Yet again, the HEMA community had a Nazi panic attack this week. A topic from a white supremacy forum revealed that plenty of its denizens have an interest in our hobby; some practice it, others maybe even teach it.
That naturally led to certain people screaming “Racism IS a problem in HEMA!”.
Well, good morning to you. Racism is a problem everywhere.
The morons on the supremacists’ HollaForums, naturally, bring out the usual guns – “fencing is a white sport”, “the manuals are written by white people”, and unsurprisingly “bohurt is better”. Sure, run with that stuff.
At most, there are a dozen HEMA people in that post. Even if they were a hundred, they would at most be under 0,5% of the HEMA population.
Does that mean we should not be worried about racists, white supremacists and Nazis in HEMA? No more than everywhere else.
We live in a society that gets more and more polarized with the help of our new, awesome, two-edged tool – the Internet. Extremists of all sorts are easier to see, easier to spot, and they show up everywhere.
I don’t know about you, but I like those Nazis in the open.
I have not heard of a single HEMA school or club that tolerates and encourages extreme right radicals, white supremacists, racists, neo-nazis or whatever you call them. And no, I don’t include people who want better immigration policies in that list.
I have heard far more about problems with sexism, yet aside from posting awesome photos and organizing gatherings, I don’t see that problem being discussed in the open in HEMA as much. And I am quite certain there are more women facing sexism than there are Nazis in clubs around the world – even though I am just as sure this happens much less in HEMA than in other sports.
Every instructor or group leader in HEMA should have his eye open for such people. But not because they show up on an internet forum talking about n****rs and Jews, but because it is the sensible thing to do. They should also be on the lookout for immature 20-somethings, macho idiots, sexist morons and all the crap which humanity might drag to the doors of their salles.
But creating panic attacks is what certain people thrive on. Some do it because they really care and they have suffered from assholes, some do it to attack people in HEMA they disagree with and group them in the same category as Nazis. And that is the polarization of our societies spilling over into HEMA and why people are calling much more often for “no politics in HEMA”.
Sorry, guys, politics are there when people are there. It is on you whether they are sensible or led by hysteria.