On April 26 the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan’s student newspaper, reported that a white nationalist group calling itself “Iron Mitten” put racist and antisemitic stickers on top of Black Lives Matter themed posters on the University of Michigan campus. The incident comes on the heels of similar incidents on U of M’s campus this year, including offensive emails sent to students and anti-Islamic chalk graffiti on the school’s campus. By the time the article had been written, students had begun tearing down the vandalized posters.
This incident is interesting because of the way in which the perpetrators of the act blend different forms of prejudice, in this case anti-black and antisemitic sentiments. The people who put the stickers up chose to attach antisemitic stickers to posters promoting a black group rather than targeting posters promoting the U of M Hillel or an event being put on by a Jewish student group. Much of the antisemitic graffiti vandalism posts we put on this blog revolve around attacks on Jewish groups and institutions, such as spray painting swastikas on a Jewish community center or synagogue. I think there is a tendency by extremist groups to lump all those they oppose into a blanket camp of “them” and that is why they chose to target a black group’s posters with antisemitic stickers. The people doing this likely view Jewish and black people as being part of the same general group of people they hate. This is not a phenomenon we talked about much in class but I believe it is quite common.