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Subject: Is my Uberbadge offensive or not? rss

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Darren M
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It seems my uberbadge is causing some consternation on BGG and I've been asked to change it.



I used this uberbadge because I believe in co-existing and free speech and not because I want to create specific controversy by using that bumper sticker. I thought the symbols were quite universal and came from a wide range of religions and cultures. Some might take offense to some of the various symbols in the microbadge and specifically the swastika seems to be causing some stress. I do have to point out that the symbol is ancient and used in many religions existing long before Nazi Germany and well as being still used today in several religions nothing to do with Nazis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika
http://www.luckymojo.com/swastika.html
http://reclaimtheswastika.com/

I thought I'd run a poll to see what the community thought of the uberbadge. Personally I see the badge taken as a whole and viewed as a symbol of unity and acceptance.

Poll
My uberbadge is...
offensive and you feel it should be changed.
not offensive and you feel I should be able to keep using it if I want.
offensive but you feel it's my choice to use it.
not offensive but change it anyway so as not to offend others.
something you don't give a crap about one way or another.
      411 answers
Poll created by nexttothemoon


Edit:

Offending Uberbadge censored and removed.
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Lajos
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generalpf wrote:
Whether or not the Swastika has a meaning that predates Nazism, that's a fairly obscure fact and it would be foolish of you to rely on everyone else knowing that.

Here in Japan, I see many swastikas daily. It's the most common symbol for Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Furthermore, I don't think it's a good idea to give in to ignorance. The ignorant should be educated rather than empowered.
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Daniel Karp
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The person who apparently designed that particular badge (coexist with the swastika) seems to have intended it to be the Nazi swastika, and intended it as a criticism of the more common coexist bumper sticker with the jewish star.
http://www.tommcmahon.net/2007/11/the-ten-most-ob.html
http://www.620wtmj.com/shows/charliesykes/11737176.html

Having the swastika placed next to the hammer and sickle clearly gives it political (Nazi) connotations, even to those people who wouldn't automatically associate the swastika with Nazis.
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Ahhh...coexist! I've been trying to read your microbadge for weeks.

No problems here buddy.

One of my favorite pictures from my trip to India. Notice the shop name and symbol in the background...



edit: PS - But I am offended by your displayed microbadge. Oilers?! yuk
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Robert Sweeney
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Unfortunately, while the swastika does predate Nazi's - so does other things that are deemed in bad taste - like child sacrifice and slavery. So, unless you have a authentic religious reason (and maybe even then) - I would not display it anywhere. I am not a Jew, but I have been to Dachau - and the pictures do no justice to the horrors even when seen backwards through time and "somewhat muted" (for display, personal and health reasons).
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JessA
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People are going to be offended by a swastika in spite of how it was used before the Nazis. Meanings can change. Benedict used to be a perfectly lovely name. I used to call my friends 'queer' all the time, meaning that they were acting silly.

The more important question is how much you care if people are offended.
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Gregory Stephen McCallum
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Swastikas are still used by Hindus and Buddhists. Are they offensive to those billion people?

Nazi's also used the Christian cross (iron cross) as a symbol, I don't see people offended by the use of the cross on BGG. I believe there are even some microbadges that use the iron cross (Axis & Allies).

If your badge was a Nazi flag...then I could understand people having problems with it. Your badge is fine. If people choose only to look at it from one perspective, that is not an issue with the badge.

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Gregory Amstutz
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dakarp wrote:
The person who apparently designed that particular badge (coexist with the swastika) seems to have intended it to be the Nazi swastika, and intended it as a criticism of the more common coexist bumper sticker with the jewish star.
http://www.tommcmahon.net/2007/11/the-ten-most-ob.html
http://www.620wtmj.com/shows/charliesykes/11737176.html

Having the swastika placed next to the hammer and sickle clearly gives it political (Nazi) connotations, even to those people who wouldn't automatically associate the swastika with Nazis.



Forgive if I look like I'm sucking up to an admin, but I agree with the above. I've seen the alternate version many times as a bumper sticker on cars at work. Wouldn't it be pretty simple to just obtain the alternate image, and switch to it? Not that either version is offensive, but why create a problem when you can avoid it instead?
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suPUR DUEper
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Your badge is quite creative.

I guess my question is, do you think that your badge will further your cause? If so, then continue to use it.

IMHO, I am not sure that using a swastika really helps your effort. Much of the message you are trying to convey will be lost in the noise generated by the use of that symbol.

Also, thinking/hoping that people will see it as an ancient religious symbol is asking a bit much....

But, at the end of the day, the choice is really yours!
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Neil
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nexttothemoon wrote:
I used this uberbadge because I believe in co-existing and free speech


If your inclusion of the swastika includes the Nazi and neo-Nazi use of that symbol, then your position is contradictory, in my view. For if you claim to promote free speech, you contradict your own position if you promote or accept ideologies that are opposed to free speech.

While respect for other people requires an acceptance of how they may be 'different', not every instance of accepting how others may be 'different' counts as respect for other people.
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MSV Burns
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Lol. Seen this discussion a time or three on the internet.

