her parents are raising her to “not see color” but that’s a load of crap. She knows that some people have peach skin and some people have brown skin, and she knows that they are treated differently based on that. For heaven’s sake, she has maybe 10 brown people in her whole neighborhood, a neighborhood that is strategically located as far away from the “brown” side of town as possible!

    But you can’t erase bad things by pretending like they didn’t exist. Slavery happened in the US, the worst kind of slavery that the world has ever seen, and genocide too. Pretending like everything is fine now is ridiculous. And the WORST thing we can do is tell ourselves that the Holocaust could never happen here – because then we won’t see the demon in us that all human beings have that made both the Jewish and the Native American Holocausts possible in the first place.

  2. I agree that race is a concept based on intolerance, but I feel that it has to be acknowledged in terms of privilege matters because of what you mentioned. Racism is still abound and I feel that saying that our times are “post-racial” enables racism as well as sweep its victims under the rug.

  3. I agree completely, and I have a post about that fomenting. I found out today that the local university is having White History Week. Cause you know, all the history they teach (I have attended there) isn’t white? It is. I didn’t learn anything about black history outside of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks until I started hunting down those books. Lets just say I am going to call them out on their racism. It will be interesting to see how they handle that, because I am going to send them a letter.

  4. Exactly. I made the mistake of turning on the TV and with a bunch of little things I felt like exploding over the entire “post racial” issue. If we are so post racial, why is there still hate crime? It’s that simple for me. I also feel erased in that way, because being raised to be a Nazi (still makes me gag to admit that) and to hate on that deep a level has a bad effect, and I know that this hate feeds off of the idea of post racial because if it doesn’t exist you can get away with anything. It scares me.

  5. @Kateryna Fury: Interestingly enough, some black people refer to MLK and Rosa Parks, among the other few black people actually talked about during Black History Month, the “token Negroes” because they are the “tokens” of black people actually given a large amount of coverage in terms of discussions of history.

  6. Thank you for this post. Last week my friend jokingly called a guy who refused to give her water “a water Nazi” (it is very silly) and all I could do is tell her WHY is it important not to trivialize something as horrendous as the Holocaust while I seethed in rage.

    Every time I talk about not trivialising Nazi history, people around me say “Why do you care. As Indians, we have nothing to do with Jews or White people”. Every time all I can reply is it matters to us as HUMANS. I’m definitely going to bring up your post. A lot.

  7. I am glad that there is a direct resource being made with this letter. I just got so angry because I turned on my TV and I needed to vent. There were six “Nazi’s are a myth” type conversations offline, online, on TV, and in a few blogs (not any I link to or mention here for that reason) and I felt like my head was going to explode.

    I think the food nazi stereotype joke has started because of Seinfeld(Not sure that is spelled right). That show had an episode where an Armenian man (that’s the accent he had anyway) was accused of being a nazi because he had poor interaction skills and wouldn’t sell his soup to just anyone. There is this conception that at least people in the US have where if a single member of a group (in this case a Jew) makes a joke about something that effects them or everyone on such a deep level it becomes safe territory to joke about. Of course this idea ignores internalized Isms, and feeds the Ism and Oppression factories.

    I think that any non white group is under a larger threat from accepted Nazism, based simply on the ideals of the Nazis. If the ideal human is a white blonde male, then anyone who is not white is going to be exterminated first. That alone terrifies me, and truly should terrify everyone. Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting! I am honored.


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