Author: Sibusisiwe Dlangalala

Terrible, Yes, and Not Great

With the current rise of the Alt-Right movement, we’ve sadly been hearing the name “Hitler” a lot more than the average person would hope to hear that name. Similarly, many people have drawn starch parallels between the new Trump administration and Hitler’s Nazi regime, which has instigated heated debated. A few times during these arguments, I’ve heard something along the lines of “I mean Hitler was evil but we can’t deny that he was still a great leader!” First of all, yes we can, Secondly, this idea comes from the false narrative that is often taught in high school history which leads us to believe that Hitler single handedly convinced an entire German population to turn against Jews. A narrative that is often taught in schools as something we should be impressed by. A narrative that is not only false, but also very dangerous – particularly in relation to discussions about our current administration. With the following information, I hope to convince you that Hitler was NOT, in fact, a good leader at all.

  1. Hitler was not a great leader; he was a great manipulator

Hitler did not SINGLE HANDEDLY convince the entire German population to turn against Jews. Hitler didn’t create anti-Semitism in Germany. Germany had a long history of discriminating against Jews that dated back to before Hitler was even born. With the economic devastation that followed World War I, Hitler exploited this culture of Jewish discrimination to deceive the German people and manipulate them against a common enemy, which he then used to rise to power.  If someone who lies well is the current definition of a good leader, then that explains our current administration.

  1. Germany’s “economic miracle” under Hitler was not so miraculous

Many argue that under Hitler’s economic policies, unemployment dropped and the economy was on its way to revival. This is significantly exaggerated because women were not calculated in the unemployment calculations which drastically distorted the numbers. Additionally, under Hitler’s new policies, unemployed young men were given an alternative: either get a government job or be forced into a concentration camp. So, of course the unemployment numbers seemed low but it was an illusion created by Hitler so he could use it as a propaganda ploy to further manipulate German people against Jews.

  1. Hitler lost the war and he lost it really badly!!

If you want to say Hitler is single handedly responsible for something, it’s the death of 3% of the world’s population. Hitler provoked a war which killed over 60 million people!! And after all this?? HE STILL LOST THAT WAR! Even when he knew he had no hopes of winning, he continued to escalate the war and endangered the lives of the people that he’s supposedly so good at leading. Furthermore, instead of surrendering, he killed himself and never took responsibility for his actions, as any true leader would!

  1. He actively constructed and instructed the genocide of 6 million people… for no reason

This one shouldn’t need further explaining.

Obama’s Legacy

When my parents first moved from South Africa to the United States, they told me they had now opened up “a world of opportunities” for my brother and I. A phrase that just sounded like sweet nothings until November 4th, 2008 when for the first time, a man whose skin tone resembled my own, was elected to the highest office in the United States of America. I took for granted back then how impactful growing up in an America that was governed by the first black president would be, but now as his days are winding down, I am realizing just how much the legacy of Barack Obama and his beautiful family has inspired me to know the world of opportunities that my parents opened for me when they hauled us from South Africa to the United States.

Tears rolled down my eyes as I listened to our First Lady, Michelle Obama, condemn Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. “America is already great!!” she exclaimed, “In what other country could a man born to a Kenyan immigrant work his way to Harvard and then to Senate and now to the presidency!” Those words hit me like a train. As a child born to an immigrant family, I realized the doors that the Obama family had shown me were possible for me. Doors that my parents knew were there for me but were visualized in seeing President Obama sit at that oval office for 8 years.

The most formative years of my life were spent watching a family that looked like mine living in the White House. I saw the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful man in the world, STILL have to combat racism at every corner, a struggle that the black man knows all too well; but yet he still persevered and succeeded. Through the years, I’ve realized that if the President of the United States still has to fight racism, then I definitely will too. But just like President Obama, I will not let it stop me from my dream; and once I reach my dream, I will not let racism define the position that I’m in. I will do what I’m called to do in the best way that I can – just as President Obama has.

President Obama is not just inspiring to me because he is black. He is also the epitome of grace and elegance. As FLOTUS always says “when they go high, we go low” and they have embodied this through every racial slur thrown at them, every lie uttered about their family, every time their ability to lead is undermined, President Obama and his family respond with class and respect. I look up to both the POTUS and the FLOTUS so much, not only in giving me hopes about my career prospect, but also in the type of person I desire to be: A person of grace and elegance, just like the first family.

Hey Drake, Depression Isn’t Just a Phase

Telling a Black parent about struggling with depression or anxiety will typically warrant a response of this nature: “It’s just a phase,” “Just pray about it,” or my personal favorite, “Just think about all the good things you have.” This is largely due to the stigma that surrounds mental health in the Black community: A stigma that either denies mental health as a real illness or categorizes it as a weakness that the victim can simply “get over.”

Popular Hip Hop artist Drake reinforced this belief in his new song Two Birds, One Stone. Drake made the song as a diss track in response to comments made by Kid Cudi, another Hip Hop artist. Soon after Cudi’s original diss, the artist took to twitter and apologized for the unnecessary comments about Drake and other artists. Cudi then revealed that he is fighting depression and suicidal thoughts and will be checking into a rehabilitation center to seek professional help.

Over the weekend, Drake decided to release a response to Cudi’s criticism towards him, but instead of criticizing Cudi’s music, Drake attacked Kid Cudi’s struggle with depression. In his lyrics Drake writes You were the man on the moon//Now you just go through your phases//Life of the angry and famous”.

It was hurtful to listen to someone I look up to reinforce everything that is wrong with the way the Black community views mental health issues. Drake supported the destructive idea that depression is not a serious illness, but rather a weakness and a fault. Drake’s behavior is harmful because as an influential black male, his opinion on this subject matters more than most. Black males are the most marginalized in expressing their struggles with mental health issues because they must deal with the stigma of “weakness” that surrounds the subject and how this intersects with the expected gender roles for black males.

So, to Drake and any other person who does not understand mental illness: depression is NOT like that emo “phase” you went through when you were 13. Depression is not someone just choosing to be angry and sad all the time. Thinking about all the good things one has won’t cure the chemical imbalance that causes depression. Depression is not Child’s Play and it’s definitely not something you can use to prove you’re a better rapper than another person. Get it together, Aubrey.

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