A jewelry store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (where I live!) is getting the gasface because of a pair of earrings it’s selling. The earrings (pictured), sold at Bejeweled, are being called Nazi earrings, but guess what people? They’re not. Already the story’s appeared on Refinery 29 and in The New York Daily News, with Jewish leaders like State Assemblyman Dov Hikind calling the sale of the earrings “sick, insulting” and “degrading.”
But here’s the thing: The swastika — as the Nazi party employed it — is situated in a clockwise direction. The earrings are in a counterclockwise direction. And swastikas have a long and varied history that has nothing to do with Nazi Germany. They are actually associated with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, and are the symbol of shakti, which is associated with auspiciousness. And in Chinese, the swastika represents eternity. In some Native American tribes, the swastika symbolizes healing and creation.
Now, does that mean I’m suggesting you go out and buy a pair of these earrings? Well, not unless you’re willing to have the above conversation with virtually every person you meet, as the symbol’s appropriation as a signifier of Nazi power has now unfortunately taken hold. Wear with caution, but know that the swastika might not be what it seems.