When you deflect criticism by pointing out flaws in your opponent, specifically using the phrase "what about x?" This is an attempt to excuse you from changing you behavior by painting your opponent as a hypocrite.
Dad: Son, you haven't cleaned your room in two years. Please clean it up.

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.
by JohnW22 May 6, 2016
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A tankie's favorite thing to do when they get into an argument
Person 1: Why is china genociding uyghurs?
Tankie: hurr durr Native Americans Guantanamo bay
Person 1: Quit your whataboutism
by elijahr241 January 25, 2022
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Made up term created by US propagandists to defend their and their government's hypocrisy.
US propandist: this is an evil man because he has tortured people!
Concerned citizen: what about US torturing people in Guantánamo Bay?
US propandist: Whataboutism!
by InRaged October 13, 2015
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An attempt to change the subject, often attempting to connect the emotional component of the original comment to whatever the individual thinks belongs in the same emotional bucket as the original subject of the conversation.
Individual 1: I am very upset about X. I dislike it for the following 6 reasons.
Individual 2: Y is a much more important thing than X.
Individual 1: OK... Sure, fine, whatever. I was talking about X though. If you'd like to talk about Y, fine, let's talk about Y. We can do that, or not do that, without getting into a discussion ranking the importance of every single thing on the planet... It is difficult to have conversations with you do to your constant use of whataboutism.
by SimpleSimon34 May 3, 2019
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A lazy, cowardly deflection tactic that is often employed to end any argument with another person instead of actually debating them head-to-head. It is often used when one person points out a flaw in another's argument that is non-defensible by any standards, so the other person simply calls it a "Whataboutism" and, thus, renders the comparison non-debatable no matter how correct one side may be.
Pete: "Humans are monsters! They kill innocent animals and eat them! They enslave dogs and cats, too! They make elephants dance in circuses for entertainment! PETA is the best because they're against the bad humans!" >:L

Mike: "Hold on. Doesn't PETA kill most of the animals they receive in their shelters? And didn't PETA also make a tasteless AD benefiting from the tragedy of a mangled shark attack survivor to further their own agenda?"

Pete: "Wooow! What a lazy /whataboutism/ Mike!"
by Fire Tongue January 22, 2021
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A rhetorical term used by Americans to dismiss criticism of their own hypocrisy. Originated when the Soviet Union would respond to American criticisms of Soviet human rights by pointing out, for example, that if America was so concerned with human rights, it should repeal its Jim Crow segregation and address its own white supremacist violence. Americans, believing their country was, by definition, "the home of the free" and above such criticism, accused Soviets of "whataboutism."
American: "Cuba is a brutal, authoritarian dictatorship which suppresses political dissent."
Cuban: "You know the one place in Cuba where political prisoners are detained indefinitely without charge? Fucking Guantanamo Bay."
American: "Waaaah! That's whataboutism! "
by Thorstein Shiver February 21, 2018
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A pejorative term for calling out hypocrisy, used by people who believe their own actions should be immune to criticism. Chiefly (though not exclusively) used by Americans to stave off criticism of their country's domestic human or civil rights abuses, or aggression against other countries.
American: Russia must be severely punished for its crimes against Ukraine.

Russian: why should Russia be punished when America has been doing far worse in Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria with impunity for decades?
American: That's whataboutism!
by Thorstein Shiver March 9, 2022
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