Swastika in Richmond

I spotted this swastika spraypainted on the sidewalk in the city of Richmond, California. The street where this photo was taken is not in the residential part of town, but adjacent to some business parks in a light industrial area next to the freeway. The road next to the swastika is frequently used for “sideshows” — late-night car-spinning and street-racing outdoor gang parties. The asphalt up and down the block is covered in skidmarks and tire-tracks.

In all my days in the Bay Area, I have practically never seen a swastika drawn as graffiti anywhere (outside of a political protest, of course). I had originally intended to note that Richmond is not known to have any neo-Nazi activity (the city is actually known for its large African-American community), until I noticed this article about a hate crime in Richmond in which a black man was beaten up by white teenagers spewing racist epithets. Racists in Richmond? What?

Here’s a close-up of the same swastika. I could speculate as to what the appearance of such a symbol means in this place and context, but the truth is I have no idea. I doubt it has any direct connection to the beating incident, but the swastika certainly is disturbing, I’ll say that for it.

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