an attempt to excuse you from changing you behavior by painting your opponent as a hypocrite.
Son: Why are you always telling me to clean my room? What about YOUR room? Or what about your relation with mom? Shouldn’t YOU be the one cleaning up your life?
Dad: Quit your whataboutism and clean your damn room. I’m tired of seeing that dead rat over there in the corner.
You: “You’ve always been criticizing my room! What about YOUR room? Or what about mom? Shouldn’t YOU be the one cleaning up you life?”
Dad: “Just clean your damn room. Damn whataboutism.”
“But 80% of suicides are male…”
“Oh here we go with the whataboutism. You’re clearly a misogynist.”
Cuban: “You know the one place in Cuba where political prisoners are detained indefinitely without charge? Fucking Guantanamo Bay.”
American: “Waaaah! That’s whataboutism! “
D: Trump accepted $10 million from Russia.
R: Hillary accepted $200 million from Saudi Arabia and China
If the user of the word truly believed foreign donations was a political deal breaker, they wouldn’t have began with the criticism in the first place, as their preferred candidate is more guilty of the offense they are supposedly complaining about. They hold one politician to perfect standards, but another to lower standards, or none at all.
The “whatabouter” is not necessarily defending the perceived offense, but is mis-characterized as supporting it. As the only other choice in the election is a greater offender, the “whatabouter” is simply pointing out the implied criticism makes no sense when there are only two choices.
The tactic is a side effect of solipsism, the idea that only your own opinion exists or matters. As the user places no value on opposing world views, they are confused as why the shaming tactic behind “whataboutism” is ineffectual, and ascribe the ineffectiveness to stupidity.
Concerned citizen: what about US torturing people in GuantÃÂ¡namo Bay?
US propandist: Whataboutism!