18 votes

The Nazi salute picture that divided an American town

10 comments

  1. [4]
    dubteedub
    Link
    Link to past Tildes discussion on this here Photo of More Than 60 Students Giving Apparent Nazi Salute Is Being Investigated What I find interesting about this new article is the number of people...

    Link to past Tildes discussion on this here Photo of More Than 60 Students Giving Apparent Nazi Salute Is Being Investigated


    What I find interesting about this new article is the number of people in the local community rallying behind these guys. Their pastor is actually calling for other people to apologize to these damn kids for fucks sake. From this piece, it says the majority of them have expressed no remorse or believe they have done anything wrong. And yet they have constant defenders:

    “I can’t imagine being a 17-year-old and having the world looking upon you as the personification of evil,” said Keri Olson, one of the organisers of a series of meetings in Baraboo to consider what to make of the photographs and how to react. “This is a community of 12,000 that all of a sudden has been cast in this light around the world. How do you prepare for that? How do you respond to that? It’s been a state of crisis here.”

    ...

    The pastor [Dan Gunderson] challenged Mueller, telling her she was well-intentioned but mistaken and had “thrown the boys under the bus” by playing into the hands of people he accused of pursuing a wider political agenda by piling responsibility for rising extremism in the US on to a group of teenagers.

    “There’s a desire to have a narrative of small-town America being impacted by the presidency of Donald Trump and neo-Nazism and antisemitism and white supremacy,” he said.

    Gunderson wrote a Facebook posting under the heading “I Stand with Our Baraboo Boys” which was quickly read across the city and came to mark out the divisions.

    The pastor thinks it is the boys who are owed an apology. He said that from conversations with those involved he believes the students were weary of the photo shoot and restless at being told by Gust to make different poses.

    ...

    “We were at a community gathering and someone was comparing them to sexual assault victims and Parkland shooter victims. That did not seem right. I understand that they have gotten threats for their lives and they are a victim in that sense. And their whole futures are basically affected by this. But they got themselves into this,” she said.

    If you don't want your community to be looked at as a den of anti-semitism, white supremacy, and hate, then maybe you all should stop standing up for these young 17 and 18 year old men who absolutely should know better than to throw up a nazi salute. The picture even shows at least one of the guys doing the white power "OK" sign too. They knew what they exactly what they were doing. They are not victims here.

    17 votes
    1. [3]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      While I don't agree with him, I would say there is a problem with scapegoating the kids for the racism and deficiencies of the system that raised them. It sounds like the school should be getting...

      Their pastor is actually calling for other people to apologize to these damn kids for fucks sake.

      While I don't agree with him, I would say there is a problem with scapegoating the kids for the racism and deficiencies of the system that raised them. It sounds like the school should be getting a lot more ire than it is while the focus is being personalized in the kids.

      This though:

      We were at a community gathering and someone was comparing them to sexual assault victims and Parkland shooter victims. That did not seem right.

      Understatement of the Goddamned year Eva!

      10 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        This was mentioned in the article here, as well as a ton of testimonials that came out from the original viral Twitter thread on this, but there is a systemic issue of racism and discrimination in...
        • Exemplary

        While I don't agree with him, I would say there is a problem with scapegoating the kids for the racism and deficiencies of the system that raised them. It sounds like the school should be getting a lot more ire than it is while the focus is being personalized in the kids.

        This was mentioned in the article here, as well as a ton of testimonials that came out from the original viral Twitter thread on this, but there is a systemic issue of racism and discrimination in this school, way beyond just this one photo. These kids and others have a history of racist, sexist, white supremacist activities and language and I have no problem with them getting their pictures plastered online for being pleased with themselves when throwing up a Hitler salute.

        I do agree though that the community at large has an issue here and the number of folks trying to play this off as kids having a joke or the media blowing it out of proportion just reinforces that fact. If this were not a normal / acceptable view in Baraboo, then the nazi salute never would have happened.

        The community needs to own up to its problems instead of brushing it aside and claiming these are all good kids. By doing this, they are saying in effect its okay to be a racist or a white supremacist and likely just going to make it so this behavior continues.

        I feel sorry for the actual victims here, the black, gay, Jewish, and trans students and residents who are being told that they don't matter.

