Acts of anti-semitism indicate need for improvement

Since August 31, five swastikas have been found on or near Swarthmore’s campus. The discovery of offensive, hateful, and bigoted symbols and speech at Swarthmore is nothing new. The history of our institution is rife with examples of bias incidents, graffiti, and actions and hateful symbolism that hurt large swaths of our student population. This academic year has begun on a sour note, one in which students at the college not only feel that the political climate is divisive and dangerous, but that such danger has punctured our “bubble.”
The menace of these swastikas no doubt stems from their historical significance as a symbol of anti-semitism, its 20th century association with and cooptation by the German Nazi Party, and its meaning within neo-Nazi, anti-semitic, white supremacist movements, and the KKK in the United States and elsewhere.
Some debates on the incident on campus have touched on the topic of whether these acts might have been committed by a member of the campus community; we at the Phoenix believe this question does not add to the conversation in a productive way. What is more important is the fact that these acts of hate can and have happened on our campus, and that members of our community have been hurt and their safety threatened.
We at the Phoenix are, again, appalled and offended and stand in solidarity with all students on campus who feel personally targeted or hurt by not just one incident, but by this aggressive and repeated act of hate. We want to amplify the voices and stories of people who this symbol and its associated groups and aggressors aim to destroy. Using the tool of journalism—which is itself under attack by the far right, white nationalist, and anti-semitic groups that are gaining not only popular but also political ground—we will protect those who feel marginalized or dehumanized by the swastika.
Perhaps the lesson to learn is that this is less of a bubble than we thought. The repeated swastika graffiti indicates to us that there is much work to be done in working on campus to build safe communities of solidarity, and to make sure that the hate of the world has no place, symbolically or otherwise, on Swarthmore’s campus.

1 Comment

  1. Actually it is more the left than the right that has encouraged anti-Semitism. The left’s affinity for groups like SJP, the Muslim Student Association and Cair help promote anti-Semitism. And now the left is backing Keith Ellison as head of the DNC. This guy has a long history of associating with and backing known anti-Semites.
    So don’t try to lay the blame solely on the right as it is anything but the case.

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