After the Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville was focused with hateful graffiti, the congregation’s board issued a press release that mentioned it was the primary time its members had skilled such an assault. If nobody can bear in mind an assault of this type in Mandeville, then we are able to assume that Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker would not have expertise crafting a considerate response to at least one. However though we are able to assume this was Sticker’s first time responding to such an incident, we are able to nonetheless be unsettled by his suggestion that what appears to be like like a attainable hate crime may need really been a infantile prank.
Whereas promising to seek the advice of with the FBI, Sticker mentioned, “Clearly this point in time we have now to take it severely.” However then he added, “Hopefully it is simply children being silly.”
What children? Hitler Youth?
Why ought to we hope that “children” had been those who spray-painted “Synagogue of Devil” on the congregation’s constructing and additional defaced it with a swastiska and two numbers which have particular which means to white supremacists?
And if children really had been behind the assault, why would we characterize their act of vandalism as “silly” versus “hateful” and “terrifying?”
To his credit score, Sticker did say, “It is doubtlessly a hate crime. We are going to do our due diligence and switch it over to our detectives.”
Nonetheless, when he says that he hopes that “it is simply children being silly,” he is suggesting that one thing aside from hate might have impressed the hateful message. And that is simply not plausible.
There was by no means a time when such a focused assault upon a non secular and ethnic minority ought to have been shrugged off and disregarded, however when Sticker says that in “this point in time we have now to take it severely,” he’s acknowledging that issues have lately worsened.
In a January 2018 report, the Anti-Defamation League wrote, “The variety of white supremacist murders in the USA greater than doubled in 2017 in comparison with the earlier 12 months, far surpassing murders dedicated by home Islamic extremists and making 2017 the fifth deadliest 12 months on document for extremist violence since 1970.”
In August 2016, Heather Heyer was killed as she protested white supremacists who had been rallying in Charlottesville, Va. In a USA At present op-ed that coincided with the one-year anniversary of that rally and Heyer’s dying, Jonathan Greenblatt, the nationwide director of the ADL, writes, “Charlottesville was a wake-up name to America. It was a reminder that the racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry that we thought had been pushed to the fringes of society can discover a foothold if given the suitable situations for revival. The far-right rally additionally reminded us that the hate motion is inherently violent. Whereas folks could disagree on many elements that led to Charlottesville, there is no disputing the end result: it was one of many largest gatherings of white supremacists in trendy instances, drawing greater than 600 white supremacists from at the very least 35 states.”
Greenblatt’s assertion that the hate motion is inherently violent is one cause that we should not be comforted by Chief Sticker’s expressed hope that silly children are behind the defacing of the Northshore Jewish Congregation’s constructing.
The numbers painted on the constructing – 14 and 88 – are themselves a risk of violence. The quantity 14 is a reference to the 14-word slogan recited by white supremacists: “We should safe the existence of our folks and a future for white kids.” Make no mistake. Securing whiteness – a made-up idea that has led to dying and destruction across the globe – has required and at all times would require violence. Manifest Future, the Path of Tears and the close to elimination of Native peoples, lynchings, Jim Crow, the Holocaust are just a few of the numerous makes an attempt made at securing whiteness, and so they all resulted within the deaths of people that weren’t included in that period’s definition of white. The quantity 88 is a numerical shorthand for “Heil, Hitler.” (The letter H is eighth in our alphabet.) And it must be apparent that “Heil Hitler,” nevertheless it is expressed, carries with it a willingness, an eagerness, to be violent.
If “children” know the importance of the numbers 14 and 88 and spray paint them onto the constructing of a Jewish congregation, then we are able to conclude that they aren’t silly. At the least not on this subject. They’ve realized – or they have been taught – a few of the insider language of white supremacists. And under no circumstances ought to that be seen as a cause for the Jewish neighborhood in and round Mandeville to breathe a sigh of aid.
ADL Regional Director Aaron Ahlquistsaid mentioned, “Hate of any sort should not be normalized, thus we hope that all the neighborhood roundly condemns the vandalism on the Northshore Jewish Congregation.”
Not solely should it not be normalized. It should not be advised that it might probably depend as a juvenile prank.
Jarvis DeBerry is a columnist on the Latitude crew at NOLA.com | The Occasions-Picayune. Latitude is a spot to share opinions in regards to the challenges dealing with Louisiana. Comply with @LatitudeNOLA on Fb and Twitter. Write Jarvis at [email protected] or @jarvisdeberry.