Social politics are a huge topic right now, and “politically correct culture” is constantly under scrutiny. But there are some symbols that essentially everyone can agree should not be worn on clothing.
Although the swastika did not originate in Nazi Germany, it is almost singularly associated with Hitler’s regime. For that reason, most everyone associates it with the hatred and poison propagated by the bloodthirsty Nazi party.
One clothing company decided to take it upon themselves to “reclaim” the symbol for the LGBT community, one of the groups that the Nazis rounded into concentration camps. And, unsurprisingly, it’s facing huge amounts of backlash.
The History of the Swastika
Although most everyone associates the swastika with Hitler’s Nazi party and the atrocities that they commited against humanity, it has a much longer history. It is actually an ancient religious icon that originated in the Indian subcontinent, East Asia and Southeast Asia. The clockwise swastika is a symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, symbolizing virtues from prosperity to the footprints of the Buddha.
However, needless to say, this is no longer what the swastika symbolizes to most, at least in the Western world. Instead, it has become a symbol of hate, murder, and dehumanization of minorities, particularly of Jewish people.
Persecution of LGBT
Although the primary target of the Nazi party was those of Jewish descent and faith, they also prosecuted and systematically killed members of many other minority groups, such as the physically disabled and the Romani people. Among these minority groups were members of the LGBT community.
Gay organizations were banned under the Nazi party in 1933, and between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 50,000 gay men were sentenced, with 5,000 to 15,000 being incarcerated in the Nazi concentration camps. According to Wikipedia, gay men “in the camps were treated in an unusually cruel manner by their captors.”
So it’s hard to understand this company’s thinking in their decision to use the swastika at all, let alone in association with one of the parties prosecuted by those who used it.
Teespring took their stance on the swastika when they decided to release a line of garments which included the swastika paired with the LGBT symbol of the rainbow. In one of their descriptions, they wrote, “They stigmatised the swastika. They won. They limited our freedom. Or maybe not? The swastika is coming back together with love, peace, respect and freedom.”
A spokesperson for KA Design said that the goal was to “share the beauty” of the swastika.