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The word ‘racist’ is tossed around with wild abandon

I was surprised by Speaker Pelosi’s characterization of President Trump’s advice: in a nutshell, he said, “America: Love it or Leave it.” And Speaker Pelosi said it was “racist.” How so?

Remember, this expression was directed against Americans who denigrated our country during the Vietnam War; people considered these words to be insulting, but not “racist.” I would hazard today, as in the past, that unbiased Americans would agree that there is nothing inherently “racist” about Trump’s statement.

Pelosi, however, might say that it was aimed only at the members of “The Squad:” Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Thaib and Pressley — these U.S. representatives are proudly self-defined “women of color.” And so it may seem on the face of it that Trump was being racist in singling them out.

Not so. These women were on Trump’s mind not because of their color, but because they are the most vocal critics of America in Congress. It is obvious that singling out people who happen to be “of color”

is not necessarily “racist.” Talk and action are “racist” only when they are deliberately race-oriented, malicious and hurtful: A person is being “racist” when he slurs someone else’s race. Trump didn’t do that.

As for Pelosi, not only was she wrong in calling Trump a “racist,” she delivered a racist innuendo herself: by the implication that one cannot be critical of non-whites — for any reason. In reality, people “of color” are just as competent as whites in being critical or supportive of our country. To deny this suggests that persons “of color” are unable to handle criticism. That’s wrong: they are not children who must be coddled. Like everyone else, they must be held accountable for their words and deeds. And so they are.

Finally, the word “racist” is tossed around with wild abandon today. It’s a propaganda tool, and it’s called “the big lie.” In short, demagogues need only repeat something outrageously false enough times, and it will eventually gain credence among their followers. It is being used today by “The Squad” and by their apologists. And both groups are being supported by elements in the mainstream press and by Democrats in general.

Now consider that “the big lie” was honed to near perfection by Adolph Hitler. Do we really want to go down that path?

THOMAS NAST

Gloversville