There are many memorials dedicated to the people that endured the genocide of the Holocaust. An example of one that is pretty familiar to most people is pictured above, which hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This memorial includes pictures of people who were affected by the Holocaust and the repercussions that came with it. Stories like these of people who fought back or endured these horrific events are important but could be potentially dangerous to our society. They are dangerous to our society in a way that it takes away the awful events that were carried out during this time period and places emphasis on the people who fought for others during this time. As told from historical events anyone can commit a genocide so when we memorialize the people who tried to take an approach in fighting against this we are forgetting about the main reason why this happened in this first place. This is concerning to think about because we could become so wrapped up in memorializing the dead and families affected that we might not see signs of another genocide approaching within our own society.
We also run the risk of believing that we could never act out such behavior when we look at these heroes, but in reality, we are not kind to one another every single day. Genocides start from hatred or ill feelings towards specific groups of people. These stereotypes and feelings build on and on into something that eventually could escalate and reach multitudes of people. Although we believe that we would never do something like this we have to look at our society as a whole and how we generally treat one another. If we wish to move past these events and prevent another genocide we must start looking out for one another and respecting each other’s views regardless of whether they fall into line with ours or not.
When we examine genocides, it is typically shown that a group not as strong as others is targeted for the hatred and events that led up to this horrific decision. An example of this is the Jews in the Holocaust. They were targeted because they were different from the Nazi-German blonde hair, blue eyes stereotype that most people aimed for. They were not considered part of the superior race. You can see at these stereotypes today in people of different ethnicities because they still face backlash for their culture and historical background as certain groups of people as well. The people who are generally different from the larger population are mostly targeted for this reason. Memorializing the fallen and affected of genocides is important but we must also take a step back in making sure that our memorials fall in line with our values as well. If we wish to prevent future genocides and hate crimes then we must start to care about each other and analyze these situations on a much greater and deeper level. Instead of saying “Not Me!” let’s start helping and speaking about the people who are normally oppressed every single day in our society to ensure that something like this will never happen again.
Brooke Ripley, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland is currently a senior Sports Management major at Old Dominion University. Along with her academic interests, Brooke is a member of the varsity rowing team and has received honors such as All Big 12 Academic Team and Commissioner’s Honor Roll for Conference USA. Brooke is passionate about sports and intends to acquire a masters in Sports Management after graduation from her undergraduate career. She hopes to someday pursue a career as a collegiate rowing coach in the sports industry.