Frantz Fanon, #BlackLivesMatter, and American Exceptionalism

In my bedroom hangs a poster with the first and last chapter of Frantz Fanon’s book, The Wretched of the Earth. I received it as a gift after seeing the film, Concerning Violence, which I cannot recommend enough. As I looked at it again today, I was struck by these words,

“Two centuries ago, a former European colony took it into its head to catch up with Europe. It has been so successful that the United States of America has become a monster where the flaws, sickness, and inhumanity of Europe have reached frightening proportions.”(The Wretched of the Earth, 236-7)

This reminds me again that the US has never been great, but a monster from the beginning. It rears its ugly head when our justice system refuses to condemn any police officer in the murders of Freddie Grey or Tamir Rice or Sandra Bland. And the US defends this monster by repeating, especially at conventions, the lie of American Exceptionalism.

 

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We’ve got to get over ourselves.