The boys are learning 20th century world history and were introduced to World War I and II, which led to us to having a conversation about the Holocaust.
(Although this is not what this post is about, I found this website and this website helpful for information and reading suggestions for children.)
In my own research, I mostly came across information and images that the boys are by no means ready to see. However, it was a jarring reminder of how intolerance and failure to act on what is right can spiral into what appears to be the definition of evil.
As I switched from my history lesson back to the present, I noticed someone had shared a blog post on Facebook using “nazi” in a casual way. You know, the “grammar nazi, cleaning nazi, [insert word here] nazi… or how could any of us forget the Seinfeld “soup nazi”? I never really thought any thing of the reference, and I am quite sure I’ve participated in the offhand use of the word.
This time I felt extremely uncomfortable reading it. I started questioning whether or not it would be respectful to use the term in such a casual way. I don’t mean taking into account politically correct terms…but more importantly, this has to do with avoiding hurting people who have been hurt and giving respect to those who have suffered greatly.
I understand people will still use it; I also understand the word is meant to be used playfully to describe someone who is slightly militant or off-putting in their message or behavior. I highly doubt anyone using the term is intentionally trying to be hurtful.
Nevertheless, I hope we can remember using the word “nazi” out of the context of referencing a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party is referring to someone akin to it.
Lowercase definition- nazi: “a person who holds and acts brutally in accordance with extreme racist or authoritarian views.”
Lowercase use of nazi doesn’t mean someone who corrects your grammar, argues everyone in the world should breastfeed, or is adamant about keeping a clean house. That technically is an incorrect use of the word.
Just for reference of what Nazis did, when I hear someone jokingly being referred to as a “nazi”, I’m going to be thinking of this: