Sunday, August 12, 2018

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kansascity  |  West again asked to speak about issues related to the job of a state representative. When asked about Jewish people in Missouri, he said, “Well, maybe they shouldn’t vote for me.”

At no point did West apologize for or retract his comments. He asked that The Star link to his website within the story and expressed hope that readers would listen to his remarks in full to make up their own minds.

Although West’s most overtly bigoted and offensive statements were sent anonymously to a reporter on Thursday, he had enough “dog whistles” before the election that voters should have known better than to support him, Aroesty said. She said her opinion is coming from a place of principle over politics because the Anti-Defamation League is an apolitical organization.

A dog whistle, she said, is when someone hints at extremist beliefs in such a way that others who hold those beliefs will know, but they retain plausible deniability.

Some example of dog whistles from West’s statements before the election include him saying things like “Islam is a problem for America. ... It is a political movement masquerading as religion and should not receive the benefits we provide religious institutions as well as access to our prisons” and “ Many parents and students don’t want to have to deal with alternative sex ed, and the LGBT clubs and staff at all the public high schools today.”

“It’s a subtle form of hatred,” Aroesty said. “Not open, but it should be watched, in some ways, more carefully than if someone was openly extreme.”

The Anti-Defamation League has been seeing extremist candidates pop up all around the country, Aroesty said.

“There is a level of political rhetoric and anger out in the world today that is providing people with more extremist views a comfort to come forward and share those extremist views,” she said. “I’d like to say he is unusual this year … but there are a whole variety of folks.”

The internet gives so many people a voice, she said, that it’s easy to think that people with extreme, hateful beliefs are everywhere. They’re not, she said — the ones who are out there are just making a lot of noise.

“The fact that Mr. West won the primary should highlight to people — did they really know what they were voting for?” Aroesty said. “One thing I’ve said for years about extremists is that they’re out on the fringe and we should keep them there.”

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article216387050.html#storylink=cpy