Blacks and Jews, Part Two

June 15th, 2005 by Dan Charnas


Black Christians: Praying to a Jewish Rabbi named Joshua for nearly 400 years.

Let me be perfectly clear:

For all our bellyaching, Black anti-Semitism hasn’t cost Jews their lives or livelihoods.

White racism, on the other hand, has cost people of color theirs, over and over.

Jews — as whites in America — are participants in that racism, at least by default.

James Baldwin, in his landmark essay “Negroes are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White,” tells that his first experiences of one-on-one racism were at the hands of Jews, because it was the Jews who were the shopkeepers, teachers and landlords in the Harlem of the mid-20th century. So, to paraphrase Baldwin, you might say that Jews are racist because they’re white, not because they’re Jewish. And that racism, unlike Black anti-Semitism, has caused real, physical harm.

So if you’re a person concerned with liberation, as many Jews claim to be, you must acknowledge that the most urgent problem is white supremacy… as it affects people of color, rather than people of the Book.

That being said: We’re still going to talk about Black anti-Semitism.

We’re going to talk about for my own personal reasons. Because just as Baldwin’s first experiences of racism were at the hands of Jews, most of my experiences of anti-Semitism have been at the hands of Black people.

This is not to say I haven’t engineered that situation. After all, I elected to spend my life hanging around Black folks. If I had settled in Boise, Idaho, I might be singing a different tune.

And this is not to say that Black anti-Semitism has injured me in some palpable way. Only my feelings were hurt.

And this is not to say that Black anti-Semitism is a real problem. It isn’t. But that doesn’t mean that Black anti-Semitism isn’t real.

It is real, Israel.

So let’s talk about that.

Jew On The Brain

From my own experience, it feels like Black Americans are more likely to be anti-Semitic than white Americans. That could just be a personal distortion. But the ADL published a survey in 1998 finding that while 9% of white Americans could be classified as holding anti-Semitic beliefs, the figure for Black Americans was 34%, nearly four times as much. Not that I trust the ADL much more than I trust Farrakhan. And not that I agree with the ADL’s broad definition of what constitutes “anti-Semitism.”

But a lot of Black people definitely have something going on when it comes to Jews.

A lot of it isn’t “anti-Semitism” so much as it is a condition I affectionately call “Jew-on-the-brain.”

Let me explain: Jews and Blacks in America have long shared a mutual obsession for the other. And not all of this obsession comes from the shared legacy of oppression and genocide. I think that it comes from something deeper and more spiritual.

For Jews, a lot of this fascination centers on music and culture. White America in general shares that attraction, but it is an appreciation from a distance. There’s something about Jews, on the other hand, that has made us want to be more than simple observers. We’ve wanted to participate. No need to list the evidence for this one.

For Blacks, a lot of this fascination centers on unity and mobility. The ways that Jewish people excel in particular fields, or how they “stick together,” is very much part of Black American lore. And it’s made some Black Americans eager to form connections with Jews in business and other fields. No need to list the evidence for this, either.

Jews marvel Black genius and say: How do they DO it? Blacks look at Jewish genius and say, with the same awe: How do they DO it? On its face, it’s very touching. That is the dynamic, after all, upon which most romantic relationships are based.

But we live in a white, Christian society. So Jewish fascination can easily take on the baggage of racism (“they DO it because they’ve got such natural RHYTHM”); and Black fascination can take on the baggage of anti-Semitism (“they DO it because they’re CHEAP and SHREWD and SHADY”).

That Black fascination plus stereotyping equals what I call “Jew-on-the-brain.”

For the most part, I’ve found “Jew-on-the-brain” to be benign, even quaint. I know, for the most part, it comes from overexposure to ideas about Jews and underexposure to Jews themselves. If I had twenty hands, I still couldn’t count the Black homes in which I’ve been a guest over the years. Yet most of my Black hosts could count their experiences around a Jewish dinner table on one hand alone, if that. For many of my Black friends, I’m the only Jew they really know.

So I don’t take much offense at the offhand comment or two. I just try to be myself and see what that does to their prejudices.

For Example, Who’s Your A&R?

It was much harder to do that, though, in the music business. There, I’m already in the role of “exploiter.” And my bosses (Cory Robbins and Rick Rubin) were both Jewish, and both somewhat… uh… frugal? So in working for them, in doing their bidding, I was pretty much fucked.

I gave artists shitty deals because I was spending my bosses’ shitty money.

Not that we weren’t exemplary in other ways. If, by chance, you had Rick Rubin on your team, then you had someone who fought harder for real, raw Black culture than any person in the music business — white OR Black — and even appreciated it more than his partner Russell; even if it meant losing money, long-standing distribution deals or even walking away from a company entirely. And if, by chance, you had me at your side, then you had someone who really knew the significance of your art within the broader context of American culture, and would fight for its dignity and success even at the expense of his own personal gain. So not so cheap, after all.

I think, for example, that Chino knew this. Like many of my Black friends, Chino had a mild case of “Jew-on-the-brain.” So, yes, sometimes he conflated Rick’s and my being Jewish with the fact that his record deal sucked. Thus the lyric: “And if my company tries to play me for my loot/Then I get red and fed/I’m leaving them dead/I’m slapping the yarmakules off they head.”

This was funny, actually, to all of us. It was Rick’s favorite lyric, of course. No, the lyric that Rick tried to kill was this one: “So bring out bum ass Russell Simmons, cause comedy’s over.”

“He’s my friend,” Rick said.

“Rick,” I replied, “you guys are still suing each other, for Chrissakes.”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”

The lyric stayed in. Along with the ones where Chino anticipates Tevin Campbell’s sex change operation and salutes Me’shell N’degeocello’s manhood. And of course, the one about Tupac. With Chino, everything was fair and everyone got skewered. I took no exception.

Still, there was one moment that gave me pause. The year was 1996. Chino was part of a big Wake Up Show concert at the theatre in Leimert Park on Crenshaw in L.A. He came out to do his freestyle and, as usual, had everybody hanging on his every word. So he’s in the middle of another tirade against the industry and lets this one fly:

“I’m bringing more fiscal dilemmas to these Jews than free ham.”

The crowd surged like a bomb had been detonated. I will never forget that deafening reaction; a moment where an audience immediately connects with an emcee’s rhymed shorthand and all of the subtext therein: The record industry is run by greedy Jews.

It was a brilliant lyric. Funny, clever and mean… all the things that made Chino so compelling. But, like most “Jew-on-the-brain” babble, based more on folklore than fact. And I think on some level Chino knew better; but he was never one to let facts get in the way of a good punchline.

