Quote from: trooper715 on Today at 07:52:40 PM
Not sure which department is in charge of this, but...
While I am typically very big on freedom of speech, since we're a private even and we already regulate profanity on shirts in the name of good taste, I think we should consider banning Nazi symbols. I realize what qualifies as "offensive" can be hard to pin down and there are plenty of arguments that a Soviet hammer/sickle or Imperial Japanese symbol are just as offensive to some. However, the Nazi swatstika/eagle represents a very specifically anti-semitic message that I feel is arguably distinct from a national symbol and more in line with say, a KKK outfit. I could go into more detailed discussion on the rationale if need be, but I'll keep it simple for now.
If people feel they need to express their desire to wear Nazi regalia, they can do so on public property, next to the religious speakers.
Just something to came to mind when my friend's initial reaction on his first visit to Fanime was "What's with all the Nazis?"
Ah... this topic caused quite a stir on the cosplay.com forums, and I will tell you in advance, you're stepping on some very thin ice with this topic. While censoring curse words and the such... censoring the swastika can be considered discrimination(yes I realize the irony) and it can become a legal issue if presented incorrectly.
First I want to state, this is *MY* opinion and not the opinion of staff. I want this in no way affiliated with staff, or in any way reflected by staff itself.
Although many people find the swastika offensive, the symbol itself is not offensive. The connotations within the symbol are self created, as the symbol originates far before nazis did. Although they changed the meaning and negative/offensive connotations were created through their actions, the symbol itself is not offensive, but personal opinions can find the symbol offensive.
Banning the swastika, is very much like banning... crucifixes, the Star of David, or numerous other "religious symbols". The JP Flag is EXTREMELY offensive to many Mainland Chinese. The Communist Viet Nam flag is extremely offensive to old southern Viet Namese(A man was actually beat to death in socal for wearing a shirt with the flag on it). While on the flipside the objects are a symbol of pride to many.
Continuing this from the "ideas and suggestions" forum.
Yeah, I think that's the big issue is finding where to draw the line. Poor taste alone is not enough to ban something. Otherwise I would not be allowed to go running in some of the shorts I've worn (they're comfortable!).
I feel that the history of the swastika as a religious symbol is moot, since in context when coupled with SS uniforms or on the red and white armband, a reasonable person can discern that the intent is not religious in nature.
However, there is the argument that by itself, is the swatstika offensive more so than say...the hammer and sickle, imperial japanese flag, communist north vietnamese flag, etc.? As shown by the example of the man being beaten over the communist vietnam flag, many objects can create as much controversy as a swastika, and simply creating controversy is not justification anyways, as "Brandenburg v. Ohio" showed. If a person is merely wearing a swatstika, or more specifically Nazi attire, they are not inciting any sort of illegal activity by simply wearing it. Many might seek to wear nazi uniform attire in the interest of historical reenactment or cosplay (very, very poor taste cosplay in my opinion, but my lone opinion can't write policy thank god)
And it is reasonable to believe that even if they yelled "death to all Jews" on the sidewalk, it is not a credible threat of immediate action anyways, so they'd just be a crackpot in a nazi uniform and perfectly within their legal rights, according to the US supreme court.
So Nazi attire by itself is not innately racist in nature, and those who wear it are not automatically promoting anti-semitic viewpoints. Heck, this was specifically established regarding the swastika in "Nationalist Socialist Party of America V. Village of Skokie"...
I think legally, as a private event we are allowed to limit to a degree what we allow in the actual Fanime event areas, but I'm not terribly qualified on this matter. So since it is a legal issue, and can qualify as discrimination as you pointed out, it would certainly need a more thorough legal review if it's something that is considered. Here's my preliminary thoughts though, keeping in mind I hate law and have only had the most basic of experience with it:
Normally free speech restrictions must be "time, place, and manner" derived...basically not decided on content. However, the situation is different for private events, even when they're held on public ground. This was established in "Wikersham V. City of Columbia". I can't find a good brief of this case, but the following law review covers it pretty well:http://classweb.gmu.edu/jkozlows/lawarts/04APR06.pdf
According to the federal district court, “[a] private party has the right to prevent free speech on its property, for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason.”
So legally, as a private entity and a private event, Fanime should have legal grounds to prevent certain types of expression for interfering with its intent of creating a family friendly atmosphere. This should be the similar to the legal rationale for them banning shirts with obscenities.
Okay, so now I've proposed "Nazi attire is not inherently fighting words", and "Private entities, including Fanime, can restrict the first amendment at private events"
So now we return to Pyron's point that banning the swastika is akin to banning other religious symbols or other nationalist symbols that provoke anger (communist symbols, etc.)
So is there a difference between the swastika and other religious or nationalist symbols?
For religious symbols, I again point out that there is a difference between the swastika as a religious symbol and as a political symbol, and it should be reasonably easy to discern the difference. I feel this argument is no ground against its banning as there is a clear distinction in the use of the swastika as Nazi symbolism.
I don't want to use any grounds that the acts of the Nazis were somehow worse than other atrocities committed by other nations and somehow more deserving of a ban.
Instead, I argue that Nazi symbology is less nationalistic and nature and more representative of the organization itself. Again, this seperates it from say, communist flags. Nazi symbology is specific to a political party with specific anti-semitic viewpoints. In contrast, the flag of Japan has existed long before its connotations with imperialism and militant nationalism, and is less politically tied to a specific viewpoint. It is that rationale that would say German regular military uniforms are allowable, whereas the political SS uniforms are not.
The Vietnamese flag is a closer example since it is tied specifically to the existence of a specific political party. To that I would argue that the Nazi symbolism is unique from abuses by communist or authoritarian rulers in that it is racial in nature, again more akin the the KKK than to communism. Another example is the Palestinian or Israeli flag, while they may both be accused of being racist, the violence they inflict is arguably more political and territorial in nature.
Well, I could expand more on this, but it's getting late and I think you get the general idea. Nazism is uniquely racist in nature when compared to other movements that people might find offensive and symbolism like the swastika or the SS uniform has limited historical purpose aside from specifically evoking the Nazi party.
My personal feelings I have no issue with the Nazi cosplayers. If you want to be offensive, then that's your right. It's probably more from a lack of consideration on their part than any intent to be offensive anyways. I'm just as annoyed by people constantly dragging national flags on the ground. However, I am proposing this since the request was brought up to me by several other Fanime attendees and I can definitely understand where they're coming from. So...discuss!
Also, I have learned by the end of writing this, I swastika is a word that I have hardwired in my brain to misspell. Thank god for spell check.