American Removal begins with a language.
It starts with Indians as “uncivilized,” “savages.”
It expands with Black civilization deemed as “niggers” and “3/5ths.”
It proliferates with “providence” but only for Aryan destiny, “by the millions.”
American Removal embraces its robes with an “Indian Removal Act,”
Followed by a war on “Dirty Mexicans,”
Followed by a “Chinese Exclusion Act,”
Followed by Filipinos as “niggers.”
Followed by “Japs Keep Moving.”
American Removal tests its first PSAs with “public enemies,” “hobos, tramps, and vagrants,” but ultimately settles for Black & Brown youth as “gangs.”
It then sows its modern seeds with a “red line.”
Red line maps delineate our colors, separating “undesirables” and “subversive racial elements” from “homogeneous,” “single-family [white] homes.”
Until a war to end all wars. Two atom bombs dropped on “Japs,” but none on German nazis or Italian fascists.
After the war, American Removal grows to include “Un-American,” “Black radicals,” and “communist hippies” into its lexicon.
Once these begin to ring hollow, it reinvigorates itself: “[Black] drugs and gangs,” “[Black] welfare queens,” and [Latinx and Asian immigrant “invasion.”
American Removal then sanctifies itself calling on “property owners” to “revolt,”
Followed by national publication on a generation of “new” “super-predators.”
Followed by calls to “Save Our State,”
Followed by “English (Only) For Our Children.”
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, American Removal finds still new life-blood: Global war on Muslims as “terrorists,” “extremists,” and once again “radical.”
A generation later, it relishes in “good people on both sides,” “shit-hole countries,” “stand back and stand by,” and on.
But when you ask American Removal about a million bodies burned by drones in the Global South since 2001,
Or when you ask about American Removal about its uniforms shooting down Black men, women and children,
When you ask American Removal about the forced sterilization of incarcerated Latina women,
Or when you ask American Removal about the gentrification of our neighborhoods, its homeless “clean-ups” even as police patrol new hotels around the corners,
When you ask American Removal if it may dignify those it’s uprooted with so much as an acknowledgement,
That is when all you get is silence.
American Removal concludes with a silence.