On Monday, the Twin Cities Workers Defense Alliance – a group, at its most basic terms, for workers and against white supremacy – posted a photo of a large, elaborate tattoo.
It covered most of a grown man’s back and featured mountains, soldiers, a nude child chasing a stag, and a ferocious-looking wyrm, among other things, but all of that was hard to discern through the inescapable shape of the design: a swastika.
It turns out, this was an image ripped from a recruitment poster for the Norwegian Waffen SS, which was, as you have probably surmised, a Scandinavian Nazi fighting force. This photo came to the Alliance as a screenshot attributed to WB Tattoo, a shop based in Spring Lake Park.
You can’t find the photo anywhere on WB Tattoo’s page, and the shop hasn’t responded to interview requests on whether this tattoo had indeed been drawn by a WB artist. What has commenters most upset are screenshots of an apparent post from WB defending the design.
“When somebody comes into my shop and they want me to do some work for them, I don’t judge them or turn them away,” a post attributed to WB and displaying the tattoo photo said. “And I don’t disrespect them regardless of whether or not I believe in what they believe or agree with their lifestyle or personal choices. I have friends of all races, creeds, religions, and sexual preferences, I will never turn anyone [sic] of them away for anything they wanted tattooed.”
The photo of the tattoo was superimposed with a caption, which read, “The only thing Nazi that I can picture here is the way that you are trying to slander and debase someone else because of their own personal lifestyle choices because you don’t agree with them. That’s pretty fucking Nazi to me.”
The alliance made it plain what it thought of that reasoning.
No safe spaces for Nazis. No ink for boneheads.Posted by Twin Cities Workers Defense Alliance on Monday, June 29, 2020
You can technically still find the swastika tattoo in one place on WB’s Facebook page, and that’s in the reviews. Several Facebook users have taken the liberty of leaving negative recommendations.
“They support white supremacists and Nazis,” one reviewer said. “Talk about trash.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that a call for tolerance re: white supremacy isn’t landing super well... like, ever... but certainly right now. This comes on the heels of weeks of unrest over white supremacy and police brutality in the Twin Cities area ater the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
And just over the weekend, several “Aryan Cowboy” bikers were spotted in Stillwater. Sophia Rashid, a self-described “very visible Muslim woman,” claimed they started tailing her and her 4-year-old, “making comments/yelling” at her. Her account has been shared on Facebook some 17,000 times.