At this point, anybody with two eyes and an association with The Newport Mesa District has undoubtedly heard about the infamous “Newport Mesa Swastika Party". On the night of Saturday, March 2nd, a party was held that featured a game of beer pong with solo cups in the shape of a swastika, and plenty of pictures. Attending were students from many of the Newport Mesa high schools- Estancia, our own Costa Mesa, Corona Del Mar, and most notably, Newport Harbor.
Pictures of the party were posted to Snapchat, and it wasn’t long before screenshots appeared on Instagram and Twitter, for the whole world to see. As a Mesa student, it wasn’t long at all, maybe the next day, before I saw the people I follow posting pictures and commentating on the event.
It caused an immediate backlash from students, parents, the general Newport Mesa community, and even news media. Actions were taken by the school district to educate students about the Holocaust and what exactly they were posing in front of, what it represented. Newport Harbor held a rally with student speakers, a Rabbi, and even a survivor of the Holocaust. Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s stepsister herself spoke to the students about her experience during the Holocaust.
Needless to say, these kids were thoroughly educated. Whether they feel remorse is another case.
A few attendees of the party responded to the backlash with tweets, some vaguely apologetic, some trying to guilt their way to forgiveness, and some even trying to justify their appalling behavior.
A student from our own Costa Mesa High School attempted to make light of his actions by tweeting, “To us it’s like the “n” word where it doesn’t mean slavery it’s a way to address people and now the Holocaust is the new n-word and it’s sad but it’s the truth.”
Sorry to break it to him, but no, it’s really not.
Another partygoer tweeted that she was “deleting social media because [she] can’t take the criticism for posting one photo”, seemingly victimizing herself to gain sympathy.
While it is scary that we live in an age of instant accountability, it’s also a good thing. Justice can be swiftly administered and people are aware of the possible consequences of their actions, as those things travel fast.
The fact of the matter is, no matter if it is meant as a joke, the Holocaust isn’t something to joke about, the Nazi salute isn’t something to throw around.
Costa Mesa High School Spanish teacher Señor Arias had an interesting take on the matter. “I am disappointed that in this day and age we’re still dealing with stuff that’s been going on since the beginning of time.” he explained. “ We’re stuck in our past. I never expected a community that is so open to others to allow something like this to happen with their own children”. He believes that one of the main issues here is parents being lenient and being passive when it comes to discipline and talking about issues. Issues like this will arise again, he warns, if things don’t change.