The UN has condemned the use of hate speech in politics in the wake of the latest US mass shootings. The UN’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent issued a statement where they “encourage the united States to address such violence without delay as a matter of white supremacy and racism”.
This comes in the backlash over statements made by one of the mass shooters in his manifesto. This document echoed and imitated the language and wording used by US President Donald Trump in his political speeches.
The United States has a recognised problem with gun violence with clear correlations between the number of guns in circulation and gun deaths. In a country of 330 million people there are more than 300 million guns. The United States on average has more than one mass shooting per day with 251 mass shootings in 216 days. A mass shooting has been stipulated by the FBI and US Congress as being an event in which 4 or more people are murdered at or around the same time. Not including the perpetrator.
Donald trump has regularly used dehumanising language to describe people of colour, minorities & asylum seekers
The fact that the El Paso shooter allegedly wrote a manifesto parroting the words of US President Donald Trump should be of grave concern. It is a reminder to any and all public figures who have a devoted following of loyal supporters that their words have impact.
A common counter argument that is cited by the Pro-Gun lobby is that these mass shootings occur as a result of mental illness and video games. According to Ahmed Reid who is the chairman of the Working Group of Experts “Perpetuating racism perpetuates violence.”
The fact is that people who have influence over others for whatever reason bare a responsibility to not encourage sentiment that stokes fear, anger and resentment. The problem is without nuance the broader issues often become lost in the rhetoric and the sound bytes. Donald Trump has proven himself to be extremely media focused and knows how to attract attention. However he has also proven that he is unwilling and incapable of using that attention for anything but stoking fear, anger and resentment.
This means that anyone who does this should be held up as being complicit in the violent extremist actions their supporters perpetrate.