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Sensitive Subjects

Adolf Hitler Appeared in a Trivia Question at the Michigan State Game


Photo by Joel Mott on Unsplash


This past Saturday, Oct. 21, Michigan State University displayed a picture of Adolf Hitler at their Michigan State vs. Michigan football game. The crew tried to entertain the fans before the game started by playing a video on the jumbotron of common trivia questions. Everything was going smoothly until the question, “Where was Adolf Hitler born?” popped up on the screen with a picture of him. The crew had not watched the trivia video before showing it. This offended many people because of the gut-wrenching horrors Hitler engraved into history. Even though Hitler has passed, his horrific memory lives on and has negative effects worldwide.


“I sort of struggled to believe that a brand so big would be willing to put something so insensitive to many people on the jumbotron itself,” junior Carson Conway said.


The trivia questions from the Michigan State game came from the YouTube channel “The Quiz Channel” which no one had watched fully prior to it being shown. “The Quiz Channel” producers stated that they did not know that Michigan State was using their videos for entertainment purposes. Because of this, Michigan State has made it clear that they will not rely on a third party to create the trivia questions anymore.


Because of this incident, it is raising questions as to whether a topic as dark as Hitler should be in trivia or should stay in the classroom.


“I feel like the topic of Hitler or other historical leaders should probably stay in a classroom; definitely not in a big football game like that game,” Conway said. “That [game] had so many younger children, maybe not willing to want to listen or hear about things that did happen. [So it] should probably be left alone and in the classroom.”


The anger that arose from the question and photo of Hitler led to an unnamed employee being put on paid leave. It was expected of the employee to watch the full video before putting it on the screen in front of thousands of people.


“Antisemitism must be denounced,” Athletic Director Alan Haller stated. “The image displayed prior to Saturday night’s game is not representative of who we are and the culture we embody. Nevertheless, we must own our failures and accept responsibility.”


This is not the first time something like this has happened in Michigan. Not only has Hitler been put on a jumbotron, but there have been many incidents of antisemitism throughout Michigan.


It is known that Detroit, Michigan is home to America's 14th-largest Jewish population. In March of 2023 police arrested a man who was accused of posting a threat on Twitter to “carry out the punishment of death” against anyone Jewish in Michigan's government. With Michigan State being a top-tier liberal arts school, it is incredibly surprising for a college like this to have a vast amount of antisemitism, especially when their main goal is to make sure everyone feels included.


Not only have there been antisemitic tweets, but there was also an incident last year where a student at Michigan State University reported that her mezuzah had been ripped off her door. A mezuzah consists of a small wooden, plastic, or metal case with typically a unique design to it. Within the box, there is a small piece of parchment paper that has two verses from the Torah written on it; Deuteronomy 6:4–9 and Deuteronomy 11:13–21. In Hebrew, mezuzah means “doorpost”. The mezuzah then is placed on the doorpost at the entrance of the home and every interior room’s door except for the bathrooms.

 

Antisemitism has been, and is continuing  to be a concerning issue in Michigan. The recent incident during the Michigan State game only served to exacerbate these concerns. While the trivia question in question may have been an unintentional error, it raises questions about whether there might be deeper-rooted issues at play, given Michigan's historical challenges with antisemitism.

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