And you are lynching Negroes

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1930 print in Bezbozhnik, the Soviet magazine, showing a Black American being lynched, hanging from the Statue of Liberty.

"And you are lynching Negroes" (Russian: "А у вас негров линчуют", A u vas negrov linchuyut, "And at your place, they are lynching Negroes") and "And you are hanging blacks" (Russian: "А у вас негров вешают") are anecdotal counter-argument phrases, which epitomize the tu quoque arguments used by the Soviet Union in response to allegations that it had violated human rights.[1] Use of the phrase refers to such attempts to deflect criticism, e.g. by referencing racial discrimination and lynching in the United States.[2] The Economist popularized the term whataboutism for the repeated usage of this rhetorical tactic by the Soviet Union.[3]


The use of the phrase as a reference to demagoguery and hypocrisy is traced to a Russian political joke, about a dispute between an American and a Soviet man.[4] Earlier evidence of the concept in Soviet propaganda and phrases of some similarity can be found dating back to Viktor Deni's 1929 postcard image "Democracy of Mr. Lynch".[5] Shortly thereafter, in 1931, Dmitri Moor produced "Freedom to the prisoners of Scottsboro!" [6][7][8][9] following the controversial trial of the Scottsboro Boys of Alabama. Many years later a science fiction comic, Technique – The Youth. – 1948. – № 2 titled "In a world of crazy fantasy" (Russian: "В мире бредовой фантастики") featured a poem of political attacks on the cover which included the strikingly similar line in Russian: "Линчуют негров всех планет", "Every planet's Negroes are being lynched there".[10] In a 1962 version, an American and a Soviet car salesman argue which country makes better cars. Finally, the American asks: "How many decades does it take an average Soviet man to earn enough money to buy a Soviet car?" After a thoughtful pause, the Soviet replies: "And you are lynching Negroes!"[11][12]


Similar phrases are used in the languages of Eastern Europe, in different variants.

  • Czech: A vy zase bijete černochy![13] (Literally, "And, in turn, you beat up blacks!")
  • Hungarian: Amerikában (pedig) verik a négereket (Literally, "And in America, they beat up Negroes")[14]
  • Polish: A u was biją Murzynów![15] (Literally, "And at your place, they beat up blacks!")
  • Romanian: Da, dar voi linșați negrii![16] (Literally, "Yes, but you are lynching Negroes!")

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lucas, Edward (2009). The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces Both Russia and the West. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 307. 
  2. ^ Interview with a Soviet emigrant Bloom Southwest Jewish Archives University of Arizona
  3. ^ "Whataboutism". The Economist. Jan 31, 2008. 
  4. ^ (Russian) "Your Letters", at Radio Liberty
  5. ^ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University Library
  6. ^ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University Library
  7. ^ Abbott (Tom) Gleason, Keeney Professor of History Emeritus
  8. ^ The chill is gone by Alan Bisbort
  9. ^ Steven M. Norris (2006) "A War of Images: Russian popular prints, wartime culture, and national identity", Northern Illinois University Press, ISBN 9780875803630, p. 173
  10. ^ В МИРЕ БРЕДОВОЙ ФАНТАСТИКИ. (in Russian). 1948. 
  11. ^ The Sideways Institute
  12. ^ Dora Shturman, Sergei Tiktin (1985) "Sovetskii Soiuz v zerkale politicheskogo anekdota" ("Soviet Union in the Mirror of the Political Joke"), Overseas Publications Interchange Ltd., London, ISBN 0-903868-62-8, p. 58 (Russian)
  13. ^ "Nepoučitelný Topolánek" (Czech)
  14. ^ "A pragmatikus szocializmus évtizedei" (Hungarian)
  15. ^ "Gdzie Murzynów biją albo racjonalizm na cenzurowanym" (Polish)
  16. ^ Ștefan Cazimir, "Acordul de la Peleș", România Literară, 1/2002 (Romanian)