At a little more than an hour’s drive from my town, La Cañada Flintridge, a high school party was thrown in Newport beach. There, students made a Nazi Swastika with red plastic cups and raised their hands to perform the Hitler salute. Seeing the group of comically ignorant teens grinning and extending their arms stimulated an intense surge of disgust I haven’t felt in years. The fact that a genocide that systematically murdered over six million Jewish people was celebrated in one of the most accepting and diverse states of this country was shocking to many, including myself.
Most individuals equipped with common sense acknowledge the atrocious crimes committed by the Nazis. But what exactly is Anti-Semitism, and what’s wrong with the Swastika? Anti-Semitic ideology wrongfully accuses Jews of controlling the world’s wealth, scapegoating them to the extent where it maliciously destroys countless societies. To this day, the Jewish community is constantly subject to hate speeches, discrimination, and humiliation for their religious beliefs.
“We hear the snide comments after we don’t lend our friends a few dollars. Spare change is thrown on the ground in front of us as we are teased to pick it up because of our religious identity. We are forced to urinate next to countless Swastikas on the bathroom walls,” said a Jewish youth at Newport Harbour High School, the school the people in the images are believed to attend.
The Swastika symbolizes xenophobia and the systematic murder of millions, something we do not ever want to see recurring. From numerous historic examples of genocide including, but not limited to the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and the Rwandan genocide, humanity has learned that complicity equals ignorance. It is still evident that antisemitism is abundant within the very state we are residing in. It is irrefutable that the status quo is far from perfect, and that we need to exercise our voices in the correct way.
It is crucial to speak out against Anti-Semitism and discrimination. We should be defending the rights of the Jewish community and remembering the innocent deaths and sterilization of the Jews, homosexuals, disabled persons, Slavs, and Poles denied of their human rights. If we do not stand up for one another, no oe4ne will be there to stand up for us when we need help. The incident that occurred at the Newport Beach high school party was an atrocity committed by students who share so much in common with us: students our age, students who received our level of education, students who reside in the same state as we do, and students who dream of a better tomorrow (well, maybe not).
Of course, I have no doubt that there were students uncomfortably laughing, students walking away, and even students speaking out at the sight of the Swastika at the party. However, it’s still a shame that even 75 years of reconstruction after the horrors of the Holocaust, our world is riddled with Anti-Semitic hate. If you aren’t calling out this bigotry, you’re perpetrating the problem. You have a voice. Use it wisely; use it to stand against racial supremacy, hate, and ignorance.