My Impressions of the Exhibit at Duke by Aenia Amin

Today’s trip to Duke University and the Nasher Museum was an enriching and eye-opening experience. Upon arriving at Duke, William Hansen, the curator of the Rubenstein Library, and Kate Collins, a research librarian, welcomed us and guided us through the beautiful Gothic architecture that composed campus, towards the prepared exhibit on Nazi propaganda and anti-Semitism. Based on 90 boxes of material donated by the Southern Poverty Law Center and by private donors, these two individuals prepared a sample of the materials focusing on Nazi propaganda, anti-Semitism and racism, ranging from the 1930s to 2004. There were a variety of sources, from originally bound books to newspaper articles and flyers. All of the pieces were fascinating and made me realize that we have penetrated only the surface of the Holocaust, an event in the ocean of racism. This interdisciplinary event is correlated with hatred and prejudice worldwide and cross-culturally.
One facet of anti -Semitism is that the average citizen is frequently exposed to it by the public media, magazines, flyers, and popular culture. This astounded me as we hear about this hatred multiple times daily; yet, we often ignore it. However, it unconsciously shapes our views. For example, one of the flyers was advertising a conference devoted to proclaiming the superiority of the white or Caucasian race and denoting other minorities, featuring Hunter Gibson (the father of Mel Gibson) as a keynote speaker on his New World Order conspiracy. Hosted by the Freedom Law School in California, this event took place in 2004! David Duke’s theories about the Jews being responsible for the 9/11 attacks also illustrate the modern day anti-Semitism that is one of the many banes of society. Even music was utilized as a form of propaganda against minorities by the White Aryan Resistance Party. The National Socialist White People’s Party, now eradicated by the Southern Poverty Law Center, frequently implemented rallies and conferences to target the general public.
Secondly, while Holocaust denialism has died down since the 1980s, it is still prevalent, evidenced by the Texan-based newspaper and other articles and Zionist propaganda in the exhibit. These sources were formatted as authentic academic journals, newspaper articles, or advertisements in an effort to lend credibility. Overall, the strategies employed by these racist organizations effectively targeted the average citizen; however, an educated citizen could easily discern through the falsehoods and promote the betterment of society. All one needed was education and a sense of justice and conscience. These are the lessons that I gleaned from this enriching experience, and I intend to share this knowledge to promote awareness about combating the anti-Semitism and racism that plagues our society.

 - Aenia Amin 

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