help explain: intense racism AND hatred of Nazi's

I recognize there was more to Nazism than racism. But I’m confident that it is probably the biggest identifying feature of the philosophy.

I had the experience recently of having to converse with an 85 year old man who:

  1. became emotional and cried about having Nazis in America and
  2. is the absolute worst racist I have ever met, to the point of suggesting decapitation for interacial couples.

Other than being sick to my stomach; I just don’t understand what appears to me two opposing viewpoints held by the same individual.

Can someone help me understand how a person can hold both points of view?

Maybe it’s as simple as the Nazis are foreigners. He prefers home-grown racism like the Klan.

The man’s formative years were spent in an era when the Nazis were one of America’s major enemies and also when interracial marriage was viewed as very unacceptable. Maybe that’s all there is to it.
Keep in mind that the Nazis declared war on the US shortly after Pearl Harbor, which is how the US officially became involved in the European conflict, so even if one didn’t care about the Holocaust the US still had reason to fight the Nazis.

It’s also quite possible that he doesn’t have a problem with black people as long as they “keep to themselves” or something, and therefore doesn’t see himself as wanting to exterminate other races.
Another very likely possibility with someone this age: He may be experiencing dementia (seriously, a large number of people that age have evidence of dementia) and is not thinking clearly anymore.

I am surprised at how often people on this site act shocked at elderly people holding opinions that were commonplace when the elderly person was a young person. Someday your grandchildren will probably be shocked at your outdated opinions about things that will end up becoming mainstream once your era is over.

People are a product of the times in which they grew up… it shouldn’t be a surprise if many older people today still hold outdated views. Many people, for better or worse, do not grow out of the ideas they grew up with.

He is 80-fucking-5! Let it go…

If he’s actually breaking down in tears in public at the fact that there’s a few Nazi fringe groups in America, he’s probably dealing with Alzheimers or some other form of senile dementia. And if that’s the case, then his opinions of race are probably also similarly distorted. In other words, the contrast of these two positions appear to be irrational because they are, in fact, irrational. They’re the product of a mental illness, not a consistent moral or ethical framework.

I’d say it has everything to do with how he was raised, what he experienced in life, and what conclusions he drew from those experiences. Add to that mix the potential issues of mental/emotional instability and aging, and you can have someone who manages to point in all directions of the compass at the same time. At his age, he’s well earned his quirks.

At 85 he’s old enough to remember the 2nd world war personally - maybe he knows people who didn’t return - he will certainly have spoken to people who fought the Nazi’s first hand.

Racism isn’t confined to whites. The Japanese were famously racist, for instance. Robert Mugabe’s a racist. Lots of Palestinians hate Israelis. A non-white can be a racist and hate Nazism.

:confused:Your post while obviously true doesn’t seem to make sense(or did I miss where he specified the 85 year old’s race?).

I seem to recall talking to people who objected to putting human beings in ovens, while still supporting shit like racial segregation. I would guess the beheading for interracial couples might be hyperbole.

Very few people will agree to genocide, many more will agree with racist laws.

Heard of ‘ethnic cleansing’? Yugoslavia and Africa would like to have words with you. Part-Jews didn’t fare so well in Nazi Germany either.

Why’s it so hard to understand? Racism is a form of mental illness, and the mentally ill don’t need to make sense. As a son of Holocaust survivors, it angered me to the core to hear many survivors rail against schvartzes (literally, Yiddish for ‘Black people’, but unmistakably negatively connotative) and other minority groups. When I’d ask point-blank how they could talk that way after all they went thru, the standard excuse was that it wasn’t the same thing since **those **people really were inferior, and they were all violent, or criminals, or both (their words, not mine). Victims of racism can be racist too.

The presumption, both by the op and by those who invoke “mental illness” as an explanation, is that an individual’s belief systems grow out of some internally consistent logic, rather than that most of us develop our beliefs for a host of irrational reasons (personal experiences, cultural norms within our family of origin and the community in which we had spent our formative years, the natural tendency of humans to develop preferences to kinship and fictive kinship groups such as those of tribalism and nationalism …)

That presumption does not IMHO reflect reality. More often beliefs come first and then come the as-if stories of “logic” to justify the beliefs.

Anyway, playing the logic game, there is no conflict:

Belief A: Nazis were bad for a host of reasons. Sure a racist and nationalist agenda (the two overlapped) was the major identifying feature.

Belief B: His self identified group is better than other groups and groups should keep to themselves with severe consequences for failure to do so.

There were a large set of beliefs Nazis had, and in isolation he likely agreed with many of them. Many highly placed in the American government of the era agreed with the statement there was “a Jewish problem” that needed to be fixed even if they did not agree with genocide as the solution and that Whites were racially superior to Blacks. Friends of his died fighting the Nazis (and they did not do so because the Nazis were racist); to see any Americans adopting Nazism dishonors their memory to him.

No opposing beliefs really.

My dementing grandma, would either call the staff of her retirement home “kampbeulen” (concentration camp executioners) or accuse them of being Jews trying to steal her organs……

she did not go gently in to that good night.

Thats one spry ol’ man if he is gonna personally do some ethnic cleansing.

To the OP I once debated an elderly black man who said Hitler was right, I disagreed.

Being a racist and being anti-Nazi doesn’t require suffering from dementia.

Went to high school with a guy like that, in the 90s. (He was Polish, thus hated Nazis and Communists. But was also proudly racist.)

grude so he is presumptively not in a position to act on his beliefs … still not necessarily hyperbole on his behalf.

BTW, being 85 does not mean a person has no power. Mgabe is 88. The pope is 85 and exerts huge influence across the globe. An 85 year old can have more personal power than many 21 year olds. Many do.

People are strange. I bumped into a guy I knew at uni (Australian for 'university). He was with some skinhead friends. They said they wanted to kill all the jews and niggers, and that violence was the way.

I countered that Dr. MLK Jr., the greatest man I know of in recent history, made positive change through non-violent means and that they were a bunch of jerks.

I saw them drive away in my college aquaintance’s car. He had a bumper sticker that read, “Abortion Kills”.

It makes me wonder. Are most racist bigots pro-life, until birth? Or should I rephrase it, “Are most pro-lifers racist bigots?”

My mother (age 71) is like that. She was born in 1940 so her early childhood years were spent with the Nazis as the Bad Guys and her father was killed in WWII.

She also is prejudiced against blacks, Jews, Asians, and gays (yet her favorite newscaster is Lester Holt and she thinks my cousin’s black husband is the best thing that ever happened to her, she has Jewish friends, another cousin’s Korean wife is a total sweetheart and her family is wonderful, one of her best friends since her 20s is bisexual and when my sister came out as a lesbian she was nothing but understanding and supportive.)

People are wierd.

Oh fer chrissakes, I wish people would stop spouting that nonsense. My parents were both born in 1921 and neither were racist, both were gay-friendly. Hell, my grandmother (born in 1898) was not racist, and she was a lesbian! People are not perfect little stereotypical time capsules.