Genocide is the white man’s weapon
If America wanted to stop genocide, it would.

For generations, the American education system neglected to teach its students about the true history behind America’s formation. Textbooks downplayed the slavery of Black Americans and instead perpetuated a theme of African Americans “born to do the white man’s work.” The US weaponized textbooks to preserve the innocence of whiteness and America. Learning about slavery is ugly and unflattering. At least that’s what children were taught through America’s education system. Since January 2021, 35 states introduced more than 100 bills limiting what schools can teach about various topics, American history and race being among them. 

Earlier, students were taught about slavery, sure, but only about the abolitionists who freed slaves, or about the Black people who fled from their oppressors, but never about why they were fighting for their freedom in the first place. Like social media, textbooks provide only as much context that protects the American identity. Textbooks concealed the truth about the extent of America’s role in slavery and de-emphasized the experiences of Black Americans, which only projected a theme of racial dominance in American culture. For years, white supremacy prevailed and still prevails today. Racial dominance is a powerful instrument that precedes America’s history and contribution to enslavement. 

Genocide is another one of America’s most powerful and favoured tools. The US is responsible for centuries of effectuating and overseeing genocide. Yet, many continue today, including the genocides in Palestine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Being the world’s largest economy, the US is undoubtedly more than capable of stopping genocide. But taking accountability or even acknowledging genocide disrupts America’s powerful economy and its culture of white dominance—a risk the US is not willing to take.

An argument I make repeatedly across this editorial is that America has both executed and overseen genocide, including its role in Indigenous erasure. The ethnic cleansing of Indigenous peoples and land theft shaped what America is today, after all. 

When Christopher Columbus first arrived in North America, there were an estimated five million to 15 million Indigenous peoples living on the land. After America sanctioned more than 1,500 massacres, by the late 19th century, fewer than 238,000 Indigenous people remained—one of America’s first and deadliest genocides. According to researchers, Indigenous peoples across the US lost 98.9 per cent of their land since it was occupied.

Indigenous peoples were painted as “pagan savages” who had to be killed in the name of civilization and Christianity. They had dark skin and spoke an unfamiliar language, features that made it easy for the white man to justify genocide and foster racial hatred.

After decades of trauma and Indigenous erasure, America’s reparation lies in the form of land acknowledgements, nothing but a checkmark for many non-Indigenous peoples to tick. Land acknowledgements are inauthentic and do little to describe the impact of America’s ethnic cleansing. I continue to advocate for Indigenous rights, but at the same time, I fear this day is not far for Palestine. 

The genocide against Palestine is multi-faceted; however, I argue one of the reasons why it persists today after years of occupation is because Palestinians are not white. Once again, it is a story of villainizing a race that rises against its white oppressors. If Palestinians were white, the US would not disguise its role in genocide behind the annihilation of Hamas. Instead, the US and Israel harbour a close economic relationship that benefits one another, which is why they are prolonging their genocide in Palestine. 

The US is strategic and knows how to capture a target without massacring thousands of innocent lives. When the US assassinated Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi back in 2019, they captured and killed any fighters who resisted at his compound in Syria. At the same time, the US managed to move 11 children to a “safe location” before continuing their mission in al-Baghdadi’s assassination. If they were able to successfully capture their target while extracting children from the scene, why can’t they do the same with the apprehension of Hamas? Instead, they are lead actors in yet another modern genocide of another non-white ethnic group.

This is not the only case of Americans standing idle in genocide. As much as it pains me to report, various genocides continue today, and the common denominator of all is their racial background. The US, a country with the world’s largest economy, has not even acknowledged these urgent crises, as these genocides are not a concern but a benefit for the country.

The DRC is experiencing mass killings and internal displacement. Mines have taken over villages and have forced Congolese people to work in hazardous conditions for only a dollar or two per day. The level of exploitation parallels slave-like conditions from decades ago. Congolese workers are forced to mine cobalt to fuel the emblems of our modern world, including phones, computers, and electric vehicles. Last November, an unidentified man died holding a sign that read, “Stop the genocide in Congo,” before setting himself on fire to capture our attention. 

The invasion of Iraq is another instance of genocide committed by the US. Since the invasion in 2003, more than one million Iraqis have been killed. While the US rationalized its invasion around the alleged possessions of weapons of mass destruction, it was really about oil. General John Abizaid, former head of US Central Command and Military Operations, admitted it in 2007 when asked about the invasion, “Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that.” Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan shared the same sentiment when he stated in his memoir that it was “politically inconvenient” to acknowledge the invasion was “largely about oil.”

The US committed one of the earliest genocides against Indigenous peoples to erect a nation on stolen Indigenous land. The US also fails to acknowledge the DRC genocide as it benefits from the exploitation of Congolese workers in exchange for mined cobalt. The US also carried out genocide during the Iraq invasion to obtain oil but disguised its rationale behind weapons of mass destruction. And the US now disguises the genocide of Palestinians behind the narrative of apprehending Hamas in Gaza.

The main theme that manifests in these genocides is that they are committed against different racial groups. The US harbours a culture rooted in white superiority and racial dominance, which is why it will never reckon with its role in genocide. In conclusion, the US employs and oversees genocide for two reasons: to uphold white superiority and for its own political and economic gain.

News Editor (Volume 48 & 50) — May is in her final year of undergraduate studies and is on her way to graduating with a double major in Criminology and Sociology. With more than 50 published articles, May has a wealth of experience writing for The Medium. May has also served as News Editor in Volume 48. She believes that news journalism is not just a privilege, but an important responsibility to report the unbiased truth.


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