… (contd) and are making fun of people who are bothered by it. Personally I find it very unnecessary, the poster would be fine without that symbol and id prefer to be able to walk through hallways and not be reminded of antisemitism. Plus I know jewish people who were alive in that time and can’t hear the word fascist without grimacing and i cant help but wonder how theyd feel if they saw the poster… idk am i making too much of a big deal? (i’m jewish btw), thank you!
I don’t think you’re making too big a deal out of it. I can understand why you’re uncomfortable. I know other Jews who are incredibly uncomfortable with swastikas and some tumblr savior it actually. Also, I don’t really think anyone has a good reason to use swastikas unless they come from a culture that originally used the symbol to mean peace or other things, or in a play, movie or other visual work where Nazi characters wear clothes or have props with the symbol in the work itself. But I don’t really think using the swastika symbol on promotional posters out of context is usually defensible. I would think the safety and comfort of students affected by the Holocaust would be more important than that.
Normalizing use of the swastika I think is a bad idea. Too many people try to argue for using the swastika and antisemites also use the symbol to terrorize Jews in the modern day. People using the swastika lightly I think causes people to misunderstand the weight of the symbol. There is of course a conflict here around the symbol being pertinent to a historical work. For example, the symbol is used is the comic book Maus and is even depicted on the cover of the book in a very prominent position. But in that case, the work is by a Jewish person and most people would come in contact with the book are reading it and would understand the context, but I did feel a bit uncomfortable walking around reading it in public, and when that book was first sold, my guess is it was on displays in bookstores at one time.
But I feel in Maus it’s more defensible considering the reason why the symbol is used (very conciously using cat and mouse symbolism to recontextualize the Nazis and Jews in a visual novel of a Holocaust survivor’s biography) versus in the situation you are giving: a promotional poster for a play where a character is depicted with a swastika tattoo. I don’t see why the symbol is necessary for that poster. It seems in fact that the symbol is being used to provoke, scandalize or get attention.
It’s true such a symbol would make it clear the play dealt with Nazis and the Holocaust as subject matter, but I’m not so sure from the details you give that artistic commentary in the poster or play outweighs the damage of proliferating such a symbol on a college campus, when college campuses in general are places where antisemitism is a growing problem. It seems especially bad that a school organization would choose to put posters with that symbol all over the school, without thinking of the affect this has on the student body and community. Maybe with more details from the play there’d be the possibility of me feeling differently, but from the details you’re giving it doesn’t sound like they have much of a defense for using the symbol.
At the very least, people who aren’t Jewish or Romani shouldn’t be making fun of people who feel uncomfortable due to the symbol. That’s just disrespectful. If they’re going to defend using the symbol, they should at least respect the feelings of people who are so deeply affected by the Holocaust. Them invalidating how you and others feel is not okay no matter what.