LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What kind of community is GH?

Jul 25, 2011

 

I don’t know why someone would display this particular piece of history. I feel it is a bad judgment to do so and wonder what type of clientele the owner is trying to attract.

However, what I feel is more telling and important is: Why are the people of Grand Haven tolerating this display of racial hatred on the main street of their town, a place that defines who they are as a community?

A person has his or her own perspective on a swastika from World War II. However, when it gets put in a storefront window, on the main street, in a town that heavily relies on tourism; and that swastika is then seen by tourists from all over the country. It then is a reflection on the community of Grand Haven. 

When I saw this swastika, I suddenly became very uncomfortable and wondered what kind of community I had wandered into. What kind of people live in Grand Haven? Why are they tolerating this display? Why haven’t they reacted to this swastika before? What is the City Council doing about it?  

Grand Haven — for whom are you a haven? Please stand up for what is right. Demand that the swastika be removed from the storefront window. Show your visitors tolerance and respect. 

At a time when Michigan is suffering economically, it is so important to show the very best that Michigan has to offer. A swastika is not that!!!

— Sarah Franzel/Wynnewood, Pa.

Comments

Kylepetty

Great point!!! just look at the public schools and public safety department in Grand Haven... ALL White no diversity anywhere in sight.. Grand Haven pretends to care about people of other races but the reality is they keep their head in the sand and do not want anybody but white people living here .

enraged

Sarah, are you aware of the history of the swastika? Did you know that American soldiers had shoulder patches emblazoned with the swastika in WWI? In many religions, the swastika is a sacred symbol. It disgusts me when ignorant people come into my hometown and bash it. Grand Haven is a beautiful place with beautiful people. If you are stuck on one part of history rather than the true meaning, I will be happy to never have you set foot in Grand Haven again. We don't need or bleed ignorance.

Kylepetty

Enraged your comment " We don't need or bleed ignorance" yes you do bleed ignorance, first i will grant you the history of the swastika does have origin as an ancient sign said to be of solar origin and signifying good luck, however the symbol being displayed is a not a good luck symbol...... It represent the Nazi Party. It is closed minded people such as yourself who refuse to take that first step and realize Grand Haven does have an issue with the way they treat anyone other than a white person. Things are changing and grand haven would like to keep it like it is the 1950s

Jimfromoutoftown

You're mentioning a World War II Vet that runs a barbershop and is showing off some of his war memorabilia to to his clientele. It's not some racist conspiracy. Atrocities happened during World War II. I would rather remember those atrocities to make sure they never happen again instead of sticking our head in the sand. Please try to look at the motive of something before you start trying to label a community as racist.

observer

enraged--that is only a part of the history of the swastika symbol, but, as you are well aware, there is a very negative historical association with the symbol as well. It would be an "ignorant person" indeed that would display such a symbol in a storefront and without considering how many people they are alienating, offending, and hurting in the process.

GHLiving

To Sarah - while I do understand the unconfortable feeling you got upon seeing the swastika in the store front window (as most people would feel the same way) I encourage you to see beyond on that and hopefully realize that one symbol in a single storefront window does not represent Grand Haven as a whole. Being raised in GH my whole life before moving away 6 years ago, the community has always demonstrated itself as a family-oriented, pleasant, respectful community. I hope you would not form your opinions based off of one incident.

Kylepetty - i'm not sure if you are from Grand Haven, if you have only visited or if you are just making accusations based off your own beliefs but please do not say such things as your opinions appear very uneducated; like you are speaking out of "dislike" for a community you may not be a part of. Yes, I agree that the town itself is not as diverse as its surrounding communities such as Muskegon or Holland - but you cannot judge the school system or police dept or anything/one else for that matter, just because of the fact that they are not as racially diverse. Do you honestly beleive that the people of the community reject anyone that is not white or make them feel uncomfortable being there? I can tell you that after spending 22 years of my life there, I have never heard anyone say that Grand Haven has issues with people that are not white. The accusations you are making are hurtful and I would think twice before voicing them without careful consideration. I apologize if you have been directly affected by racial ignorance, but you cannot catergorize GH as a whole based off of your own beliefs and/or indcidents.

MR. WILLIAMS

GET A GRIP!