But some people really do believe it. This same assertion was made in a more humorless fashion by former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley. In a public forum circa 1993, while rebuking Eazy-E for sullying the city’s fine name with his gangsta lyrics and imagery, Bradley said (if memory serves):

“I won’t name the specific racial group that’s using you, brother, but they are destroying us and having a bagel and a bar mitzvah at the same time.”

Bradley, like so many Black folks, went out of his way to blame faceless Jews they do not even know. Not Jerry Heller, mind you. But all Jews. That means me.

On cue, I was asked to appear opposite Bradley on “Which Way L.A?” a radio program on NPR affiliate KCRW. This was my opening salvo:

“There are six major record companies in the world [well, there were in 1993 when I said this]. Sony and MCA are owned by the Japanese. BMG by the Germans. EMI by the British. Polygram by the Dutch. That leaves TimeWarner, the sole American company, which is actually headed by Gerry Levin, who is Jewish; but it’s a publicly held corporation. Even if we count TimeWarner, one company hardly denotes Jewish domination of the industry.”

Bradley didn’t show, of course. A coward who doesn’t do justice to his namesake. And, as it turns out, a hypocrite. Bradley, so concerned about the Jews exploiting his people, was sent to jail in 2004 for “misappropriating public funds.” But hey, the Jews probably set him up, right?

Here’s an education for my “Jew-on-the-brain” friends: Just because you see a whole bunch of Cohens and Rubins and Rifkinds up in the mix, doesn’t mean “The Jews” control the entertainment business. There is no “The Jews.” There’s an old maxim that says when you get 4 Jews in a room you get 5 opinions. Believe it. There can’t be a Jewish conspiracy when Jews can’t agree on anything… not even Israel. If you don’t know this, then you don’t know Jews.

And frankly, this goes for everybody. No one ethnic group is “all” anything. There is no “Black community.” There are Black communities. Small change, big difference.

But don’t take my word for it. Let James Baldwin get at you:

“All racist positions baffle and appall me. None of us is that different from one another, neither that much better nor that much worse. Furthermore, when one takes a position one must attempt to see where that position inexorably leads. One must ask oneself, if one decides that black or white or Jewish people are, by definition, to be despised, is one willing to murder a black or white or Jewish baby: for that is where the position leads. And if one blames the Jew for having become a white American, one may perfectly well, if one is black, be speaking out of nothing more than envy.”

The Roots of Black Anti-Semitism

Where do contemporary Black ideas about Jews come from? The roots of Black anti-Semitism are fivefold, in chronological order:

Christian Retentions:
West Africans were brought to a Christian country where they took on the religion of their slave masters. And while African-Americans much identified with the enslaved Hebrews of the Old Testament, many also inherited malignant Christian attitudes toward Jews as “Christ killers” and apostates.

Neighborhood Friction:
Jews were the bottom-of-the-rung, last white ethnic group out of the urban ghettos of America. So, long after they moved out, they still owned the buildings that Black folks moved into. They owned the stores where they shopped. They were the civil service workers — the teachers, the social workers, the bureaucrats. For many Black people like James Baldwin, the whites with whom they interacted most frequently were Jews. Not all of those interactions were negative, but by and large, the relationship was exploitive, with Jews acting as middlemen for the greater power structure. A power structure which, mind you, has always benefited from pitting one ethnic group against the other. And James Baldwin knew this: “It is not the Jew who controls the American drama. It is the Christian.”

Political Power Struggles:
The famed Black-Jewish partnership that launched and funded the Civil Rights struggle was never one between equals. The Jewish position, no matter how well-meant, was always somewhat patronizing. To be Black then, was to be feel encircled by Jews: exploited from below; condescended from above. And when Black leaders in the 60s began to exercise their inalienable right of self-rule, Jews withdrew, or were tossed from the movement. When Black leaders pointed out the Jewish role in white racism, many Jews reacted as if their own history of oppression and contributions to Black liberation prevented them from being bigots individually; and obstructive institutionally.

Third-Worldview:
The changes in the way Black folks saw America— in which they deduced that American Jews were white after all — were mirrored by changes in the way Black folks saw the world. Specifically, Black Nationalists saw themselves as part of a global struggle between Black and white. Included in that group of darker-skinned people were the Arabs. And because the Arabs, since World War Two, had been in conflict with Jews in Israel— many of whom were light-skinned Caucasians fleeing the Holocaust and a Europe that was indifferent-to-hostile in its aftermath — some Black Americans naturally embraced this not only as another Black-white conflict, but yet another instance of Jews in particular trying to colonize people of color. Combine this with a growing rejection of white Christianity in favor of a darker Islam, and you had all the ingredients you might need to hate you some Jews.

Mystical Projection:
Black anti-Semitism, in the 1970s and 80s, began to draw from more than just religious, economic and political resentments. After the assassinations of King and X; after the inner cities burned; and on into the crack-flooded Reagan years; many African-Americans — both in the streets and in academia — began to see conspiracy everywhere. Some of those conspiracies were political and real: Cointelpro, the CIA-crack connection.

But some of them were more mystical and unprovable: James Granger’s “Adam, The Altaic Ring and The Children of the Sun.” Frances Cress Wesling’s “The Isis Papers.” And of course, the Nation of Islam’s “Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.” Mystic narratives — tales of a race of white devils grafted by the “evil Jakub” (a/k/a Jacob, a/k/a Israel?) — had long been at the core of the Nation’s philosophy, and that of its offshoots like the Five Percenters. But it was during the 90s that we began to see an ironic alignment of Black liberationist and white supremacist mystical beliefs: A world filled with black helicopters and Trilateral Commissions; Masons and Federal Reserve Banks; AIPAC and Israel; United Nations and New World Orders. At the base of all this is a general feeling that there are a few powerful men who control, or want to control, the world. That they’ve always controlled it, or wanted to. That they’re the ones who set nations into war at whim so they can exert more of that control. Who is to say?

And while I do not equate Farrakhan with David Duke in the least — as the ADL does — what Farrakhan and Duke share, along with many powerless people in the world, is that these Men they speak of are either Jews, or controlled by Jews. And with it, the general sense that the Jews (or a certain upper echelon of Jews) are somehow evil, or at least can’t help themselves from indulging in it. Why not the Jews after all? We’ve been the default bogeyman for that accusation for thousands of years.

