Letter: Swastika — Just a Couple of Crazy Kids

To the Editor:

Oh, come on. They’re good kids, they just wanted to be rebellious. It hasn’t happened in this town before, so it’s not really a problem. Sure, they should be reprimanded for defacing school property, but let’s be honest, it was only chalk, not paint. This is a nice town, one swastika isn’t going to change that. Let’s not overreact here.

I wonder if any Eastonites feel this way. Because one swastika IS a problem.

Was it a kid who just wanted to be hateful, and used the first symbol that came to mind? He or she could have found many other offensive expressions. Or was it a kid who is an anti-Semititic and chose to express his/her hatred in the worst way possible? (Did the child even know it was the Day of Remembrance for the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust?)

Either way, it is a shocking and dangerous moment for our town. Because at this very same moment, some of our neighbors want to strip our school curricula of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion awareness, block Critical Race Theory and its lessons about how races are judged differently, of acknowledging that yes, white people are responsible for some of the most egregious acts in history.

That is not an accusation. That is a fact. The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the displacement and genocide committed against Native Americans, the enslavement of Black people, the Holocaust: all perpetrated to promote and guarantee the supremacy and privilege of white people.

These moments in history need to be reframed as acts against other human beings, not acts for the advancement of white human beings. Our children, and many adults, need to be taught the real reasons they occurred, and how to make sure they don’t happen again. That’s what Critical Race Theory can do.

So now, a swastika has appeared at our elementary school. A symbol of hatred and murder, yes, but also proof that further education is desperately needed and absolutely critical to understanding history. We must go forward not finding ways for oppressed people to “fit in” to society as it is; we must find ways to change society as it is and enrich it by welcoming the beauty that each culture brings. It will feel uncomfortable. And that’s OK; changing the status quo, even in a better direction, always does.

That education must start in the home, and continue at school and beyond. I’m sure my rabbi and his interfaith and multicultural partners would love the opportunity to speak with the child who drew the swastikas, along with his/her parents. I’d be happy to sit down with them, too.

Debbi Barer

19-year Easton Resident