The debate over Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s use of the words “concentration camps” to describe conditions at detention centers for migrants at the U.S. southern border continues to wage on, with critics continuing to lambast her for using a term that is commonly associated with Nazi prison camps of World War II.
In a June 17 social media video she posted online, Ocasio-Cortez never made comparisons to those Nazi camps, and used the broader term of “concentration camps” to deride the Trump administration for the conditions people were living in.
Indeed, the term “concentration camp” was first used in 1897, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com — nearly four decades before Nazi leader Adolf Hitler started placing people in his own death camps.
Critics, not all of whom were Republicans, nevertheless blasted AOC over conjuring up those images. Rep. Liz Cheney, NBC News’ Chuck Todd, and Rep. Steve King all accused Ocasio-Cortez of being insensitive.
Academics and other experts on concentration camps, however, have come to her defense, according to a report from Newsweek.
“Concentration camps are any place where large numbers of people are held in poor conditions because of their nationality, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics, rather than as individuals convicted of crimes,” University at Albany, SUNY, professor Richard Lachmann said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 24, 2019
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee history professor Rachel Ida Buff added that Ocasio-Cortez’s depictions of detention centers currently in the U.S. could “absolutely” be described as concentration camps.
“The trauma these children are suffering threatens to disable a generation,” she added.
Perhaps the best voices to consult are those who have lived through such traumas. Actor and activist George Takei weighed in on the matter this past week, himself having lived through Japanese-American internment camps in the U.S. during World War II.
I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 19, 2019
“I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again,” Takei said.
The actor also shared a tweet from writer Danny Aldham, who made a different kind of suggestion on what to call the camps.
“Let’s call them #Trumpcamps,” Aldham said in his tweet. “Attach his name to them. Make him own it. His name and his brand is the ONLY thing he cares about. This will be his legacy, what everyone in the future first thinks of when they hear the name Donald Trump.”