It’s this mystical anti-Semitism that invaded hip-hop when Professor Griff blithely stated that “Jews were responsible for the majority of wickedness” in the world. In that mystical conflation, all his worlds came together: the Christian retentions, the neighborhood conflicts, the political power struggles, the third-worldview, the Islamic triumphalism and mystical suspicions. Everything he had seen and experienced, from the church to the mosque; from the corner store to the music biz, seemed to ring it true.

Against that, what could Rush publicist Bill Adler do? Sitting across from Griff, he explained that “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was a forgery; that Henry Ford’s “The International Jew” was the product of a white supremacist par excellence. Griff’s answer: “That’s what the book says.” Adler noted at a forum this year that he “realized that Griff, like all racists, takes his beliefs as a matter of faith.” Adler, a Jew who fought hard for Public Enemy’s philosophy of empowerment, quietly removed himself from the project.

And what of Griff’s “retraction,” years later? I paraphrase: “That is the stupidest thing I said. The Jews aren’t responsible for the majority of the wickedness across the globe… Satan is responsible.” And I’m sitting in my chair thinking: That is rather slippery of you, Agent Starling. Yeah, Satan. Working through the hands of Jews, no doubt.

Farrakhan’s retractions and outreach carry much the same slipperiness, and I don’t buy it in the least. And for the most part, I don’t care.

The Future

But then again, I take a walk down 125th Street, under the old Blumsteins’ sign, where Adam Clayton Powell once led a boycott against bigoted Jewish merchants, and I see for sale a tabletop full of taped lectures by Khalid Abdul Muhammed and Malik Zulu Shabazz. And then I start to care a bit.

I wonder: Who will the leaders of Black tomorrow be? And if I work — in whatever worlds I travel — for that empowerment, am I working for my own destruction?

I walk away and the thought fades, a romantic fantasy deaded by dreary reality. In America, as Julius Lester said, it is the Black man who is made to wear the Star of David.

So, no, Black anti-Semitism is not a real problem. But it is real, Israel. Those double-digit numbers the ADL cites are the product of many different streams, a confluence of causes. And I think that negativity is exacerbated, again and again, by a Jewish leadership completely alienated from Black reality.

As sexy a target as Farrakhan has become, bashing him in hopes of ending Black anti-Semitism is like trying to catch Osama in hopes of ending terrorism. Alas, the real way to combat “Jew-on-the-brain” is much less glamorous: Outreach. Generosity. Personal contact.

You’re Invited

If I could show you the one thing that is — for me — what being Jewish is about, it would be my family’s Passover Seder.

Mind you, we’re not very observant Jews — we don’t keep kosher, we don’t observe the Sabbath, we don’t go to temple. Okay, we’re horrible Jews, actually. But Passover is the one holiday that we keep — as it were — religiously.

As in all Jewish homes, the seder is a ritual meal recounting the story of the exodus from Egypt. (You know that daVinci painting, “The Last Supper”? That was Rabbi Yeshua leading a seder with his merry men). Anyway, the ceremony’s central theme, repeated throughout the evening, is our gratitude for having been freed, and the commitment to free enslaved peoples everywhere.

So if there’s ONE THING that’s been drubbed into me by my religion —over and over again, year after year — it is that.

It is, without a doubt the central commandment of my own personal Judaism. It applies equally to Jews, African-Americans or Palestinian Arabs. It’s why I have a very hard time understanding Jews who don’t get that, or don’t much care. And it’s why I’m so beside myself about both Jewish racism and Black anti-Semitism. It is one of the tragic ironies of my life.

It Was The Jews

I have a friend, an Afro-Brit expat who’s been living in New York for almost two decades. We’ve known each other for almost that long. One day, we were walking near ground zero with her 11-year-old daughter. My friend, who’s always been a bit of a conspiracy-theory buff, asked me whether I thought it was really terrorists who destroyed the twin towers.

I smile and roll my eyes at her: “No, honey. It was the Jews.”

“Yes,” she replies in her very proper west end accent, “I had heard that.”

I squint: “Are you kidding me?”

“Well,” she said, “I was told that Jews were given a warning to get out beforehand.”

There’s nothing left for me to do but stare at her. That’s when I notice that her daughter’s regarding her mother with the same look of incredulity.

The daughter’s eyes and mine meet for a split second, together on our small island in the sea of ignorance.

—-

48 Responses to “Blacks and Jews, Part Two”

  1. beez says:

    Sounds like you’re talking yourself into writing a book.
    It’s all excellent.
    I’m now thinking about how much harder I find it to read commentary on racial themes in America by people who aren’t Hiphop literate.
    I guess I think Hiphop is the frontline in racial understanding/misundersanding amonst the under 40s. When people talk about it all without any knowledge of what goes on in Hiphop I guess I tune it out as outmoded. The non-hiphop generation has dealt all its cards long ago, it just still holds the deck for the time being.
    Nice one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is great reading. Thanks Dan.

    On a sidenote, I just watched Sidney Lumet’s “Pawnbroker” the other night. The central character, Sol Nazerman, is a Holocaust survivor who runs a pawnshop in 1960s Harlem. Many of these issues and dynamics are portrayed in the movie.

    _eric

  3. ronnie brown says:

    “For all our bellyaching, Black anti-semitism hasn’t cost Jews their lives or livelihoods”…

    “I wonder: who will the leaders of Black tomorrow be?…and if i work-in whatever worlds i travel for that empowerment, am i working for my own destruction?”…

    Dan, your quotes put yourself in quite a pickle. You are most certainly correct when you declare that Black anti-semitism (in whatever definition the ADL determines as such) poses little or no threat to your individual or collective well-being, and yet you express a dread about the intentions of the Black leadership/community of the future…

    With all due respect Dan, i think you vastly overestimate the place Jews hold in the Black mindset. Like i said before, the fact that Black folk hold any regard or misconceptions of Jews at all is because we are a people who had our historical and familial continuity DECIMATED through the slave trade. Millions of Black people scattered to the four winds; language, religious tradition, culture…smashed…generations not allowed to be able to read and write…any misconceptions about Jews primarily spring from a lack of knowledge about ourselves and our place in the historical record.

    For us, “Black anti-semitism” is a piss-poor substitute to try to fill in the gaps of our own history as well as an attempt to understand how we came to end up in this position in the first place! And you guys don’t make it any easier when you play “fast and loose” with descriptive terms. Why is a person an anti-semite instead of anti-Jewish?…are white guys semites now?…why are Black Jews from Ethiopia forced to “convert” in order to be recognized by the state of Israel?…white converts to an African religion acting as official gatekeepers to the ones who are supposed to be the original “people of the book”???…yikes!

