Let’s Talk About: Punching Nazis

White Supremacist Rally in Charlottesville, Virgina, August 2017 /Samuel Corum, Getty

Apparently it’s 1943 again and there are Nazis walking among us. I wasn’t alive during World War II so I can’t really know what it was like back then but I have to say, I’m getting scared. When I wake up one morning and read that someone has been murdered at a Nazi rally, I think it’s safe to say the ‘sh** has hit the fan’ in a big way. Nazis? Really? I thought we were done with this. The US has always been so proud of their involvement in bringing an end to World War II and Hitler’s regime that it is shocking and surreal to see the Nazi movement making such a big comeback in America, and in fact all over the world.

But they aren’t Nazis, right? They don’t call themselves Nazis, so should we? The white supremacist/Nazi movement in the US has disguised itself with many names, including some that are co-opted from legitimate organizations. They call themselves Republicans, Trump supporters and Odinists. They also use the completely inaccurate title of “White Nationalist.” How can you be a white nationalist when there is no white nation? The US is not a white nation and neither is Canada. We are both nations of immigrants, full of people of all colours, religions, and cultural backgrounds. It’s something we as Canadians always talk about. Multiculturalism is part of our national identity. Americans have a greeting on their Statue of Liberty, the symbol of their country, that states that the unwanted and homeless of the world come to American shores to find shelter. This is who we are. We are not Nazis. They are not allowed to sit with us.

Some debate has occurred recently about whether or not it’s okay to punch a Nazi in the face. What if they aren’t being physically violent? What if they are just talking? It’s the things they talk about that are half the problem. Prominent figures may not physically hurt people by themselves but they advocate that their followers do. The words they say are violent acts themselves. Inciting race hatred is as damaging as any physical blow.

Physical violence is almost never the answer. I have always advocated non-violent protest and education over threats. Hurting another person is the absolute last resort in any situation unless they are directing threatening your safety. The thing is, Nazis are directly threatening the safety of a significant portion of the world’s population. Even if you’re not included in that number, you have a part to play in encouraging or discouraging that kind of behaviour. We as human beings can never forget that 60 million people have already died in a war over this stuff. If I have to punch a Nazi or two to stop that ever happening again, I’m definitely going to do it.

 

‘Let’s Talk About’ is a weekly column about major social issues affecting Brock students and the community at large. We seek to hear from everyone in the community about the issues that affect them personally.  If you have an issue that you’d like to write about, including feminist issues, LGBTQ+ issues, racism, sexism, ableism, etc., please send us your opinions. For submissions and guidelines for publication, please inquire at opinion@brockpress.com.

 

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