Our View: Don’t use hate to raise awareness

DKS Editors

Tuesday marked the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, the event many consider to be the start of the Holocaust. On Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, Nazis attacked Jewish businesses and synagogues in Germany and Austria. During two days, Nazis arrested between 25,000 and 30,000 Jews and put them into concentration camps.

On the anniversary of Kristallnacht, two student organizations placed hateful signs around Risman Plaza and parts of the Esplanade, causing a stir among Kent State students.

The signs said things such as “Whites only,” “Gay free zone” and other hate-filled phrases.

The signs were posted by Hillel, the Jewish student organization, and the History Club, to remind people of the Holocaust and the devastation it caused. The minority groups represented on the signs were those persecuted during the Holocaust.

We appreciate the organizations’ efforts to raise awareness about Kristallnacht – those two nights in history shouldn’t be forgotten. As one Hillel board member said, reminding people of the Holocaust can prevent something like it from ever happening again.

We also think it was a good idea to spread awareness about hate as a whole – after all, the groups shown on the signs still face discrimination today.

However, we think the groups may have gone too far with the signs.

The signs were meant to create a stir and cause controversy. But they could have also made for a hurtful walk through campus, making people feel ostracized and attacked.

Was it necessary to spread awareness about hate in this fashion? In this case, the organizations were the ones spreading the hate. It was a creative idea, but in future campaigns, we think organizations should consider everyone’s emotions.

What if you were a prospective student walking through campus and the first thing that you saw was a sign reading, “Whites only?” Would you feel welcomed? Those signs could reflect poorly on the goals of the university.

For future campaigns, we think organizations should include something on the signs about the anniversary of Kristallnacht, or at least something about who is sponsoring the signs.

Regardless of how shocking these signs may have been, most of them were taken down before they could be appreciated for what they were meant to convey.

It was a good use of freedom of speech and was planned with good intentions. However, we think it could have been executed in a more tasteful fashion.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.