    Dan, you gotta understand our “relationship” with Jews is neither romantic or envious…Us wondering “how you stick together” is nothing more than the longing to recover our own unity and solidarity among ourselves. We are still in the process of recovering our own autonomy. That’s why our interaction with each other is so patronizingly top-heavy ON YOUR END. We are vulnerable to any entreaty of coalition; no matter how one sided because the psychological strongholds that generations of bondage and exclusion produced have yet to be completely removed.

    When that day comes (and it most surely will) we will be able to see ourselves more clearly and thus see YOU with a clearer eye without the unnecessary baggage of stereotypes and plain untruth. Then and only then can we sit at the table of nations…as equals!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jews and Black have essentially posed two visions for how an oppressed group can elevate itself. Black people have done so by elevating with Blackness intact (if not outright overblown). Jews have done so by sublimating Jewish culture.

    _eric

  5. ronnie brown says:

    Eric, please clarify the use of the phrase “outright overblown”…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ronnie…

    ;) I knew you’d like that one (;

    Examples of overblown Blackness.

    0. Black Zionism. Back to Africa. Black Star Liner. Etc.

    1. Five Percent Nation. This is a small example, but quite extreme.

    2. Nation of Islam. The prophet is Black, the devil is White.

    3. Native Tongues. Merely a passing fad? Leather medallions and all that.

    4. Blacks in entertainment. Blackness is propagated and often defined by movies, music, etc. The scale and nature of this enterprise, alone, practically insures that many aspects of Blackness will be “overblown.” Exploitation, misrepresentation, and exagerration (aka overblowing) are inevitable. It warps the culture and is often disconnected from reality.

    Now, you know me Ronnie. I’m all about Blackness. Blackness is part of my culture too. But in the end we are individuals. Even if Blackness is a healthy response to racism and white supremacy, it can be overblown, in practice and significance. “Keeping it real” is not necessarily equivalent to “staying Black,” simply because Blackness is, ultimately, a stereotype, a myth, a label, an ideal, or all of the above.

    _eric

  7. ronnie brown says:

    Eric,
    i’ll give you an “A” for effort…but i must disagree with your first example…”Black Zionism”??…please!…we don’t have to displace or uproot anyone in the name of creating a “state”…Africa IS my ancestral homeland. If we wanna go back to Africa and use our own luxury liner to get there, we’re entitled.

    regarding The Nation and the Five Percenters; total agreement…Native Tongues?…you a fashion critic now?

    Now about you being “all about the Blackness” and “Blackness being a part of YOUR culture”, please, do tell…why do you claim a concept you just dismissed as a “stereotype”, a “myth”, a “label”?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ronnie…

    Thanks for the “A”.

    1. Black Zionism. I am not denying anyone’s African heritage. And I am not denying the influence of Africa on Black people in America. I simply think a lot of people have romanticized and idealized the connection with Africa. That’s all. I’m not sure this is a very controversial point.

    2. Native Tongues. I guess you could say that was a cheap shot. ;) As silly as it was, Native Tongues were pretty fuckin cool at the time (and still are, imo).

    3. Claiming Blackness. There is definitely a contradiction there. Much of the contradiction comes from the fact that my understanding of the term/concept has evolved. As a white person, it was inevitable that my understanding of Black culture and history would be incomplete. Yet the influence was very real and is still with me, even though my understanding has changed. How you think I got so righteous and uppity anyway?

    I am a modern American… how can Blackness NOT be a part of me?

    ;)

    _eric

  9. Dan Charnas says:

    Ronnie & Eric:

    Thanks, first of all, for taking up the other end of this conversation.

    Eric, I’m not sure what you mean by ‘elevated.’ Could you clarify?

    You seem to be saying that American Jews have ‘sold out’ to make it and that Black people haven’t; that while Jews willingly abandoned their traditions to blend in, Black Americans made some sort of conscious decision to keep theirs; or at least to construct some sort of cultural autonomy that would stand against the vagaries of the mainstream.

    Uh, I don’t think that Black people had much of a choice in the matter, Eric. White supremacy has put all people of color on the outside. It wasn’t a choice. Y’all were simply locked out. To the extent that ‘Blackness’ has emerged as a consciousness, I know that it was hard won.

    The reality, as you well know, is this: Most Black people can’t “choose” to pass for white, even those with white parents. Jews, on the other hand, can.

    But I don’t think that Jewish-Americans (most of whom fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe) have sublimated their culture any more than, say, Italian or German or Irish-Americans; or any other European ethnic group that’s been here 100 years or more.

    So I think your claim is a bit bombastic. Yeah, Jews assimilated. But don’t try to make it seem like Jews are moral weaklings because of it. You know, take a walk through Williamsburg or Crown Heights on a Saturday morning and then come back and tell me that the Jews have sublimated their culture. There are ALL kinds of Jews, my friend, just as there are ALL kinds of Black folks. There are Black people who have done everything they can to embrace ‘Blackness’; and then there are Black people who want nothing more than the whitebread American dream. Y’all got plenty of moral weaklings too, by your standards; but I do not hold YOU in contempt for their desires.

    I’m reminded of a quote from Amiri Baraka (nee LeRoi Jones) when he said (and I paraphrase from very poor memory): Black people are the quintessential Americans. And to the extent that mainstream or white America holds something true, Black people hold that same belief it to the Nth power. So if white America likes baseball, Mom and apple pie, Black people will LOVE baseball, Mom, and apple pie. If white America likes Jesus, Black people will LOVE Jesus. If white America is capitalist, Black people will be super-capitalist. And, to the extent that white America fears and loathes Black people, Black people themselves will fear and loathe Black people with a greater and ultimately more tragic intensity.

    I think that’s a brilliant observation, and one that helps explain, for example, why we struggle against materialism in hip-hop.

    As for ‘overblown’ expressions of Blackness, I think I know what you mean. And I think that Black anti-Semitism (or Black anti-Jewish sentiment, if you’re more comfortable with that, Ronnie) is often simply part of that overblown-ness. So I try to treat it as such, and not react like it’s the freaking Holocaust, like Abe Foxman does.

    That’s why this is the first time, in 20 years of writing, that I’m even talking about it. I think I’ve been patient; and, if I do say so, a good friend. Indulge me this frivolity, even if only for my hurt feelings.

