This article argues that representations in popular culture of the Holocaust of World War II are being used to reframe issues of racism in the United States. It critically examines three major discourse formations: contemporary Western thought on fascism, critical scholarship on the US collective memory of the Holocaust, and popular culture’s use of the Holocaust for racial instruction. The Americanization and de-Judification of the Holocaust shows how fascist racism is constructed through institutional discourses and practices and functions as an archetype for understanding race and racism in the United States. Exploring the emergence of Holocaust references in US public culture following Barack Obama’s election, this article proposes that the analogy gains its efficacy because the Americanization of the Holocaust articulates the relationship between institutional practices and race for racist whites.
Contemporary Fascism’s de-Judified Homo Sacer
Kim Hong Nguyen is an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo and has a PhD in communication studies from the University of Iowa. Her work engages discourses at the intersection between violence, cultural identity, and memory and has been published in the Journal of Communication Inquiry, Howard Journal of Communications, and POROI.