To: Sarah Franzel,

Please, GET A GRIP! Before you rant and rave about a “Symbol in a Store Window,” (A Swastika), might I suggest you do some research and background on the topic you wish to write about, in this case, the “Swastika.” Throughout all of recorded History, the Swastika has stood for, PEACE, and Ancient Symbol of Light, Love, and Life that has been used for over 5,000 years and counting. The only time in History that the Swastika was misinterpreted for something other than Peace and its virtues was during WW II, when Hitler used this symbol to represent his Military, however, to Hitler the Swastika represented 1,000 Years of Peace. This is Fact, backed by Evidence, by those who Witnessed the passing of the torch of PEACE, with its virtues of, Love, Light, and Life to carry this most precious message on for as long as Human Beings co-exist.

MR. WILLIAMS

GET A GRIP!

To: Sarah Franzel,

Please, GET A GRIP! Before you rant and rave about a “Symbol in a Store Window,” (A Swastika), might I suggest you do some research and background on the topic you wish to write about, in this case, the “Swastika.” Throughout all of recorded History, the Swastika has stood for, PEACE, and Ancient Symbol of Light, Love, and Life that has been used for over 5,000 years and counting. The only time in History that the Swastika was misinterpreted for something other than Peace and its virtues was during WW II, when Hitler used this symbol to represent his Military, however, to Hitler the Swastika represented 1,000 Years of Peace. This is Fact, backed by Evidence, by those who Witnessed the passing of the torch of PEACE, with its virtues of, Love, Light, and Life to carry this most precious message on for as long as Human Beings co-exist.

Kylepetty

Whites seem to think that so long as they do not join the Ku Klux Klan and do not use certain words they are not racist. They are blind to their own racism because it does not affect them. Grand Haven suffers from Color-blind racism also known as aversive racism, is racism that acts as if skin color does not matter – even when it does. This is why you see no downtown
businesses hiring anyone of color.

CoolGHNative30

1.) Have you asked all 220mil of them ("whites" as so you elequently say)?

2.) Which businesses won't hire African Americans? I'd like to know which ones if I'm going to jump on your band wagon. I assume you have evidence from family/friends or friends of friends to back up these claims.

Afterall, if we listened to "HERESAY" we'd still believe the world is flat, would we not?

Boater

Kylepetty,
In America, people have the freedom to live where ever they want. To see people only by their skin color is pure ignorance. No two people are the same, therefore diverse. I'm Italian, my spouse is German, sorry that isn't diverse enough for you. I'm tired of the labels put on people in the name of political correctness. That in it's self proves to be intolerant.
Sarah, I'm sorry that the swastika in the store front offended you, It is a symbol of a terrible time in the past century. However, as a nation, we must remember the past so we will not allow the failings to reoccur in the future.

GHlocal

Sara--everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I for one believe that you can think whatever you want about the swastika but, really? a letter to the editor about it? Don't you think its a little much? As a Grand Haven local, that "shop" clearly has a sign that states that it has been around since the mid to late 1800s (cant remember the exact date). That building itself, is a piece of Grand Haven history. Everything in the shop is has a story and everything in it is all collectable. You cannot look at the swastika alone. The swastika along with a handful of WW1 and 2 weapons, japanese flag, big turret and a gas mask are all old collectables. I Took an art class in college, learned about censorship, the people who get offended by crude/nude artwork. This reminds me of how you and some people can basically get offended by everything and anything. I can be tolerant of people, like yourself, but you are way too easily offended. Country check Sara, we live in the United States. And to be blunt, you are very ignorant and intolerant. I've been in the barbershop before, really neat things in there--all antique and tons of Grand Haven history. You can't censor everything you know. Next time you pass by it and its open, walk in. I think you will find it very intriguing. Haven't we all learned that "Judging a book by its cover" is the wrong thing to do? Its exactly what you are doing and its shameful. You're taking a historical icon, and looking at it only--judging the shop owner, the people of Grand Haven and the city itself. Therefore, I am entitled to my own opinion when I say that you are a very ignorant human who is extremely narrow minded and you ought to be ashamed. Good Luck to ya.

nellenhanes

Ms. Franzel,I suspect you may be Jewish and are entitled to be offended. I have lived here for three years and the first time I saw it my reaction was,please don't hang this in the window,keep it inside.
I have not figured out GH yet. I may be moving because I find the lack of diversity suffocating and the "niceness" a bit disingenuous. You can be white in GH and still be the "Other".
I apologize to you.

gh4years

Grand Haven is a wonderful town, swastika flag in a shop window come on. I bet your the same kind of person that goes to church weekly and judges others daily, gays , blacks , whites and the local GH man running an honest business for years of his life and giving to the community ! How are you ever able to vacation anywhere lady ? so narrow minded , stay in your own town and make it a better place before coming to one that locals take pride in and make comments like you did. The people in GH not only walk downtown but SHOP in the stores spend money and get to know one another and care for each other, Window shop with your small mind in your own town.

