Saturday, September 23, 2006

Swastikas In School

To ban, or not to ban?

In some forms - on a white-power T-shirt worn by a student -the swastika should be banned in a school setting. In a quilting display, a work of art or a class on symbols, history or religion, it should be treated like any other image that humans have invested with symbolic power, as a way to consider, not the symbol itself, but what it has stood for through history.


David said...

Interestingly, the US 45th infantry division once had a swastika-like symbol as its division patch (although I believe the hooks were reversed.) The emblem, which was an American Indian symbol, had been chosen in honor of the large number of Native Americans serving in the division. In 1939, the patch was replaced with the Thunderbird, another American Indian symbol--said to signify "sacred bearer of happiness unlimited."

Wearing the Thunderbird patch, the 45th was one of the two divisions that liberated the Dachau concentration camp.

Rhymes With Right said...

But if you are going to ban that symbol on a t-shirt, why not ban, for example, the iconic "Che" image that has recently been resurgent? After all, Che was a mass murdering thugh who helped install a brutal dictatorship -- which differs not one bit on a moral basis from the Nazi regime.

rightwingprof said...

You can avoid the whole issue with school uniforms.

EllenK said...

If you ever look at Buddhist art and statues, or some native American patterns, the swastika is a common design device.

KimJ said...

When I was in eighth grade, there was for a brief time a fad of students drawing swastikas on their notebooks and shouting "Heil Hitler!" to each other in the hallways. It was done purely for shock value; approximately one-third of my classmate were Jewish, and a number of them participated as well. My school, bless them, didn't respond by trying to ban the behavior, knowing that it would just make it cooler. Instead, they brought in a bunch of elderly veterans who had had a hand in freeing a Nazi concentration camp. One of them brought photographs of the emaciated survivors.

The fad died out within a day.