Vandalism proves problematic in Edina

Hanna Jaeger, staff writer

On Saturday, Nov. 2, Edina police responded to a call reporting graffiti on a shed on Concord Elementary School grounds. The defacement included the word “TOE”, a phallic symbol, and, most concerningly, a swastika. Since the drawing was done with chalk and did no damage to the property,  there was no crime. A juvenile has admitted to the vandalism, but their identity has remained anonymous. However, the incident has brought concern regarding Edina’s toleration of hate speech towards Jewish people and other minorities. 

One would like to imagine there wasn’t really any malicious intent behind the adolescent’s actions, and it was just an act of impulsiveness and immaturity. Even still, there is still something uneasy about how young people often take the swastika, a peace turned hate symbol, so lightly. “It’s hard to believe that kids that young would have hate that strong,” sophomore Aliya Dahlin said on the matter. “But I have had experience with people in this school calling me a terrorist because of my connection to Judaism and Israel.” Dahlin is an active member of the Jewish community and participates in Young Judaea, an organization that brings Jewish youth throughout the Midwest together. “[Anti-semitism] is possible, but it really isn’t something you’d expect,” Dahlin said.

This type of incident, is not entirely uncommon in Edina. A number of crimes involving racist graffiti have occurred since January 2018. Most of the time, the motives behind this phenomenon can likely be attributed less to prejudice, and more to ignorance. “I really think that there should be more awareness of different religions [in Edina],” Dahlin said. 

Edina has a vastly Christian community, with only 1.5% of the population being Jewish, according to “A lot of the time people don’t realize how many people are different from them, especially because Jews don’t look any different,” Dahlin said.

One last point to this story is key: “It’s important not to glorify the person that did this, because that’s exactly what they want: attention,” Dahlin said. Perhaps if we were all a little more sensitive to who might be affected by our actions, problems like this wouldn’t be so prevalent.