“Science is simply common sense at its best; that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.” ~ Thomas Henry Huxley
As knowledge of Black male commoners daring to present a counter argument to centuries old anti- Black male rhetoric, policy, and stereotyping spreads across cyberspace; more of those who frown upon such entrants into the marketplace of ideas – will use whatever tactic possible to silence these men. For me, the who is not as important as the what, as in what old or new arguments are being presented. As I pointed out in my first two part Op-Ed on SlayingEvil.com, The Stono Roots of Silencing Anti- Black Misandry Voices on the Internet (16 March 2020) – censoring Black men’s ability to speak out is an old ploy of Western Black misandry.
As of late, would be censors of the Black common man are slinging around the Cold War term, ‘Whataboutism’ completely out of context. This often occurs, when topics related to the male and female sex, particularly when comparisons of whatever nature or subject are breached. The Whataboutism Posse are slow to realize it is fair game to talk about both male and female outcomes, behaviors, similarities, differences, critiques, gender politics, etc., which encourages open dialogue. First, let us consider the conventional definition of Whataboutism not put forth by the Whataboutism Posse.
From Wikipedia, Whataboutism is a variant of the Tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy WITHOUT directly refuting or disproving their argument. It is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda.
It is a word that was coined to describe the frequent use of a rhetorical diversion by Soviet apologists and dictators, who would counter charges of their oppression, “massacres, gulags, and forced deportations” by invoking American slavery, racism, lynching, etc.
Notice the conventional definition establishes a criteria for correct usage of this term when it states: that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument.
Therefore, when an opponent attempts to discredit the other by charging them with hypocrisy WHILE directly refuting and/or disproving the other’s argument – they are not guilty of the flaky Cold War tactic of Whataboutism. This established criteria is essential to the proponent of Whataboutism because before accusing an opponent of Whataboutism, the prosecutor must establish that the charged has not directly refuted or disproved the argument of discussion before moving on to the next topic.
Person A says: I like apples.
Person B says: I do not like apples. What about oranges? I do like oranges.
Person A says: That’s Whataboutism.
As you can see in this generic example, Person A is misusing the rhetorical Whataboutism tactic to avoid talking about oranges or giving their opinion on oranges – thus Person A fails the conventional criteria for an acceptable Whataboutism charge.
Unbeknownst to many Whataboutism mud-slingers, is that during the Cold War the United States, their allies and Russia/Soviet Union enemies invested heavily in propaganda against each other. Those so eager to use the term Whataboutism, never mention the racist shield origins of Whataboutism that arose during the aforementioned period. Possibly, this is why more historically rooted debaters are not so fond of using this Cold War propaganda tactic unless they assume their opponent is less historically astute. There are many more debate devices available to win an argument than to revert to an unreliable American racist propaganda tool – like Whataboutism against Black men to stall open dialogue.
Oddly enough, it was the Russian’s use of valid public persuasion that played a critical role in bringing attention to the racial terrorism both de facto and de jure, against Native Black Americans, which helped push the Civil Rights Movement into the global mainstream consciousness.
So, the irony is clear, the Whataboutism term was invented during the Cold War by Western governments; specifically, the United States to divert valid Russian critiques of their hypocrisy on egalitarian and democratic grounds in their racist treatment of their Native Black American population under the Jim Crow Apartheid system.
In Aristotle’s (385BC-323BC) canon logic manual Sophistical Refutations, he listed 13 original fallacies, and the Whataboutism device is not on that list because it was the creation of a United States Cold War propaganda machine attempting to avoid facing up to their own hypocrisy in pushing democratic and egalitarian rhetoric abroad while promoting and enforcing racial terrorism at home. Just like the United States government and their paid media agents invented and used Whataboutism to divert valid and needed conversation on a social problem they wanted to hide and ignore; opponents of free thinking common Black men deploy this American racist created debating tactic to ignore valid and needed conversation about Black social problems facing the West, especially those between the sexes.
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The Cold War. 2020. Cold War Propaganda. [online] Available at: <https://alphahistory.com/coldwar/cold-war-propaganda/> [Accessed 23 April 2020].
University, S., 2020. Cold War From The African American Perspective | Stanford News. [online] Stanford News. Available at: <https://news.stanford.edu/2017/03/08/cold-war-african-american-perspective/> [Accessed 23 April 2020].
pastemagazine.com. 2020. There’s No Such Thing As “Whataboutism”. [online] Available at: <https://www.pastemagazine.com/politics/whataboutism/theres-no-such-thing-as-whataboutism/> [Accessed 23 April 2020].
Changingminds.org. 2020. Aristotle’s 13 Fallacies. [online] Available at: <http://changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/fallacies/aristotle_fallacies.htm> [Accessed 23 April 2020].