    But Ronnie, respectfully, I do not think I am overstating the case of Black people’s relationship to Jews. As is the case with white racism, if you are white, you do not have to much care about or think about Black people to be a racist. Most white people (including many Jews) think they’re tolerant (“colorblind,” they insist), when they are actually quite bigoted. It goes the same for Black folks and Jews, Black people may think of Jews only once in a blue moon; but when some do, they draw right from that stinking well of stereotypes, whether or not they are actually reinforced by personal experience.

    I really appreciate what you said, though:

    “For us, “Black anti-Semitism” piss poor substitute to try to fill in the gaps of our own history”…

    “Us wondering ‘how you stick together’ is nothing more than the longing to recover our own unity and solidarity among ourselves”…

    “When that day comes (and it most surely will) we will be able to see ourselves more clearly and thus see YOU with a clearer eye without the unnecessary baggage of stereotypes and plain untruth. Then and only then can we sit at the table of nations…as equals!”

    All agreed and understood.

    I take vigorous exception, however, to your racialist interpretation of Jewish culture and history.

    The key racialist words here are “so called,” as in “so-called Semites” or “so-called Jews.”

    I plan to get into this very subject in a deeper way in Part Three, but for now, I will say this:

    Many Black Americans, understandably, see their world through the lens that explains it best: The ongoing struggle between white oppressor and black oppressed. That lens has been distilled into huge mystical, ‘overblown’ race-theories-explaining-everything by a few groups, some of whom were mentioned by Eric.

    But that same lens renders you myopic at best, blind at worst, when it comes to seeing the truth about many other age-old struggles in the world. Applying a racial interpretation of Jews and Judaism is one of them.

    “Are white guys Semites now?” Ronnie, you think Jews are “white guys” because the only group of Jews you really see in America are the Ashkenazim (the catch-all term for diasporic Jews from eastern and central Europe).

    But the world of Jews is much greater than what you and other Black Americans can see. Israel, for instance, has now become the haven for Jews from the four corners of the globe: Sephardic Jews from Spain and North Africa; Mizrahi Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, India… even China and Japan. In fact, your average swarthy Israeli Jew is virtually indistinguishable from his Arab brethren.

    So are Jews “Semites”? The only reason I use the term “anti-Semitic” is because it’s common. It was coined in 19th century Europe where Jews (no matter how fair their skin) were seen as a separate racial group. Hitler certainly thought of the Ashkenizim as “Semites.” So if Black people take a look at the Ashkenazim around them and think otherwise, well I certainly understand their perspective. I really don’t care. Fine, I’ll say “anti-Jewish” to keep you and Harry Allen happy. But the Jews are not a race. The Jews are a creed made up of many ethnic groups.

    Which begs your other question: “white converts to an African religion acting as official gatekeepers…?” Aggh! Mystical, romantic Black nationalist conjecture!

    Judaism an African religion? Possibly. The ancient Hebrews from Africa? Also quite possible. The Jews of the Biblical era dark skinned? I’d bet my life on it. But how dark? Ronnie, all of this shit, really……. WHO CARES?!! We are ALL descended from Africans as far as I’m concerned. Racialism is another form of triumphalism. I don’t believe that any one group of people is “a watered down version” of another.

    Whether the original Hebrews (which came from the Egyptian word ‘Habiru,” meaning people of the dust) came from Africa or Mesopotamia or Cleveland, the fact is that they were thrown to the four corners of the world 2000 years ago. In that time, they intermarried, and produced the variations you see now.

    So I do not take kindly to your dismissive characterization of Ashkenazim as “white converts.” If you know anything about Judaism, you know it is not a triumphalist, proselytizing tradition. If anything, as you allude, it is exclusionary. And even if every “white” Jew you saw was the product of some fabled ancestral con
    version (why the fuck ANYBODY would have wanted to convert to Judaism in the Dark Ages I have no idea)… so what? Those ‘converts’ went to the ovens, my friend. They paid their dues.

    Your ideas about Jewish racial purity (i.e. the modern Ethiopian Jews somehow more ‘authentic’ than Ashkenazim) are pretty scary. It’s like a white person saying that Malcolm X or Louis Farrakhan were somehow ‘less authentic’ because they had European blood in them. What determines, I would think, ones ‘Blackness’ is not so much genetics, but how you carry what the world dumps on you. Similarly, the ‘so-called Jews’ you disparage have spilled a whole lotta blood defending their Jewishness, not running away from it. That, to me, earns you the right to call yourself a Jew.

    But I’m not most Jews. You mention — again disparagingly of Israeli Jews — “why are Black Jews from Ethiopia forced to “convert” in order to be recognized by the state of Israel?” Ronnie, you cannot fully comprehend this as a simple race equation.

    First of all, the Israeli government is parliamentary. It’s made up of dozens and dozens of political parties that must be cobbled together to form a government. So if the centrist parties like Labor and Likud want to stay in power, the have to court the lunatic fringe religious parties, who impose all kinds of kooky, extremist policies.

    To the orthodox Jews, you’re only considered Jewish if your Mother is Jewish, or if she converts. So the Law of Return reflects that. So when the Israeli government recognizes a far-flung group as Jewish, that doesn’t necessarily satisfy the Rabbis if they cant prove some kinds of links. So the conversion process is a legal formality to make the group eligible to return.

    It’s not white supremacist. It’s not about Europeans judging Africans. It’s happened with groups in Russia, in India and elsewhere. It’s about the intricacies of religion and law. And I’m not defending that bullshit either. To the Israeli rabbinate, my half-sisters aren’t Jewish because their mother isn’t. What I’m saying is that you are trying to view the world through a lens that simply doesn’t give you enough perspective.

    Nobody is playing fast and loose with descriptive terms. If anything, you are playing semantic games to make Jews seem more suspect: “You guys aren’t really Semites.” “You fake Jews forced the original Hebrews to convert.”

    Oh, knock it off.

    Respectfully, I don’t think you’re in a position to disparage any Jew for his or her genetic lineage.

    And you don’t need all that extra shit to prove that many lighter skinned Israeli Jews or American Jews are racist. I know it. It’s a fucking travesty. It is the worst kind of hypocrisy. And a much bigger problem than Black-anti Jewish sentiment (Happy now, Ronnie? :-)

    And, as you will see in my next entry, the issue gets thornier when you’re both Jewish AND African-American…

  10. ronnie brown says:

    Dan,
    I have no interest in disparaging any Jew for his or her genetic lineage. What you call my “mystical, romantic, Black nationalist conjecture” and my “racialist interpretation of Jewish culture and history” is my PERSONAL expression of the historical and cultural gaps that all Africans displaced by the slave trade have been laboring under since my ancestors arrived on the shores!

