3 Apr
Posted in: Books, Racism
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Consoling but Costly

The next book my CDL White Awake group will be discussing is How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States, by Daniel Immerwahr.

I’ve just started reading it and I can already see how little I know about the whole of my country!

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

“This country perceives itself to be a republic, not an empire. It was born in an anti-imperialist revolt and has fought empires ever since, from Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich and the Japanese Empire to the ‘evil empire’ of the Soviet Union. It even fights empires in its dreams. Star Wars, the saga that started with a rebellion against the Galactic Empire, is one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time.

“This self-image of the United States as a republic is consoling, but it’s also costly. Most of the cost has been paid by those living in the colonies, in the occupation zones, and around the military bases. The ‘logo map’ has relegated them to the shadows, which are a dangerous place to live. At various times, inhabitants of the U.S. Empire have been shot, shelled, starved, interned, dispossessed, tortured, and experimented on. What they haven’t been, by and large, is seen.

“The ‘logo map’ carries a cost for mainlanders, too. It gives them a truncated view of their own history, one that excludes part of their country. It is an important part. As I seek to reveal, a lot has happened in the territories, occurrences highly relevant to mainlanders.

“The overseas parts of the United States have triggered wars, brought forth inventions, raised up presidents, and helped define what it means to be ‘American.’ Only by including them in the picture do we see a full portrait of the country — not as it appears in its fantasies, but as it actually is.”

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