Swastika Earrings Are the Worst Fashion Statement No Matter What


buddhist swastikaAs something of a jewelry hoarder, I'm always ducking into random accessory shops wherever I go. Especially in NYC, where there are so many cultures represented, from Arab to Asian and everything in between, it's cool to see all different types of cultural symbols in the form of dangly earrings or long pendants. But a certain pair of earrings that were recently for sale in a Brooklyn shop called Bejeweled were definitely not cool. They looked like straight-up Nazi swastikas.

When a city councilman noticed the earrings earlier this week, he raised his concerns about them with the owner of the store, Young Sook Kim. She replied that they had nothing to do with Nazis ... They're a sign of prosperity in Tibetan Buddhism. True, but also, too bad ... Swastika jewelry, no matter its intended meaning, will never be acceptable in the U.S.

Truthfully, part of me does feel bad that this woman and those who would want to wear the Tibetan Buddhist sign of prosperity can't, because it looks so similar to the Nazi symbol, but at the same time, that's just too darn bad. When a symbol is more universally recognized as something so horrific, we can't help but see it that way.

To be fair and thorough, I did a little bit of quick research and found that the Buddhist swastika is almost always clockwise, whereas the one adopted by the Nazis is counterclockwise. So, technically, we should be able to tell the difference, but that difference, unfortunately, is far too subtle.    

In the end, it's not a matter of ignorance or insensitivity to another culture -- it's about perception. These earrings only look like one thing to most people in the Western world: A sign of extreme hate and genocide. Sure, Eastern cultures that instead see it as a symbol of auspiciousness and good fortune certainly have a right to be ticked off that the Nazis co-opted it, but that's reality. Allowing the symbol, which would be perceived as hateful by most Americans, remain in that store would have just been wrong.

Do you agree the earrings should be been banned?


Image via Larry Johnson/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Lisa

The swastika (or a symbol VERY similar) was used before Hitler by Native Americans, Hindus, Bhuddists, and Jainism for religious or cultural reasons. I dont think its fair to ban what one person might feel is a religious symbol because another person thinks its offensive (based on a completely different scenario). Honestly I believe that if a shop wants to sell these things there should be an explination (maybe a sign or something) to point out that it can have nothing to do with the Nazi Party.

Kritika Kritika

I bought a rug a few years ago from Ross and when we layed it out I realized it had several "pinwheels" in the design. I guess that's why it ended up at Ross, lol.

Doomy234 Doomy234

I absolutely do not agree that they should be banned. It is NOT a symbol of hatred and cruelty, but was adopted by those who turned it into one by reversing it and tilting it to a 45° angle. It was originally used as a symbol of good fortune and such.

Who are you to tell someone what they can and cant wear because it makes you uncomfortable. I could wear a shirt with a big graphic picture of Jesus being crucified on the front, and while it will probably piss a lot of people off, its really none of their goddamned business if you ask me.

babyb... babybirch

I am also Jewish but I understand that other cultures used the swastika before the Nazis... it is unfortunate that its meaning was twisted.

If I saw someone from Tibet or Nepal wearing them, I wouldn't think twice because I understand it doesn't connotate the same meaning in Buddhist countries.

white... whitebreads

it was tibetans symbol first. deal with it. I personally don't like seeing swastikas but trying to prevent their existence is just silly. even if those earings were swastikas so what? what are we germany trying to outlaw a symbol they should damn well make sure they never forget?

Doomy234 Doomy234

I do apologize for getting so obscene, but I feel very strongly about this subject. I despise when someone tries to tell someone else they cannot wear something just because they do not like it.

zandh... zandhmom2

I don't think they should be banned.  I understand that most people associate it with Nazis but not all people do.  If that symbol means something different to someone else, they should be allowed to express that.  I believe that should fall under the first amendment ~ freedom of expression.

writi... writingafwife

 I was taught it was a symbol of protection and prosperity before I was taught it was a symbol of the NAZIs. I learned the first from my dad and the last I learned in my history classes. When I see it I think of it as a sign of protection before I think of NAZIs...

nonmember avatar LittleNaziMe

I happen to live a Nazi lifestyle, and although I don't consider myself racist, I do consider myself proud. Anyone who says whites don't have a right to be proud are denying us the right to celebrating our culture.

Zieh hein!

TheOt... TheOtherLove

Wow.  I hope to good this "author" is an un educated house wife....you did "some" research?  This is a symbol you learn about in 4th grade...and any basic level college courses will tell you where the imagery comes from.  It is also a native american symbol.  What an ignoramous.  Way to show you have no idea of buddhist or native american culture.  I find you post very offensive as a practicing buddhist in america.  Please stop your self before offending multiple cultures, it just makes you look like an idiot who has not taken basic history/sociology classes at a HS level.

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