    Surely we don’t need to engage in a pissing contest in regard to “paying dues”. We don’t have to justify our own collective histories…the record speaks for itself. Why would i be “dismissive” about any aspect about Jewish culture?…I’m just tryin’ to get some straight answers man!

    In fact, your quotes speak volumes:

    “But the world of Jews is much greater than what you and other Black Americans can see”

    “Judaism an African religion?…possibly”

    “The Ancient Hebrews from Africa?…also quite possible”

    “The Jews of the Biblical era dark-skinned?…i’d bet my life on it!”

    That’s more candor than any Jewish organization has cared to express since i’ve been old enough to question my own existence.

    You ask, who cares???…hell man, I CARE!, Black people care!…your religious/cultural tradition that you defend and TAKE FOR GRANTED is what Black folk have been agonizing to recover for ourselves for generations!

    So when i say that someone is playing “fast and loose” with terms, identities and histories, i’m not just flappin’ my gums; it’s important to me. Whether some white Jews are “converts” is important to me, determining an accurate definition of “Semite” is important to me, whether King Tut was Black is important me because people who are hostile to me and mine are using the historical record to attempt to “white” my people out of existence.

    YOU may be able to speak with conviction that “we are ALL descended from Africans”, but this white supremacist social order we presently labor under begs to differ.

    So, if my analysis is a lil’ heated, a lil’ narrow for your taste, my apologies, but i’m still operating at a deficit here…i’m just tryin’ to catch up.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The first and most important point here is that we are talking in generalities. I am only pointing out some general trends. All groups are divided and full of exceptions (even Black folks ;)

    By “elevation,” I was suggesting the general mobility of a people: economic, political, educational, cultural, regional, etc.

    My initial comments about elevation and sublimation were ambiguous. I wasn’t suggesting that Jews have sold out wholesale. Far from it. Let’s not use the term selling out. Let’s think of it as “taking advantage of opportunities, w/o being hindered by group affiliation). Again, I think many Jews have simply had the option to be individuals. As far as the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardics, that is a good question, especially here in L.A., where there are many of both groups.

    I was definitely NOT calling Jews sellouts. I was simply suggesting that comparing the “elevation” of Blacks and Jews suggests two different approaches on the broader level. In short, most Ashkenazi Jews can pass as Jewish or white, while Black folk can only be Black. But, as we have pointed out, this Blackness is in many ways a very proactive identity and not exclusively controlled by white supremacy and racism.

    Los Angeles is an interesting case on this subject, as many Jews in L.A. are Sephardic. Most are from Iran, and there are a lot of them. By their own assessments, they are often wealthy (and/or ambitious), educated, prejudiced, and don’t always fit in with other ethnic groups (including whites). I’m not sure

    Sephardic Jews in L.A. fit neatly into a particular model. Also, I don’t know much about the subject other than casual experience and talking with Persian friends.

    As for Black folks having a choice over Blackness, it is certainly true that discrimination, terror, and isolation were forced upon Black people. But the response to this situation very much a dynamic, willful, and empowering response. Black people have, in general, elevated on their own terms. And I guess it could be said that the ancient Jews did the same thing in Biblical times. They survived by maintaining their identity and that identity outlasted those “original” Jews.

    That said, I disagree about the Black people being the quintessential Americans. I think it doesn’t give enough credit to Black people. It defines them in terms of America, when in fact the diaspora is very much a part of it. I think the quintessence is in defying the country and staying true to something beyond both nationality and ethnicity. I think we often forget that Black people in the Western Hemisphere are a very multiethnic, multicultural people. I think that gets overlooked.

    I’m definitely looking forward to Part 3. Thanks again.

    _eric

  12. Anonymous says:

    This sentence got split:

    “I’m not sure Sephardic Jews in L.A. fit neatly into a particular model.”

    …which changes the meaning quite drastically.

    _eric

  13. Dan Charnas says:

    Ronnie & Eric:

    Alright, alright, I’ll calm down. All your points are well taken.

    It’s just that I’m not used to doing this Jew thing, and I’m all sensitive n’shit.

    First Israel, then the thing in the Voice. And wait till I tell you what I found in the South Bronx last week…

    Dan

  14. ronnie brown says:

    hostile?…i gotta right to be hostile! ;)

  15. Dan Charnas says:

    Ronnie:

    LOL!

    Get out of my head!

    I was just about to post this.

    D

  16. ronnie brown says:

    Dan,
    I know all…and see all! lolol :)

  17. beez says:

    I notice that all this discussion is taking place in terms of race and no one has mentioned the religious side of it.
    Isn’t it possible that some of this tension or whatever we are or aren’t calling it comes from black Americans being largely Christian and pasionately so and may be more suspicious of other religions than a less Christian group of Americans might be?

  18. Dan Charnas says:

    Beez:

    I refer you to my holy scripture above:

    Christian Retentions:
    West Africans were brought to a Christian country where they took on the religion of their slave masters. And while African-Americans much identified with the enslaved Hebrews of the Old Testament, many also inherited malignant Christian attitudes toward Jews as “Christ killers” and apostates.”

    And the tension also comes from the later alignment with Islam as well.

    Dan

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think the relationship between Latinos and Jews (particularly in Los Angeles) would be a good reference point for assessing some of the nuances of Christianity-based anti-semitism.

    _eric

  20. ronnie brown says:

    Dan,
    Let’s make sure we don’t lump the righteous intent of a religious faith with those who wish to “sanctify” their UNrighteousness in its name. Christianity and slaveholding are mutually EXCLUSIVE. I know of no Black religious tradition who promoted the notion of Jews as a COLLECTIVE being “Christ killers” and “aposates”…

  21. Dan Charnas says:

    Ronnie:

    Mais bien sur, most Christians don’t have “malignant” attitudes toward Jews.

    A True Christian wouldn’t. Neither would a True Muslim.

    Nor would a Jew partake in the oppression of another.

    I feel that the more one practices any religion with all ones heart, the more one is at One with the core of all faiths.

    A True Jew IS a True Muslim IS a True Christian, and so on…

    Dan

  22. josh says:

    Here’s an effort towards more dialogue you may be interested in: http://www.ljcv.org. Thanks for the post and provocative discussion.