Why you would want to associate yourself with a swastika is beyond me, but be my guest.
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-=[Ran Over]=-
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I think it's very clever as a symbolic device. Except that I'm not clear on what the message is. People have the right to life, self-determination, and association (or should, anyway), and should be free to live according to their ideas, even if those ideas are total garbage. The best way to do this is to have like-minded individuals live together (nations), but still respect other people's right of self-determination. This seems to me to be the best way to achieve national and international peaceful coexistence.

The first and most obvious way to make trouble is to assert that other nations do not have the right of self-determination. This leads to attempts to forcibly change people, or war. I like to think your banner is trying to send a message against this attitude.

The second and more subtle way to make trouble is to assert that all ideas have equal value and that all ideas are compatible. This is obviously untrue and absurd, and the logical end of it is to assert that all ideas are equally worthless and expendable. Ordering a society around this assertion is not tenable and leads to national suicide. I hope your banner is not trying to send a message for this attitude.

I don't find the swastika offensive. I don't even really find the second of my listed messages "offensive" per se, but I adamantly disagree with it.
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Lajos
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dakarp wrote:
The person who apparently designed that particular badge (coexist with the swastika) seems to have intended it to be the Nazi swastika, and intended it as a criticism of the more common coexist bumper sticker with the jewish star.
http://www.tommcmahon.net/2007/11/the-ten-most-ob.html
http://www.620wtmj.com/shows/charliesykes/11737176.html

Having the swastika placed next to the hammer and sickle clearly gives it political (Nazi) connotations, even to those people who wouldn't automatically associate the swastika with Nazis.

Ah, that also explains the hammer and sickle. Interesting. I'm still not offended though.
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Colin Hunter
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Pathirtle wrote:
Quote:
The person who apparently designed that particular badge (coexist with the swastika) seems to have intended it to be the Nazi swastika, and intended it as a criticism of the more common coexist bumper sticker with the jewish star.
http://www.tommcmahon.net/2007/11/the-ten-most-ob.html
http://www.620wtmj.com/shows/charliesykes/11737176.html


Interesting articles. I was unaware of this controversy. Personally I find the original "Coexist" sign more appealing than the subsequent parody, but I can't say that I find your badge objectionable.

Well put patrick, I agree, basically, I disagree with the parody, but I don't think it is especially offensive (even if it is rather small minded). However knowing the context behind has forever changed my opinion the the image.
 
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Flying Arrow
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I had seen the bumper sticker but didn't notice that your badge was a change from the original. I interpreted it as a request: "Hey Nazis - don't kill people. Communists, don't kill people, either." I didn't take it as an endorsement of nazis communists.
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Matt Robertson
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I do not see a problem at all. Clearly the context of the symbol is the diversity of beliefs and that everyone should be able to co-exist. I believe the message is one of peace and adopting tolerance.

Context people, context.

To quote a famous movie, I would tell people to:

"Lighten up Francis"
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Lake Giles
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LimboLance wrote:
Unfortunately, while the swastika does predate Nazi's - so does other things that are deemed in bad taste - like child sacrifice and slavery. So, unless you have a authentic religious reason (and maybe even then) - I would not display it anywhere. I am not a Jew, but I have been to Dachau - and the pictures do no justice to the horrors even when seen backwards through time and "somewhat muted" (for display, personal and health reasons).


The KKK uses the biblical cross as their symbol. That doesn't mean the cross is 'in bad taste'. Apply your rules to all religions. Picking and choosing where to use it is somewhat hypocritical

Plus, it seems rather lousy that a western country would adopt a symbol from another religion, then completely warp everyone's perception in the west of what it means. Everywhere in the East people know it has nothing to do with Nazi's in this day and age (unless specifically tied to germans)

Just because it's hindu/buddhist, most people in the US/West are quite ignorant about it unfortunately. You see it everywhere in Asia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Maybe terrorists in the middle east should adopt the cross so that all of the Eastern world thinks of the cross as an evil symbol. Then you'd get to see how it feels
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Daniel Karp
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Bixby wrote:
Context people, context.

Well, you can see the original context intended by the creator of this badge here:
http://www.tommcmahon.net/2007/11/the-ten-most-ob.html

The creator makes fun of the more common coexist bumper sticker (which has a Star of David instead of the swastika) and includes the caption:
"Coexist With The Commies And The Nazis, You Smug Little Twerp!"

So when you talk about what is "clearly" the context of the symbol, you should be aware that what seems clear to you is almost the opposite of what seemed clear to the symbol's creator.
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Melissa
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It's easy for many of us to say "but it's only a symbol"

BGG has a number of users in countries where the use of that symbol is illegal and unconstitutional.

Germany: § 86a des Strafgesetzbuches – StGB „Verwenden von Kennzeichen verfassungswidriger Organisationen“ (the swastika is covered under Section 4)
There is a similar law in Austria.

