It’s the big bagel and lox, I mean elephant, in the room–the Black/Jewish relationship.
When talking with a couple of friends who are black about starting this blog, that very topic came up. Things would start out positive enough. I am Jewish, and we’d share that both of our people knew oppression–Slavery, and the Holocaust. We’d talk about the many Jewish people who were engaged in the Civil Rights Movement, including work on the Voting Rights Act.
But then things would get dicey. I’d listen to talk about Jewish retailers owning stores in black neighborhoods, not paying their black employees well, not keeping the money in the black community. I’d hear about the Jews controlling Hollywood, the media, the entire entertainment industry. It seemed as if all Jewish people were being made out to be evil; exploitive.
I have always been awful at thinking on my feet and being able to talk through conflict, but I think I at least managed to say that it seemed like general, stereotyping comments were being made about Jews as a whole (I know, just like the many general, steroptyping comments made on a daily basis about Black people–some I’ve even made here on this blog, right?:). I think one of the friends remarked these were simply facts, not opinion, and that he trusted Jewish people as individuals, but not as a group. He would have to elaborate on that, though.
I know this is only the tip of the rugelach, and there will be more to come on the Jewish/Black relationship, but we have to start somewhere.
Jews and Blacks: Discuss.