To the Editor:
We write in response to the letter to the editor titled “Racism isn’t all about color,” by Jarryl Larson, of Edgecomb, dated April 16. We agree with Mrs. Larson’s premise that “Racism isn’t all about color.”
Unfortunately, Mrs. Larson’s example that forms the basis of her argument is based on misinformation, ironically, the same type of misinformation that was used during the Nazi’s time to spread anti-Semitism.
In the second paragraph of the letter she writes:
“Historically a famous racist society was ‘white against white.’ It was led by a Jewish son of a Jewish mother – Adolph Hitler – against all of the Jews in his country and those in neighboring countries he tried to conquer. Racism has a component of self-hatred. No child in the world is born with hatred or prejudice.”
Mrs. Larson’s statement that Adolph Hitler and his mother were Jewish is incorrect. During Adolph Hitler’s run for political office, his opponents circulated rumors that he had Jewish ancestry. The goal was to discredit Hitler using his own anti-Semitic platform.
These rumors stemmed from the fact that Hitler’s paternal grandfather was unknown. No credible evidence has ever been discovered, though, to prove that Hitler had Jewish ancestry. Similarly, there is no credible evidence that Hitler’s mother was Jewish.
Unfortunately, politics in the 1930s in Germany weren’t much different than politics in the 21st century. Some candidates and their representatives freely bend the truth or even lie to suit their needs. Sadly, this particular bit of incorrect information is still used today in some circles to hint that somehow the six million persecuted Jews, and 5 million others murdered in the Holocaust brought it on themselves. False statements do not lessen the horrors of the Holocaust.
In our work at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, we prefer to look at racism through the words of Dr. Martin Luther King; “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Like Mrs. Larson, Dr. King also understood that racism isn’t all about color.