If the goal is in fact coexistence, perhaps alienating and upsetting those people is not really the best way to achieve it.
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If anyone's offended by an image or user, remember you have the power to block both.
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Darren M
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dakarp wrote:
Bixby wrote:
Context people, context.

Well, you can see the original context intended by the creator of this badge here:
http://www.tommcmahon.net/2007/11/the-ten-most-ob.html

The creator makes fun of the more common coexist bumper sticker (which has a Star of David instead of the swastika) and includes the caption:
"Coexist With The Commies And The Nazis, You Smug Little Twerp!"

So when you talk about what is "clearly" the context of the symbol, you should be aware that what seems clear to you is almost the opposite of what seemed clear to the symbol's creator.


It isn't the context of that particular person that matters here... it is my context that is in question and I've already stated very clearly my reasoning behind the uberbadge which I will again repeat...

Personally I see the badge taken as a whole and viewed as a symbol of unity and acceptance of various cultures and religions.

Any symbol can be viewed in a myriad of ways by a myriad of people... but these symbols are associated with a range of cultures and religions and I stand by the uberbadge as is.
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Darren M
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If people were to read some of the links and the historical significance behind the symbols they would see the reasoning I am coming from. I do believe education is the best way to explain my reasoning behind the uberbadge... it is not a uberbadge based on hatred and acceptance of Nazi philosophies having had my own ancestors who came from Poland killed in WWI and WWII and my grandfather himself fighting against the Nazis.

Further quotes from those who can articulate my views even better than I can...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.luckymojo.com/swastika.html

"Some people believe that the display of any sort of swastika should be forbidden because it is offensive to Jews. From first-hand experience, i can assure you that dozens of elderly German Jews i personally know who lived through or escaped the holocaust, were and are well aware that the swastika pre-dated the Nazis and do not consider it a Nazi symbol. One thing most of them have learned -- and have taught to me -- is that RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE is a key to preventing future holocausts. Therefore they honour and respect the religious iconography of others. including the Jains and the Hindus, who revere the swastika as a symbol of a symbol of long life, good health, and good luck, and the special symbol of the Hindu elephant headed god Ganesh. My own mother, a Jew raised in Germany in the early 20th century, tells me that her family's sun-porch had an inlaid tile design of swastikas on the floor -- and her mother once told her it was "wrong" of Hitler to use the symbol as a political emblem. The swastikas were still there on the floor when she and her family fled Germany to escape."

http://reclaimtheswastika.com/

"The swastika is an ancient symbol present in numerous and diverse cultures around the world, including the cultures of India, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

In India, the swastika has thousands of years of history and still retains its place of pre-eminence among the sub-continent's spiritual symbols. It remains one of the most prominent spiritual symbols in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, and is found adorning temples and religious shrines throughout Asia.

After its misuse by the Nazis, it became associated with murder and oppression on a scale never before witnessed on this earth. For this reason, in Europe, for many millions, the swastika came to symbolise evil. There arose, as a result of this, a move to ban the swastika.

This website is dedicated to "reclaiming the swastika" - to sharing information that reveals its long and varied history and the spiritually deep meaning that underlies it. For, if we allow the swastika to remain forever distorted, then those responsible will have won."
------------------------------------------------------------------------
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MSV Burns
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nexttothemoon wrote:
If people were to read some of the links and the historical significance behind the symbols they would see the reasoning I am coming from...


Nobody cares about the links or the reasoning because we've heard the whole thing a thousand times before. This is not a new discussion on the internet.

If you want to wear a swastika on BGG, then go right ahead. People do all kinds of crazy vanity shit in cyberspace.

But don't expect people to react warmly to it.
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Darren M
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I've had to comply with the censorship of my uberbadge on BGG.

Freedom of expression and the (admittedly) utopian ideals of tolerance, unity and co-existence obviously are not attributes BGG aspires towards for this community.

So be it.

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Colin Hunter
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Darren, I'm sorry you couldn't keep your uberbadge, I think the moderators showed an incredible lack of understanding here, and not just of your point of view, even of the point the creater was making (which I genuinely disagree with). However I suspect that they have to give in to the knee jerk uninformed opinion here, the morale outrage about the symbol trumps any sort of genuine good natured comment. I don't agree, with the action they took, but acting with arbitrary decisions out of ignorance tends to be the hall mark of many BGG admins and to be fair our admins are better than 99% of the ones out there. It is just the nature of the internet community. So while it may sound like I am hating the admin (which I am to a degree) I understand that they have to give in on this, as it allows them to clamp down better on people who do use the swastika in a rather more unpleasant ways. My only complaint would be their rather weak attempt to shift blame away from the real issue.

It is funny when I first read daniel's post about the context I thought that perhaps it was a rather bad uberbadge, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was just my rather leftwing political slant that made me feel that way. Their is legitimite frustration with the insistance upon the left to try and claim the morale high ground (don't get me wrong I'm right there doing it too). Anyway context is everything Darren, this is a boardgame site not a site about art, social change, or anything else that might want to give legitimate voice to different schools of thinking.
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