The Enigma Of The Black Anti-Semite
Does anyone remember the Phil Donahue show? The show went off the air when I was 17, but I distinctly recall liking Phil Donahue a whole heck of a lot more than Oprah Winfrey. Some time spent looking at old episodes on YouTube reminded me why. 🙂 It’s because Phil Donahue had shows like this on a pretty regular basis:
It may shock many people to hear that I actually agree with the general sentiments of Dr. Khalid Muhammad. I do not hear hate in his speech, but rather a tenacious ideology that Black people must empower themselves. However as a Jew, and also as a personal post-racialist (I am post-racial, not our society however), I am appalled at the casual way that Dr. Muhammad, as well as many of the Black attendees in the audience, engage in anti-semitic rhetoric. It is absolutely ridiculous how they outright refuse to acknowledge any good qualities whatsoever in regards to Judaism and the Jews. It completely defies logic.
Although this segment aired over 20 years ago, and times have in fact changed…for the better it seems, two many Jews still believe that Black leaders and the Black community in general harbor anti-semitic sentiments. Compound that with the fact that many of the Black people on that segment appear to be Muslim (or at least sympathetic to the Muslim cause), and anti-semitism also grips a good part of the Muslim community. My sister is Muslim, so its not like I’m unattached to the community an its sentiments. To be fair, most Muslims that I know don’t even talk about Jews. However I have heard some terrible name-calling and stereotypes on occasion. In just about every instance, I was able to offer a correction or just simply come to the defense of Jews…and the incident would end right there.
Outside of religious and political differences, what gets me is the fact that Black people with anti-semitic sentiments seem to have directed their focus and energies in the wrong direction completely. In spite of whatever conspiracies there are out there about Jews controlling the world, they are still only 0.19% of the world’s population. American Jews have more readily come to the aid and assistance of American Blacks on a more consistent basis than any other Euro-American ethnic group. Large and by far, Jewish and Israeli leadership have had much less in terms of institutionalized racism than their Christian and Muslim counterparts.
I am far from being an expert on sociology and economics, but my take is that instead of berating the Jews, Black people should instead try to learn from them. I’m not saying that the Jewish community is blameless and needs to be put on a pedestal. Rather I am suggesting that Black people, or any people for that matter, draw from the collective strength and shared knowledge that is available in America due to our diversity and free society. Criticism and finger-pointing over injustice and suffering does little good in the long run. Instead focus on mutual respect; which will hopefully lay the foundation for shared understanding and empathy.
As a Black Jew, I look forward to a continued effort of all Black Americans (Christian, Muslim, & other) to improve their stance and community. And I look forward to this happening without playing the blame game and perpetuating ugly stereotypes against others (White people included).