  23. beez says:

    Just got to the chapter in Jeff Chiang’s “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” that deals with crumbling black-jewish relationships in the 80s (yeah I’m a slow reader) and thought of this here essay-in-progess.
    It made me wonder if there was lingering resentment amongst black people in the US that Jesse Jackson might have made president if it wasn’t for the Jewish vote leaving him after his racist comments?

    That book really is good though huh?

  24. Gangalee says:

    You mentioned something about the entertainment labels being owned by different people in 1993… well it’s 2005 now, and it seems like the shuffling has died down and…Bronfman is doing it hard!

    this is coming from a Black guy who’s named Ira Siwatu, formerly Ira Shaffer, who’s grandfather was run out of Mississippi as a child because his father inherited the land of his former master when he married his wife.

    You’re right though, it isn’t so much anti-Jew as much as it’s anti-white (and I’m sure you can understand those reasons), but there’s no need to downplay Jewish influence in the world, just as there’s no need for people to deny Black anti-semitism (which, as you already stated, has very little effect).

  25. Dan Charnas says:

    Gangalee:

    Thanks for the visit.

    I’m not sure that Bronfman — although I very much admire the guy (not for being Jewish, but for being a record man in the old fashioned sense of the term) — is “doing it hard.” Warner is having the most financial troubles of all the labels, frankly. Their IPO was stone cold.

    And even if he was, that doesn’t constitute “Jewish control” of anything, which is what a lot of Black folk would dearly like to believe, if only for the comfort of having one’s long-standing beliefs confirmed; an easy explanation that lets the true Powers That Be off the hook.

    The nature of Power in this world is more amorphous than ever. In the past, the message to power was “Pharoah, let my people go.” Now, as Adisa points out in quoting Saul Williams, it’s “My People, let Pharoah go.”

    In other words, the nature of power in a world where money, not brute force, is ascendant, money has the power to conquer via seduction rather than murder.

    And the closer we get to the money, the more we are all seduced. And no ethnic group or race has any more immunity than another to that seduction.

    Dan

  26. Gangalee says:

    I just posted on the #1 article, so I better do it here also.

    Funny how in your 1st article, Jews are pushing their power around. (Foxman insisting the Russell Simmons, the next man, denounce Farrakhan- what would make him think he could tell another man who to rate?) Then in this article, Jews don’t have power, and aren’t really the problem.

    Then you get into some technical, whiteboy, doublespeak about how Bronfman’s IPO isn’t doing well… Bronfman is rich enough to be rich for SEVERAL generations. I hear he’s the man behind sponsoring trips for Jews in Canada to goto Israel for free (yet, when I call, a Black man named after Jew slavemasters, I get “um…well…” not that I’d want to be on an airplane filled w/ Jews anywhere, much less headed for Israel). That takes an obscene amount of money.

    Think about this- what if Marcus Garvey were around today giving Black people free trips to Africa- you see the difference in power now?

    Even though Jews are persecuted, they’re allowed to get together in public, do things for each other, and even keep in touch with their cultural “homeland”. Do you know what happens when Black people try the same things? The difference is in power and money. Look at what’s being done with that power and money. Jews have a lot of power and money in certain industries that have a heavy Black population. Those industries, like entertainment and media, have a history of dissing Black people.

    Hell, even though Israel is on the other side of Africa, and much smaller, it’s still less expensive to go there than it is to go to western Africa.

  27. Dan Charnas says:

    Gangalee:

    For the record, I never said that Bronfman wasn’t rich, and I never said that there weren’t powerful Jews in the media biz.

    What I DID say is that just because there are rich and powerful Jews in the media doesn’t mean they “control” it, which seems to be the side you’re coming down on.

    Don’t want to be on a plane full of Jews, hunh? OK. I think I get it.

    Dan

  28. childoIsrael says:

    I thought this writing was pretty interesting. I read a few of the post here. Some I got, some not.

    Personally, I think blacks and jews are fasinated with one another. I believe this to be so because there is a spiritual connection. We watch each other and scratch our heads. I believe the jews and blacks are of the same people and we want to reconnect.

    I know there are blacks who are anti-semitic and jew who look down on blacks for whatever the reason.
    But I believe one day we will read Torah and trully see the familiarity of family.

    Is this far fetch? I know some think so but I read our connection in the scriptures. Where the jews have never lost themselves and their history, the “blacks” of the slave trade did. They are the lost tribes of Israel.

    Thanks for reading.

    childoIsrael

  29. Anonymous says:

    As far as these writers of books (black authors).IT is noted that jews had owned more slaves than white christians did,and also you have the ADL spying on black communities at one time here in America.You also have several tirbes in West Africa, East Africa&South; Africa,who have older and stronger ties to what westeners call judaism,LembaΒ Isreal for instance.so beeing decendants of West Africa, blacks in America have stronger ties to the original “jews” then they realy know.Remember todays EuroJews,( god) comes from Egypt, the moon god EL,hence “Elohim”.Shalom.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed your article. If you read in the Old Testament you can see reference to the northern tribe of Israel having its descendants sent to places where their ancestors knew not, a people from the north (Caucasian) perhaps would reign over them… a grim people who have no compassion for the young or the old… the weak or the strong… that does sound like many of the African-American connections… also both white Jews and black Jews alike both share many African features that is so mistakenly as Semitic

    Isaiah 33
    Distress and Help
    1 Woe to you, O destroyer,
    you who have not been destroyed!
    Woe to you, O traitor,
    you who have not been betrayed!
    When you stop destroying,
    you will be destroyed;
    when you stop betraying,
    you will be betrayed.
    2 O LORD, be gracious to us;
    we long for you.
    Be our strength every morning,
    our salvation in time of distress.

    3 At the thunder of your voice, the peoples flee;
    when you rise up, the nations scatter.

    4 Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts;
    like a swarm of locusts men pounce on it.

    5 The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.

    6 He will be the sure foundation for your times,
    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
    the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. [a]

    7 Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets;
    the envoys of peace weep bitterly.

    8 The highways are deserted,
    no travelers are on the roads.
    The treaty is broken,
    its witnesses [b] are despised,
    no one is respected.

    9 The land mourns [c] and wastes away,
    Lebanon is ashamed and withers;
    Sharon is like the Arabah,
    and Bashan and Carmel drop their leaves.

    10 “Now will I arise,” says the LORD.
    “Now will I be exalted;
    now will I be lifted up.

    11 You conceive chaff,
    you give birth to straw;
    your breath is a fire that consumes you.

    12 The peoples will be burned as if to lime;
    like cut thornbushes they will be set ablaze.”

    13 You who are far away, hear what I have done;
    you who are near, acknowledge my power!

    14 The sinners in Zion are terrified;
    trembling grips the godless:
    “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
    Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?”