        12 votes
      2. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        No matter how or where they learned this behaviour, these so-called "kids" are old enough to understand what they're doing. They're 16 and 17 years old, which is old enough for them to have legal...

        No matter how or where they learned this behaviour, these so-called "kids" are old enough to understand what they're doing. They're 16 and 17 years old, which is old enough for them to have legal and moral culpability for their actions. It's also important to note that some of their peers were able to decide to not do this thing.

        We in Australia recently had a nation-wide protest by students of this age and younger against the federal government's inaction on climate change. Would you blame "the deficiencies of the system that raised them" for this protest? How do those Baraboo students escape moral culpability for their actions, when their Australian peers take full responsibility for their actions?

        7 votes
  2. Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    People always seem to overlook the facts behind these statistics. If 60% of people voted one way, that means that 40% of people voted the other way. 40% is not a negligible amount. 40% is a...

    the controversy has been a shock to a city that regards itself as liberal and tolerant. Sixty percent of its votes went to the Democrats running for state governor and US senator in November’s elections.

    People always seem to overlook the facts behind these statistics. If 60% of people voted one way, that means that 40% of people voted the other way. 40% is not a negligible amount. 40% is a significant number of people.

    Gust said he asked the students to wave and that he was surprised when they raised their arms in a fascist salute.

    The most obvious hold-out - Jordan Blue, the boy in the top-right corner, wearing a red bow-tie - did a number of interviews immediately following the release of this photo. He confirmed that the photographer didn't give the boys any specific directions beyond telling them to raise one hand and/or wave. However, there are a variety of different ways to raise your hand. In that context, it's beyond coincidental that so many of the boys chose this particular way to raise their hands. While some of them may have been ignorant of its meaning, and some knew but did it as a joke, some boys knew exactly what they were doing and wanted to do this.

    The pastor thinks it is the boys who are owed an apology.

    Yeah... nah. We do not owe the boys an apology for judging them for their bad behaviour. Even if they were joking, it was a joke in extremely bad taste, and they need to know that.

    10 votes
  3. Kiloku
    Link
    A Nazi salute should unite a town against the Nazis who tarnished their name. How did the world get so upside down

    A Nazi salute should unite a town against the Nazis who tarnished their name.
    How did the world get so upside down

    8 votes
  4. moonbathers
    Link
    Seeing something like this happen in my home state makes me ashamed. They are only kids, but they were 16 and 17 at the time of the picture and should have known better (and some did). I've seen...

    Seeing something like this happen in my home state makes me ashamed. They are only kids, but they were 16 and 17 at the time of the picture and should have known better (and some did). I've seen people say they were just waving goodbye, but that doesn't look like a goodbye to me. I've seen them say it was just a joke, well, what's the joke?

    No, these kids shouldn't be crucified the rest of their lives for it if they realize what they did was wrong, but they should be shown the gravity of what they've done. @NaraVara says the school should be getting more ire, and I agree. I've seen stories from Baraboo students saying that racial slurs aren't uncommon at the high school. The community as a whole should be getting more ire because an entire high school class of boys threw a Nazi salute, knew what they were doing, and nobody involved cared about it until months later when the internet noticed it. When I was in high school 10 years ago, a house near me flew a Confederate flag and I thought it was creepy, but an outlier. Now I wonder how much of this has been lurking under the radar my entire life.

    5 votes
  5. actionscripted
    Link
    Slightly OT but the eagle/crest/logo in the hero picture isn't helping the cause.

    Slightly OT but the eagle/crest/logo in the hero picture isn't helping the cause.

    5 votes
  6. [2]
    stromm
    Link
    What's interesting is that before WWII, American's saluted like this during the Pledge of Allegiance. It was quite a common salute for many countries.

    What's interesting is that before WWII, American's saluted like this during the Pledge of Allegiance.

    It was quite a common salute for many countries.

    1 vote
    1. dubteedub
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah and America stopped using the Bellamy Salute after 1942 due to the fact that Italian and German fascists had adopted it. Not that surprising really and we haven't used it in this country for...

      Yeah and America stopped using the Bellamy Salute after 1942 due to the fact that Italian and German fascists had adopted it. Not that surprising really and we haven't used it in this country for nearly 80 years so not really all that relevant here either. Everyone knows it now as a Nazi salute and knows the connotations behind it.

      7 votes