gh4years

Grand Haven is a wonderful town, swastika flag in a shop window come on. I bet your the same kind of person that goes to church weekly and judges others daily, gays , blacks , whites and the local GH man running an honest business for years of his life and giving to the community ! How are you ever able to vacation anywhere lady ? so narrow minded , stay in your own town and make it a better place before coming to one that locals take pride in and make comments like you did. The people in GH not only walk downtown but SHOP in the stores spend money and get to know one another and care for each other, Window shop with your small mind in your own town.

Kylepetty

Gh4years your comment is a great exsample of just how narrow minded you and the rest of grand haven are " The people in GH not only walk downtown but SHOP in the stores spend money and get to know one another and care for each other" keep that good old boy network going you fool!!!!!

CoolGHNative30

Narrow Minded means: Lacking tolerance, breadth of view, or sympathy; petty, having a biased or illiberal viewpoint; bigoted, intolerant, or prejudiced. Can you please explain the parrallels between shoping in local stores and caring for each and how they relate to any of the above examples from the definition of Narrow Minded. It would help me understand your point of view, thank you.

Rogdoger

I don't care if the swastika stood for peace, it all changed during the HOLOCAUST when "Millions Of People Were Slaughtered" or did you forget that. It's people like you that forget the HOROR takes place in history. I suppose you thought it was no big deal when they brought down the World Trade Centers either.

gh4years

Shame on you Rogdoger for bringing 911 into this. You took it to a hole new level :(

Fly on the Wall

Hahahahaha

You all have been anti-Semitic baited!!! The best thing to do when a self righteous individual makes inflammatory comments is to greet them with silence.
You've been played.

Harry Kovaire

Stay home Sarah. We have enough too easily offended idiots here already.

Kylepetty

Harry you seem offended that a person might not think grand haven is what you think... shame on you

Harry Kovaire

I am not offended by anything and don't give a hoot what they think. Quit being such a sensitive pansie and whining about about your hurt feelings.



Grand Haven is a small town filled with mostly small minded people (predominately white) most of whom have never been anywhere else. So what - that describes most small towns. If it offends you then do not live or visit here.

donna282

Sarah,
You very very quick to assume that the display of war memorabilia was something terrible and intimidating to you. I was just wondering how many letter you have written in your home state of Pennsylvania about the Keystone State Skinheads based in your state? I bet they display plenty swasikas and how about that Allentown Skinhead Festival that your state hosts???? How many letters have you written about that????? You have enough issues at home to keep you busy.

Kylepetty

Donna282 thank you for once again show the rest of the world how closed minded grand haven is. The flag is the window is one of many, many , many things around grand haven that are acceptable to local residents but not to the rest of the world. Grand Haven suffers from Color-blind racism also known as aversive racism, is racism that acts as if skin color does not matter – even when it does. Here is a great example “The nativity Scene on Dewey hill” sorry grand haven folk but not all believe in the same god as you….

donna282

Kyle,
What is it with you and your color issues. The flag has nothing to do with color. You seem to have an issue with white people. Yes Grand Haven and several other surrounding communities are mostly white. But other communites in the area are mostly black or hispanic. Do you have an issue with that. This is not a color issue. The issue seems to be someone does not like the swastika being displayed as a part of a war memorbilia in a shop window. This does not mean the community is anti anything. Its just a display, and if you or anyone else doesnt like it then dont go to that business. There is no need to attack the community because YOU are prejudiced against the people who live there. As far as Dewey Hill, dont go. Everyone else has the right to enjoy it. This is a Christian Community. Get over it or stay away or if you live here and dont like it MOVE!!!!

Kylepetty

Donna well said..... Be like us or move!!!!!!!!! White power........ By the way i am white

Boater

So Typical of self righteous liberal. The more you write the larger reflection of yourself. Donna said no such thing! I think your biases are glaring. Too much hatred.

CoolGHNative30

White power???? How is this relevant?

Kylepetty

"This is a Christian Community" Get over it or stay away or if you live here and dont like it MOVE!!!!.......Wow Ok.. So.... if I do not believe in your god or your Christian way of thinking I need to move? How about you get over it and worship in your church and not Dewey hill, I do not go to your church because I choose not too ...so why are you bringing your Christian views to me on Dewey hill?

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