as bad as segregation was (and it was terrible), to compare America during the time of Brown vs. the BOE (when we were dismantling segregation) to genocidal Nazi Germany with its pogroms, death camps, and forced labor camps, and more than six million murders, is not just ludicrous and wrong, it is a morally bankrupt argument that verges on Holocaust denial.
This isn’t a game of who suffered more, but blacks went through their own genocide in their transportation to the Americas. Millions of people were killed due to the color of their skin. Then they were sold into slavery, and then the government mandated their status as less than human via Jim Crow. As I said before, I don’t believe in whitewashes of history. Slavery is one of the original sins of our nation, and the practice of segregation at the same time we were liberating Jewish people from their extermination by Nazis is one of history’s great ironies.
Conservatives like Johnson have this knee-jerk aversion to any retelling of American history that isn’t a kindergarten-level simplification of things. Our country is always pure as snow in their minds, and they see any attempts to tell the full story as some sort of assault. Yet, the true insult is acting as if these things shouldn’t bother our pretty little minds, and to bring them up is akin to sedition. It’s just stupid.
We live in the greatest country on earth, but it is a country who for far too long saw blacks and other minorities in much the same way that Nazi Germany saw Jewish people – as subhuman slave labor. History, American history, is far more complex than white hats versus black hats.
But don’t tell that to the right. They can’t handle that sort of talk.
In Johnson’s original post, he wanted badly to attack Sen. Obama for drawing any kind of parallel between America’s racial history and the plague of Nazism. In order to do this, he ended up effectively defending segregation, because he tries to make it less horrible than Nazi thought. It wasn’t. Sorry, any kind of policy where you’re okaying the de-humanization of people is the kind of thought we have to throw in the dustbin of history. There’s no defending it, not even for making a cheap and incorrect political hit.