Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 24, 2023

Do better Alameda

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

By now, if you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen the photo of the chess table at Chechenyo Park covered in racist graffiti. And, honestly, given that all the swastikas are all backward it’s probably some dumb kid who has consumed too much YouTube and went down a right wing hole like a few of the commenters on this very blog. The difference is that the graffiti dumbass is young enough that hopefully, with some help, can realize that being a Nazi probably isn’t all that great. The adults on this blog regurgitating right wing conspiracy theories will probably muttering about sex trafficking out of pizza parlors while cashing their social security checks.

So, Alameda, maybe talk to your kids about not drawing swastikas and etching “white power” on public property, And, you know, perhaps sit them down and have a chat with them about the horrors of the Holocaust and how Nazis shouldn’t be folks to emulate. In other news I saw a amazing trailer for a movie which purportedly was from the studio that produced the John Wick series (which I love) which was all about killing Nazis.


  1. In 4th grade at Longfellow, each student in my class had to pick a national or political flag, and present it to the class. We had some dictionary or some old source book. Without reading the nearby description, i thought the Nazi “swastika” looked cool or stood out. “Can i do this one?” I asked. With no explanation, teacher told me no. I then chose Tanzania.

    As an undergrad, i read a lot about pre-war African Americans in the East Bay. Decades after that first encounter with the symbol i by then understood as a symbol of white supremacy, i was shocked to learn that Black women in 1920s Berkeley had formed a “Swastika Club.” This was a post-suffrage civic group—since the others had been segregated. I later learned that the original symbol—the one the Nazis reversed—had other connotations for Hindus and others, including Africans in America, before the rise of the Nazi Party.

    Two things: I am grateful my family was able to direct me to towards anti-racist research when my school was not. I went home and told my mom what happened and how i could not chose the flag i liked. She made me use either this 20lbs dictionary we had at home and/or encyclopedia set to research the Nazis. She later talked to me about racism, Jewish Holocaust, and white supremacy. My elementary teachers were not equipped to talk to me about this topic in early 90s—although i recall Ms. Manning (a Black principal) or someone other than my teacher explaining the symbol to me after my research.

    Second, individuals and groups pervert co-opt and appropriate symbols. The tattered chessboard and reversed swastikas, at a park honoring the language of an Indigenous group colonizers did not exterminate, is not effective expression or representation of “white power.” Not that we need more effective or accurate Nazi vandalism, but i wonder how incorporating Ethnic Studies both as graduation requirement and into lessons for younger children will impact this recurring issue of white supremacist graffiti around Alameda, especially in the schools.

    Comment by Rasheed Shabazz — February 24, 2023 @ 7:00 am

    • You make an important point. What is taught or not taught in class or by religious institutions is important.

      Have you heard of the Black Israelites? SFGate has an article about a Mt.Eden HS teacher suspended for using anti-Semitic materials in his English class. The teacher is African American and also (according to the article) preaches at a church in Alameda. He uses the same anti-semetic material that garnered a suspension for NBA basketball star Kyrie Irving.

      Comment by Do your research — February 25, 2023 @ 7:16 am

  2. Walking around town I have noticed a few older homes with swastikas in their trim work. Most common is in cast iron grates that cover crawl space vents, but it shows up in other ways too. Fortunately they’ve all been in pre-1930 homes. Each time I’ve seen it has been in part of the house that would be difficult to remove, which makes me wonder if other homes had them removed from more accessible areas.

    Comment by dave — February 24, 2023 @ 7:48 am

  3. I fully agree with Mr. Shabazz with the idea that incorporating Ethnic Studies at the k-12 level can create substantial shifts in communities. There’s been lots of studies to show the impact, including a recent one from Stanford where data indicated improved attendance, grade point average and graduation rates for those who took Ethnic Studies in 9th grade. As a teacher in Alameda, I also see how young people are more interested and curious about how they can create change than ever before and are willing to use their voices to speak up against injustice.

    Comment by Heidi Guibord — February 25, 2023 @ 8:48 pm

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