Yes, Making Holocaust Jokes In America Proves We Are Antisemitic

Yes, Making Holocaust Jokes In America Proves We Are Antisemitic

World War II may have been fought and won, but this is still a concern.
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It is 2017. Can we please stop making jokes about one of the most inhumane genocides within the past century? Because if it never was funny, it never will be funny.

There is nothing more insensitive to me than overhearing people "joke" about Hitler's treatment of Jews or any hardships experienced in a concentration camp. Even though my ancestors do not formally trace back to Holocaust victims or survivors, the thought of laughing about starvation or suicide attempts within a Nazi concentration camp is utterly perverse.

In July 2016, I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. I walked the same path that millions of victims did before facing their brutal fate; whenever I tripped because of the uneven layout of the ground, I felt a glooming sense of despair. I saw the toppled remains of the gas chambers, and I walked alongside the barbed wires which imprisoned those who failed to meet the standards of Adolf Hitler's "Aryan World".

(Please note, not everyone needs to visit a concentration camp to know its seriousness and damage to the oppressed, especially in the Jewish community. Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, along with many other Holocaust museums, is simply a part of my story and why I feel so deeply about the Holocaust's effects on society.)

Towards the back of the camp stands a memorial that attempts to pay homage to those who suffered on that dreary plot of empty land. The phrasing sounded very familiar.

"Never again." The global community cries in despair after any tragedy, "Never again will such an awful event occur." They are the same words said to me after hijackers crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. For months, the same blue skies I had enjoyed looking up at were clouded with smoke, and they reeked of ash.

"Never again", echoed my history teacher, as we concluded a graphic video depicting live-footage after American soldiers liberated the concentration camps in Europe in 1945. And while I'd love to believe these sorts of injustices will never occur, I'm afraid they are still occurring, and we are too ignorant to admit it.

It is 2017. Can we please stop making Holocaust jokes? There is nothing insensitive to me than overhearing people "joke" about Hitler's treatment of Jews or any hardships experienced in a concentration camp. Even though my ancestors do not trace back to Holocaust victims or survivors, the thought of laughing about starvation or suicide attempts within a concentration camp is not only immature but also really perverse. If you actually think anti-Semitism is funny, or if you are one of the few uneducated people who doubt if the Holocaust actually happened, I seriously recommend seeing a therapist of some sort.

Like I said, this is 2017. World War II may have been fought and won, but this is still a major concern. For one, Neo-Nazis do exist. Americans have proof of this based on their presence in the attacks most recently in Charlottesville, Virginia. So, why are we helping Neo-Nazis by adding cynical humor to their repulsive ideologies?

The next time you hear someone make a Hitler joke about anything other than his choice in facial hair, remember to speak up so that these injustices to the Jewish community and all those who were affected by the Holocaust can truly "Never [happen] again."

Cover Image Credit: Juliana Cosenza

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.
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Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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Analyzing The Situation In South Africa

South Africa is in a tenuous position after President Jacob Zuma resigns from office.
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Countries across the world were surprised this Valentine’s Day by sudden news out of South Africa. President Jacob Zuma, also head of his own party, the African National Congress, resigned after being mired in a corruption scandal for weeks.

As a politician, Zuma has been no stranger to controversy, having earned for himself the nickname, “The Teflon President,” due to his ability to dodge backlash from multiple scandals throughout his presidency. Why then, did he feel the need to resign?

Zuma faced pressure from the members of the ANC, calling for him to step down after numerous scandals continued to destroy the credibility of the party and undermine support. Some of the scandals include Zuma’s refusal to repay millions in public funds that were spent on refurbishing his lavish homestead. He has also faced criticism and scrutiny in the decades since a controversial arms deal back in the 1990s.

Opposition party leader and longtime critic of Zuma, Mmusi Maimane, stated his relief at the President’s resignation, saying that Zuma has long been, “…a one-man wrecking ball to our economy, our country.”

Maimane also stated his party’s intent to put forward a candidate shortly to oppose acting president Cyril Ramaphosa, who Maimane’s Democratic Alliance views as an unworthy and incorrect choice to lead South Africa.

South Africa’s future is altogether uncertain and the situation has likely confused many countries around the world, leaving them unsure as to what the outcome will be. Only time will tell and the country is sure to struggle with its leadership in the coming weeks.

It will be up to the citizens of South Africa to remain calm, focused, and secure in their beliefs during the current situation.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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