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Vandalism on Campus

Apparently there are one or multiple tools running around who think it’s a good idea to paint KKK symbols and swastikas on cars.

Well, screw you.

As a German, I’ll say I have a more in-depth understanding of the swastika – and no, it’s not funny, it’s not shocking, it’s not rebellious, it’s not juvenile cockiness. Painting it is a hate crime, plain and simple.

In contrary to many American schools, my curriculum did not gloss over my country’s horrible and shameful past, even if it is uncomfortable and at times painful to deal with.

The swastika stands for something Germany and Europe has been fighing against with every inch we’ve got since the end of World War II: Nazism.

In Germany, showing the swastika is only legal if it serves an artistic or educational purpose; performing the Hitler salute or using Nazi greetings is completely illegal, unless shown in historic films.

Seeing these things thrown around loosely offends me to a degree I doubt I’m able to convey. These symbols stand for a collective guilt many Germans still feel.

And, in my opinion, every American should feel in a similar way when it comes to the genocide of Native Americans and slavery.

I think the problem lies in the way many white people view America’s past – to quote one of my professors: “Our history is often taught as a success story.”

America is without a doubt one of the great countries, but it comes with a dark past, as so many other countries do.

I don’t say white Americans should feel personally guilty when they see or talk about Indian Reservations or racist organizations; after all, they did not murder Native Americans with their own hands nor fought in the Civil War on the Confideration’s side themselves. But these images should be accompanied by an awareness and knowledge of America’s violent past.

The Ku-Klux-Klan paintings stand for this past America still does not properly deal with. I love this country but it also grinds my gears like none other; I’m convinced America would see into a more peaceful future if it just started dealing with its history.

This vandalistic hate crime needs to be taken very seriously; it is not something Missouri Western can overlook.

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