A photo snapped in early spring of this year suddenly became an issue in mid-November
of this year (2018). This photo was posted on the @GoBaraboo parody column with the
caption, “We even got the black kid to throw it up.” The photo was of male students of
Baraboo High School (WI), in their prom suits and extending their hands out in a Nazi “Heil
Hitler” salute. Without question, this behavior cannot be condoned on any level. There can
be no debate on this.
I would like to make two comments, though. First, I think that young people are not
being taught about the holocaust in schools recently. The Second World War in Europe
ended with Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, over 73 years ago. I
concede that it was a long time ago that it happened but the vile and degenerate Nazi
movement is neither vanquished or diminished. It is perpetuated in the minds and hearts of
many feeble minds.
Young people must be reminded that Hitler oversaw the systematic extermination of
over six million Jews, minorities, and homosexuals in secret concentration camps in Poland
under the guise of the war. To Adolf Hitler, Jews and other minorities were an inferior race,
a threat to German white racial purity. How did Hitler accomplish this ethnic cleansing?
First, he laid the groundwork for it by ousting all elements of opposition, to create a
monopoly of influence and power, where his National Socialist Party would hold absolute
predominance over all other competing parties. He then oversaw the conception and
expansion of a deliberate and effacing propaganda machine to disperse false information,
scare, and ultimately control the German populace. I would like to remind you that the
danger of these two chilling and abhorrent processes can occur in any era or any place if we
are not vigilant of such rampant divisiveness and hate. It can very easily happen today or in
this country.
The second comment that I would like to make is one of integrity. The Nazi movement
was essentially begun and crystallized by the presence and effort of one man, Adolf Hitler.
If the influence of one man was all that was necessary to create and promote fear, discord,
and havoc of such magnitude, I feel that it is equally possible for one person to stand in the
way of a crazed man’s sinister intentions.
When the problematic Baraboo High photo was taken, one student, Jordan Blue, refused
to raise his hand, when the photographer urged everyone, “Raise your hand”. Jordan was
instantly lauded by the press as an independent thinker who did the right thing. When
Jordan was interviewed, he commented, “It did not represent my morals, and I could not do
something that I didn’t believe in.” Jordan conspicuously stood out as a portrayal of
prudence and virtue upon a canvas of bad judgement and evil. Jordan was certainly on the
right track, but his manner of quiet resistance had left me a bit wanting. His decision not to
raise his hand is admirable. But had he said something to bring his classmates to realize the
colossal wrong that they were about to commit, there would be no doubt in my mind to tout
him as a champion of justice. As it was, Jordan was only basking in a glory that falls short
of being a true leader.

As Buddhists, it is very important to study what happened in the past,so that we do not
repeat its mistakes. Furthermore, when a mistake is about to recur, we have a duty to speak
up and right what is wrong.
(Eisei Ikenaga)