View Full Version : Define this symbol
09-05-2001, 09:12 PM
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What is the history of the above symbol and what is the current meaning(s)?
Please ignore the dots in the drawing they are there to represent spaces. And the sides are more curved going into the points.
I understand that this symbol is offensive and I ask cause I recently saw a 10 year old black boy drawing it. He obviously did not know the meaning, so I would like to be better prepared if he repeats the drawing.
09-05-2001, 09:20 PM
Looks like the Iron Cross.
09-05-2001, 09:23 PM
It looks like maybe you're trying to represent the Iron Cross (http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/neo-nazi_iron-cross.html). As the ADL (where that link goes) notes, the Iron Cross originated as an honorable German military decoration, and only later came to be associated with the Nazis. (Of course, practically all symbols of hate, including the infamous swastika, originally meant something else. I was recently in the Buffalo City Hall, a grand old building dating back to the 1920's, and there were a few swastikas tucked away in the building's decorations. Back then, it was just a traditional symbol of good luck from several cultures.) Even now, I'm not sure how offensive the Iron Cross is if you don't include the swastika in the middle of it. A number of the symbols in the ADL's database have double meanings; they may be symbols of hate, but they may also be perfectly innocent symbols of Celtic Christianity or something like that.
09-05-2001, 09:25 PM
It may also be a Maltese cross. I don't know why that would be offensive except in the Nazi/KKK sense, though.
09-05-2001, 09:28 PM
This any better?
| ____ ____ |
|/ | | \|
Ascii art is always a good place to use the tags. Let me guess, you composed that in MS Word or something? It turned three spaces into ellipses (ellipsises? At any rate, more than one ellipsis chracter).
I think the figure is just one of several variants of crosses used throughout history. If I remember correctly, it's often called the "iron cross", and is often associated with Germany.
09-05-2001, 09:32 PM
Here is a bit of history on it from Symbols.com (http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/30/3054.html).
Sometimes the Iron Cross is called a Maltese Cross (http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/28/2835.html) in error, but they are two separate symbols.
09-05-2001, 09:34 PM
I think it looks more like this symbol (http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/groups_kkk.html), if you want to be really nit-picky.
09-05-2001, 09:49 PM
Here is one from 1914 (http://www.german-militaria.co.uk/ironcross/no1828.jpg), well before Hilter.
09-05-2001, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the links. It actually could have been any of them but it looked more like an iron cross.
What I did when it happened was to tell the young man that his drawing was inappropriate and that the symbol was not a good one and handed him another piece of paper and directed him into a more appropriate picture.
09-05-2001, 10:26 PM
Well, I hope you still have the paper so that you can return it to him and explain that it was all a misunderstanding. The association of the Iron Cross with Nazi Germany is rather limited. It is sufficiently not tainted by Nazi associations that the Germans continue to use it to identify their air force planes today:
Scroll to picture at the bottom of the page. (http://myweb.worldnet.net/~epatte/F104-us.htm)
09-05-2001, 10:36 PM
You had no idea what it meant and told him it was offensive? What's the logic in that?
09-05-2001, 10:48 PM
I knew it was used for the Nazi party, but rather than put that as a spoke in the wheel of my question, I asked it like that. I also understand that it has evolved from probably a rather benine beginning into being used as a symbol for hate.
I just wanted to know the history. Now there was a black adult who was with me and I asked if I handled this correctly and was told that I did just fine. I didn't make too big of an issue just got him back on track. Oh and it was in a Sabbath School class. He was suppose to be drawing a picture of what Christ has done for him.
09-06-2001, 08:20 AM
I work at a facility that does work with foreign (to U.S.) countries. We currently have a German plane in the hanger with the Iron Cross on it.
Ergo, I would guess that Deutchlanders make no association with between the Iron Cross and Nazism. As noted by other posters, this symbol predates the Nazi party. Naturally, the Nazi party would co-opt any national symbol for their ends (as would any party in any country.)
P.S. A co-worker I was with who is from Bosnia and only this year became a citizen of the U.S. said, "Hey look, a Nazi plane." The rest of us (native-born) were some what mystified since most of us only associate the swastika with Nazis.
09-06-2001, 09:46 AM
He was suppose to be drawing
a picture of what Christ has done for him.
A ten year old drawing a cross in response to this request is told it is offensive? He is likely very confused, as I am. Taken in context I would say you might have over reacted. But this is only my opinion.
09-06-2001, 10:01 AM
Would you have been offended if the bottom spoke had been twice as long, so that it was shaped like the more traditional "christian" cross? Given that the cross seems to symbolize the sacrifice that Jesus made, drawing one seems to satisfy the assignment.
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