We have witnessed the
impact of words from Abraham Lincoln's call to end slavery, to John F. Kennedy inspiring us to travel to the moon, to Hillary Clinton's declaration that women's rights are human rights.
But words that become memes and tropes laced with hate can turn people against each other and
fuel the flames of bigotry that lead to violence.
Hitler's inordinate use of trigger words helped him to maintain the support and attention of his audiences and allowed them to get exceedingly excited by his speeches.
These words added to Hitler's tactics of persuasion by creating word association that conveyed strength when talking about the German people or weakness when talking about the Jews.
hate-filled speech is not just confined to rallies. It lives unchecked on the internet. The California synagogue shooter posted a hate-filled letter on social media before the shootings in which he expressed white-supremacist views. The Pittsburgh synagogue shooter targeted Jews online with anti-Semitic slurs prior to this attack.
More than half of Americans experienced online hate, according the ADL, which recently conducted a survey on this issue. For a third of Americans, online abuse was in response to their sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, gender identity or disability.
This week Facebook announced that was
banning individuals who engage in violence and hate-speech.
In 1925, Hitler published his anti-Semitic manifesto, Mein Kampf. That writing
became the blueprint for his coordinated effort to exterminate Europe's Jews.
Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day. The day comes at a moment when anti-Semitism is increasing and heated partisan discourse is tearing apart our nation.
What is said in Congress, to each other, and online matters.
Words have power. Don't stay silent. When you hear hate speech; stand up and speak out.
Do you know a high school or college student who would like to intern at JAC during the school year or next summer? Call the JAC office at 847.433.5999 about opportunities.