The thief-thief technique, as Noam Chomsky puts it, is when your hand is someone’s pocket and you point to someone else and say, “Thief! Thief!”, hoping everyone forgets you are the robber. It is used by petty crooks, tenth-rate lawyers, propagandists, the press and, when talking about race, by Whites and their hangers-on.
Many of the Broken Record arguments on this blog, the ones that are repeated over and over again almost word for word, are thief-thief ones:
- “The Arabs traded slaves too!”
- “Africans sold their own people into slavery.”
- “You are the racist one!” – for talking about racism.
- “How come you never talk about terrible thing X that took place in country Y?” – instead of racism in your own country.
- “Whites are not uniquely evil” – pointed out even when no one said otherwise.
- Asian Atrocity argument – Whites are not as bad as Mao, Genghis Khan, etc
- Black-on-Black crime argument – Blacks should not talk about police brutality until they bring down their own crime rate.
- Racist Uncle argument – A White person cannot be racist if he is not as bad as the Klan, the Republicans, Fox News, etc.
These seem to be taught at the Secret Course on Whiteness.
Each one is a moral deflection, pointing to some other wrong to draw attention away from the one in question. These arguments support moral blindness. They seem to come from White guilt, that thing Whites deny having, yet makes so much sense of their behaviour, just like how atoms make sense of chemical reactions.
The best ones for Whites to use on Blacks are those that turn the tables on them: Black-on-Black crime, Africa sold its own, and “You’re the racist one!” They force Blacks to defend themselves, letting Whites off the hook.
Likewise, the best one for Whites to use on Asian Americans is the Asian Atrocity argument.
And so on.
As a moral argument it is a logical fallacy: just because there is another thief, that hardly means you are not one too! There can be more than one thief.
The thief-thief argument points away, that is the whole point, but it should be a huge, blinking red arrow pointing at the person who makes the argument. Because while the other accused thief may or may not in fact be a thief, the person making the argument is doing so out of guilt!
The thief-thief technique seems to underlie many stereotypes, like:
- American Indians were savages – said of the victims of genocide by Whites.
- Blacks are thugs – said of the victims of police brutality by Whites.
- Muslims are terrorists – said by those whose countries drop bombs on Muslims.
- Blacks are lazy, a drain on society – said by Whites, who got rich off of Black slave labour and are unwilling to pay reparations.
- Mexicans are taking our jobs – said by those who turn a blind eye to companies shipping jobs overseas.
So, for example, Trayvon Martin became the thug, not George Zimmerman. A complete and utter thief-thief move.
Thanks to Legion for bringing this to my attention.
– Abagond, 2015.
- Broken Record arguments
- The Secret Course on Whiteness
- moral blindness
- White guilt / White fragility
- “Stereotypes have some truth to them”
- The word “thug”
- Noam Chomsky