16 December 2008

Happy Birthday, Adolf Hitler Campbell!

Looks like little Adolf Hitler Campbell, 3, will be getting a birthday cake with his name on it after all.
I found an article about this (“Cake request for 3-year-old Hitler namesake denied”) published by the Associated Press recently. The child's father, 35-year-old Heath Campbell of Hunterdon County, N.J, claims that he isn't a racist. I find that difficult to believe considering he named his son after Hitler and named another child JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell.
"They need to accept a name,” Campbell said in the article. “A name's a name. The kid isn't going to grow up and do what (Hitler) did."
Yes, Heath, a true point; but why do I get the feeling he'd be more than happy should this turn out to be the case?
Apparently, Campbell's wife called the local ShopRite with the cake naming request. The supervisor there, in a completely understandable and rational decision, said it was something they wouldn't do. So, the Campbell's went to Wal-Mart, who were of course happy to do it (why am I not surprised?)
Part of the irony of Campbell's complaining about the matter is that he's asking for tolerance towards his son's name - the same tolerance that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party withheld when they systematically humiliated and murdered millions of human beings between 1933-1945. Tolerance isn't exactly a Nazi virtue. The fact that his daughter has “Aryan Nation” as part of her name makes me less willing to write him off as a random crank. I think Mr. Campbell is narrow minded, and that his children will suffer for it. The article states:
“[Campbell] said he was raised not to avoid people of other races but not to mix with them socially or romantically. But he said he would try to raise his children differently.
'Say he grows up and hangs out with black people. That's fine, I don't really care," he said. "That's his choice.'”

A choice Mr. Campbell is simply go along with? I doubt that. What makes Mr. Campbell's comments interesting in this article is that they try hard to sound like they are not coming from someone who is an obvious racist. He crouches behind lofty phrases, like “I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they've been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past," that distract from the issue.
I think what really makes me frown after reading this is that an adorable little boy has been named after one of the most evil and forbidden men from the 20th Century, and he has a father who is bending over backwards to justify that choice.
Who wants to be friends with Hitler? How will that work on the playground?

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