    15 He who walks righteously
    and speaks what is right,
    who rejects gain from extortion
    and keeps his hand from accepting bribes,
    who stops his ears against plots of murder
    and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-

    16 this is the man who will dwell on the heights,
    whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
    His bread will be supplied,
    and water will not fail him.

    17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty
    and view a land that stretches afar.

    18 In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror:
    “Where is that chief officer?
    Where is the one who took the revenue?
    Where is the officer in charge of the towers?”

    19 You will see those arrogant people no more,
    those people of an obscure speech,
    with their strange, incomprehensible tongue.

    20 Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals;
    your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved;
    its stakes will never be pulled up,
    nor any of its ropes broken.

    21 There the LORD will be our Mighty One.
    It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.
    No galley with oars will ride them,
    no mighty ship will sail them.

    22 For the LORD is our judge,
    the LORD is our lawgiver,
    the LORD is our king;
    it is he who will save us.

    23 Your rigging hangs loose:
    The mast is not held secure,
    the sail is not spread.
    Then an abundance of spoils will be divided
    and even the lame will carry off plunder.

    24 No one living in Zion will say, “I am ill”;
    and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.

    sounds like slavery by a foreign people or perhaps even a foreign race because most languages from a particular racial group are fairly intellible to a meber of their race who is fluent in his/her native tounge. Also,

    Isaiah 51

    23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
    who said to you,
    ‘Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.’
    And you made your back like the ground,
    like a street to be walked over.”

    Isaiah 5

    26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,
    he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.
    Here they come,
    swiftly and speedily!

    27 Not one of them grows tired or stumbles,
    not one slumbers or sleeps;
    not a belt is loosened at the waist,
    not a sandal thong is broken.

    28 Their arrows are sharp,
    all their bows are strung;
    their horses’ hoofs seem like flint,
    their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.

    29 Their roar is like that of the lion,
    they roar like young lions;
    they growl as they seize their prey
    and carry it off with no one to rescue.

    30 In that day they will roar over it
    like the roaring of the sea.
    And if one looks at the land,
    he will see darkness and distress;
    even the light will be darkened by the clouds.

    Footnotes:

    Isaiah 13

    17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
    who do not care for silver
    and have no delight in gold.

    18 Their bows will strike down the young men;
    they will have no mercy on infants
    nor will they look with compassion on children.

    Many of these are Yahweh’s prediction of slavery for anicient Jews who were from the northern kingdom of Israel, and even the enslavement of African-Americans who are direct descendants of the Israelites… do I believe all African slaves brought hitherto the New World are Jewish by ancestry? No, I do not. But I am convinces by the ancient biblical texts that the Isralites being enslaved by a Caucasian race was predicted… the Medes and the Persians were and still are an ancient Caucasian people who inhabit Iran.

  31. Anonymous says:

    absolutely amazing that you can write so much and have obviously never, ever gone meaningfully into the jewish community.

    the inspiration from the hebrew bible, the torah, is the foundation for black survival in america.

    jewish people played a significant role in the forward progress of the civil rights movement. what did jewish people get in return? hatred.

    dr. king was a zionist. he understood that anti-zionism=anti-semtism.

    if black americans really want to free themselves from hatred, bigotry and oppression, one positive step would be to rid themselves of anti-semtism/anti israel sentiment.

    the black american who have done this are healthier and more succesful in life.

    in the human family, you cannot denigrate the children of israel and be successful.

    you cannot try to usurp the identity of who the children of israel are and be successful.

    jewish people, for a long time, come in all colors, all backgrounds…

    black, jewish, israeli, african…whatever human group: the only and highest answer is the soul.

  32. Anonymous says:

    This entire fucking paper gets my ass steaming. Racism, reverse racism, it’s only an ignoramus who tries to find a scape goat. There are ignorant white people who throw around the word “Nigger”, and there are ignorant black people who use that as an excuse for violence. End of story.

    And in the end, they are all idiots.

  33. Anonymous says:

    get a life Khazar

  34. HalleluYAH! The only connection I see with the white people you call jews and the so called blacks is the israelites of the bible. The jews have people believing that’s their history while some blacks still don’t know that’s it’s really theirs. Therefore,I challenge anyone to pubilicly come forward to try to prove me wrong…preferably in a huge public setting for all to witness. This is something that has to happen soon, why not now? Shalom,
    MarakaYAH

  35. HAZE.Visivo says:

    http://www.wdashistory.org/3.html

    This is the Radio Station my family started. My Uncle Bob risked his life.I grew up to produce and help many inner city youth Move on up. I never did it for profit. I was raised you can’t put a dollar sign on every damn thing. Break the Mold OyVey!

  36. CouscousNKugel says:

    Hey, this is a great and much-needed piece, but I really hope you read this comment because I think you missed a couple very key points:

    Jews and Blacks are not mutually exclusive. Neither are Jews and people Of Color in general (Blacks, Asians, Middle Easterners, Latinos, Native Americans, etc) mutually exclusive.

    I do not want to avoid the issue of White Jewish racial privilege. I think white people are socialized to constantly turn conversations on white privilege into something else as a way of maintaining our racial dominance and avoiding feelings of guilt, etc.

    But people do something very serious when they talk about Jews as white or say that Jews are white without specifying that they are talking about European/Ashkenazi Jews: they are making a racialized Jewish normativity that makes some people “more” Jewish than other Jews, namely that white/European Jews are somehow more legitimately Jewish than Mizrachi (Arab, Middle Eastern, Iranian, Berber, Kurdish, and North African), Latino, Sephardi, Indian, Chinese, Ethiopian, Ugandan, and other Jews.

    Jews Of Color exist and make up a huge portion of world Jewry!!!! Please, in the future, when you want to deconstruct white privilege that white Jews experience, do it in a way that doesn’t deny the existence of millions of people or makes them somehow “less” legitimately Jewish because they’re Of Color. The two are not mutually exclusive.

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Danifestos

The best of the blog, since 2005.

Minding My Own Business, Part One
Minding My Own Business, Part Two
Minding My Own Business, Part Three

My debut posts, rethinking what it means to write about hip-hop.

Blacks and Jews, Part One
Blacks and Jews, Part Two

An untouchable subject, touched.

White People, Get Over Yourselves
A video reaction to candidate Obama's "race speech"

America's Two Destinies
A marination on the legacy of 9-11

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