Kanye West’s comments highlight the need for more education about the effects of hate speech

Adidas, the multinational sportswear company, recently announced that it would be tying up with Ye (formerly Kanye West) following weeks of anti-Semitic messages from the pop artist. But it seemed too long a matter to make a public policy.

It’s time for companies and people to work towards a future where bigoted bullies are quickly identified and condemned, because it’s the right thing to do.

All the even-public antisemitic outpourings caught a lot of attention and showed a lack of understanding. In an effort to educate the artist, the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum recently offered him a private tour. You turned down the invitation and then the museum was flooded with anti-Semitic hate messages on social media.

How are we even at this point? Seventy-seven years ago, American soldiers liberated most of the Nazi camps and became witnesses to the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Then the supreme commander of the Allies, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower invited the media to document the atrocities so they could never be denied. National institutions such as the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC have preserved those memories along with local Holocaust museums in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso and institutions such as the Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission and the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. .

But now this work is focusing on Holocaust denial and uptic distortion because of new, unprecedented levels of antisemitism.

In addition, important works of Holocaust remembrance – such as graphic novels Mouse and an adaptation of Anne Frank’s memoir — have all but been purged from a Texas high school library, even though Holocaust Remembrance Week is written into Texas law as a time “to educate students about the Holocaust and to instill in students a sense of responsibility to recognize and protect human dignity and prevent future atrocities.” We know that to prevent genocide, human rights atrocities and crises, education is the answer.

When our guests, athletes, and other cultural figures hate speech, while companies respond, only when it hits the bottom line, it challenges the work of educators and scholars and sends the wrong message to our children. Vois’ tweet that he was going to “death with 3 to the Jewish people” prompted Twitter and Instagram to quickly suspend their accounts. No stranger to controversy, before becoming the latest face of antisemitism, you were vocal in your support of anti-black and slavery denialism. His empty words are formless and unoriginal sentences. His more recent ones are almost verbatim antisemitic tropes and old stereotypes.

Our greatest weapon against misinformation is not a bullhorn; it is discretion. Our future children and communities are being educated about the legacy of the Holocaust, the causes of genocide, and how recognizing human rights violations lays the groundwork for a future where great outrage is recognized as such with an ambition to address and resolve misinformation. .

However, Adidas, whose festoon logos of athletes are instantly recognizable, while branding endorsements and sponsoring athletes around the world, draws attention to the presence of antisemitism in our mainstream culture as well as an extended-to-useless act of social responsibility. . This warning is a call not only to how acceptable Holocaust denial and distortion has become, but how easily it is accepted as truth because he wears a tank top and has a $1.5 billion sneaker sponsorship.

Dr. Nils Roemer, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies. He is also the Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Technology at UT Dallas. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

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