Again, With The Swastikas

I wrote about the new trend among 20-something “hippies” to make or buy jewelry with swastikas on it. You can read that post here

Well, metalsmith Meg Girard is at it again. Because I don’t want to reproduce that symbol, you can go to her webpage, scroll down and see what you think for yourself:

Meg Girard Portfolio

Girard claims that the symbol has special meaning to her. Actually, I’ll let her speak for herself.

image

Girard isn’t alone. There are 1199 posts on Instagram with the hashtag “whirlinglog.” Some of these are Navajo artists, most don’t claim to be Native American. They are just using the whirling log because it’s “cool” to many of their misguided and too-cool-to-care-about-the-Nazi-meaning followers.

Instagram Whirling Logs

The swastika used to be a symbol for the Navajos meaning “good luck,” but even if you are a registered Native American, I have a concern about using this symbol, as most of the people who see it on your jewelry won’t think, “Oh, yes, this means something different to Meg Girard. It is a whirling log.” One would think that Native Americans, who themselves suffered horrible genocides, would be sensitive to the use of this on objects that will be worn publicly. And I think to use it on jewelry to make money, knowing that 99.99999% of the people who see your jewelry on others will think it is a swastika, one of the most powerful symbols of hate and genocide in the western world, is shortsighted and insensitive at best.

I study history, so I know that the swastika is an old symbol. To find it on jewelry and textiles made before the 1940s is common; I even found a small square on a quilt I bought that had that symbol repeated on it. I didn’t rip out that square, but it gave me the creeps nevertheless, and I do think it’s bad karma to use the quilt. But to rehab the swastika? It’s a symbol that isn’t ready to be rehabbed. Those with memories of the Holocaust are still alive today, and their suffering should be respected. I am not the Internet Police, but sometimes I feel as though many Americans have a collective amnesia, or just don’t give a damn about what others have gone through. They have their own point of view and they are such Special Snowflakes that everyone else needs to respect their point of view, or that symbol they want to rehab, even if it is recognized worldwide as a symbol of genocide. I would love to see some sensitivity from these supposedly sensitive artists.

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