I’m not sure I’m actually ready to write about the links that I’m about to post. I think it’s an issue that most Jews have thought about, if not extensively. But to put it into words is a lot tougher.
What I’m talking about is Black-Jewish relations.
The blog, We Are Respectable Negroes, has started a Black-Jewish dialogue with help from Bethlehem Shoals and Dr. LawyerIndianChief (who mentioned the title of this post in his original piece), from the basketball blog which I so often refer to, FreeDarko.
While I said that I don’t know what I have to say about the subject, I can comment on what I read from them. What I found so interesting about the two posts is that they did not focus (especially DeVega) so much on how much the two groups have in common, but rather, they talked about how unsimilar we are.
There is so much effort to try to show the common grounds between the Black and Jews as a response to the racism/anti-Semitism that gets shot back in forth between the two.
But really, it’s a fabrication. Do Jews and Blacks actually have things in common that other people can’t relate to? Sure we have been persecuted in the past. But in my day to day thoughts and doings, I don’t think about how much I have been persecuted over the past 3000 years.
That does not mean that we as Jews should hate Blacks. On the contrary. If there is anything we have in common it is that we can understand what it means to be treated with disrespect (even if we don’t think about it on a day to day basis).
For the most part, we’re the same. But that isn’t a Black-Jewish thing. That’s a humanity thing. Jewish pride and Black pride is the same thing as any group or ethnicity feeling pride for themselves.
DeVega references a time when he was 10 where a Jewish kid in his class called him the N-word, the only time he was called that in his entire life.
He then mentions that he was totally in love with three Jewish girls when he was in high school. Where he is confused is how he reconciles both of these stories.
What I would say to him is: Don’t. You can’t reconcile those two stories. Just because your racist elementary school peer and the cute high school girl are proud of the same things and probably associate themselves with the same people, Israel, etc., it does not mean they speak for each other.
Just like Tyra Banks (sorry to use the most stereotypical famous Black woman) doesn’t speak for the Black man who tried to mess with me on the street just because I was white. They are both proud Black people but their actions speak differently than their beliefs.
That’s where the common ground is. Understanding that no one individual speaks for an entire group, whether they have some positive to say or negative. Dialogue can help understand the other side, but then again, Dr. LIC and Shoals don’t speak for me, nor would they want to.
…and I thought I didn’t have anything to say on the subject.