An apparel company is on attack for selling a t-shirt with a rainbow Nazi swastika and the caption "peace". It says its goal is to reclaim the symbol as a positive one -- but that's rather belied by the shirts it's selling with captions like "Hitler did nothing wrong ever" and "We're all Hitler now." [UPDATE: Apparently the rainbow swastika shirts are made by a different designer than the "We're all Hitler now" shirts. Only the former says their project is to "reclaim" the image. To which I still say "bullshit", but, you know, context is context].
Why do I bother sharing this? Sometimes, people say that things like this would never happen to the Jews. In contrast to other groups, everyone knows the Nazis are terrible and the Holocaust was awful and Hitler is evil.
That's not true. As we see, these things most certainly do happen. Those things we think nobody would ever say when it comes to the Jews, are in fact said.
Others, perhaps reading this story, have the opposite reaction -- people would never do this about other minorities. In contrast to other groups, its acceptable to say this about the Jews -- to throw Nazism in our face, to insist that we're overreacting, to tell us we should just get over a genocide that was, what, a half-century ago by now?
And that's not true either. Things akin to this most certainly do happen to other minorities (as anyone paying attention to continued Confederate glorification can attest to). Those things we think nobody would ever say when it comes to people of color, are in fact said.
Last year, I commented on the odd mirror-image that's developed whereby (some) Jews contrast the supposedly tepid response certain institutional actors take towards alleged antisemitism to the supposedly swift condemnation that occurs in cases of racism; and (some) people of color contrast the supposedly tepid response certain institutional actors take towards alleged racism to the supposedly swift condemnation that occurs in cases of antisemitism. My observation was that both sides were right and wrong -- we see the obstacles in our own path, and are less attuned to the travails of others, and wrongfully conclude that they have it easy while we have it hard.
So my goal is simply to reiterate my call for humility and empathy. Those who are confident that Jews are uniquely protected from the slings and arrows of racist bigotry are wrong; those who are confident that Jews are uniquely vulnerable to such viciousness compared to other minority groups are also wrong. The truth is, they would say it about Jews. They'd also say it about all the others too.