Guest post from Leette Eaton-White
When we sit down and think about what the word racism means it is not uncommon amongst Americans to envision the KKK or Hitler. That said they are not the only faces of racism or prejudice at the expense of human dignity. Too often political discourse is cheapened with the charge of racism. Growing up, accusations against the Republican Party of racism ranged from “they don’t care about black people” to “Republicans are responsible for slavery.” Though both charges and everything in between are clearly false that does not keep them from being perpetuated to the politically ill-informed. So when many Tea Partiers arose from mostly Republican and conservative political backgrounds it was no surprise when they too were charged with being racist, and not only as having that be a trait of their of their beliefs, but that they arose because our President was black, not because they disagreed with his political vision.
Last week you heard me give a short rebuttal against a man claiming that the Tea Party was racist on Glenn Beck Radio. I think, that was the least of what he said. The most however was that only white people were capable of Hilter like violence against others. Yet from his own mouth the words “sell out negro” were being spouted. I was incensed with anger upon hearing that. I did go up to Glenn, just as he said, and yes I confess I was shaking with fury. The idea that this man touted that racism only comes from white people was absurd. I nearly shouted HYPOCRITE from my office cubicle. How can one make such deep seeded, angry, and ignorant charges without being exactly what they claim to hate?
Argumentum ad Hitlerum
Alas the common fallacy that all bad things are like Hitler. If you are a lover of debate or philosophy you know exactly what I mean (and chances are you know better). But the basic concept is a bit easier. If you argue that something is like Hitler then you have cheapened the topic, and automatically lost simply by behaving in an unsportsmanlike manner. This is true unless of course you are actually having a debate about Hitler. It is the go to argument on the internet, its used against Bush, Obama, and I am pretty sure Rebecca Black got a few Hitlerums in those pesky YouTube comments.
Now I hate to give this rabble-rouser credit, but I always give credit where credit is due. Bringing the Hitler comparison up is the perfect way to show how wrong he really is. Genocide is a common problem. While Genocide is not new, it is incredibly visible because of the complexities and interaction of the modern world. Yes the genocide against the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and disabled was one of the biggest. But genocide is not limited to race or faith. There have been political genocides too, genocides over perceived but not real differences in anatomy or lifestyle. There are literally dozens of countries that have experienced genocide from outside forces, or inward conflict. Several of the most devastating that are happening now are in Africa and Middle East.
Violence, racism and genocide are diseases caused from the corruption of humanity, not a result of being white. People like this man are the types that ruin not only political conversation but also awareness of true hate. After the full revelation of the crimes of Nazi Germany we swore “Never again”. By allowing the cheapening of debate that makes everything like Hitler and ignoring what really was, we have let it happen over and over and over again. What worth are our words if we do not use them responsibly?
Leette Eaton-White is a community organizer for GBTV.