Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

More on Racially Profiling Whites

14 Aug

A friend (who I’m lucky to know because he’s so much smarter than me) commented my my post “Why Don’t We Racially Profile Whites?” pointing out that there is a white racial profile.

The white racial profile is the other side of the story of the way people of color are profiled. So, for instance, where welfare is concerned, Blacks are undeserving entitlement junkies, but whites are deserving needy people facing temporary setbacks, and that’s just among those who are able to put “white” and “welfare” together at all. Some would say whites are profiled as over-burdened taxpayers subsidizing freeloaders.

Youth of color who experiment with drugs are profiled as dangerous addicts, while white youth are just going through a rebellious phase. And while Blacks and Latinos are profiled as criminals, whites are profiled as innocents. In fact, where property crime is concerned, whites are profiled as victims. They are the ones who worked hard to have what we Others want but don’t deserve, while our supposed criminal natures make us prone to turning wanting into stealing.

And because Blacks and Latinos are profiled as undeserving, over-entitled whiners while whites are profiled as deserving patriots, that fear of violation of white property rights turns easily towards resentment against whole communities. That seething resentment might just explain the proliferation of Stand Your Ground Laws.

But here’s where the irrationality goes over the top.

At the end of the Civil War, whites created the Ku Klux Klan in Tennessee. It was supposed to be a club for former Confederate soldiers but quickly became a movement devoted to upholding white supremacy. The Klan quickly spread across the former Confederate states and played a critical role in ending Reconstruction. Yet, Southern law enforcement colluded with the Klan more than it opposed it.

In the mid-20th century, whites formed White Citizens Councils, often with overlapping memberships with the Klan. These Councils included elected officials and community leaders. Around that time, whites also created the Posse Comitatus, a white supremacist movement organized like the KKK, but inspired by European Nazism. Whites organized the Christian Identity movement, a white supremacist religious sect who believe, among other things, that people of color are subhuman mud people.

White people also founded the Aryan Nations, originally based on a compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Aryan Nations is a national center of Christian Identity and home to the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, and also served as a training ground for violent neo-Nazi skinheads.

The core membership of the neo-Nazi skinhead movement of the ’80s and ’90s was alienated middle-class white kids. Racist skinheads were the terrorist arm of a much more sophisticated racist movement guided by professional neo-Nazi activists like Tom Metzger. Metzger’s White Aryan Resistance was sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for involvement in the murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw.

The most famous domestic terrorist group of the 1980s was the Order. The Order was inspired by William Pierce‘s novel The Turner Diaries, a racist and anti-Semitic manifesto that closes with enemies of the white race strung up on light posts with piano wire.

The Order was responsible for the murder of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-radio host in Denver. They also started a counterfeiting operation and pulled off the biggest armored truck hold up until that time, taking $3.6 million that they spent on weapons, paramilitary training camps, and material aid to allies.

I probably don’t need to tell you that the Order was all-white.

And, of course, it was whites who created the violently anti-immigrant Minutemen border vigilantes and the currently insurgent white nationalist Patriot movement.

But in spite of this long history, are white racists profiled as potential criminals or domestic terrorists? No. When whites form groups for the promotion of white-only interests, does the public grow suspicious? Rarely. And when young white males gather in groups, does law enforcement see a gang or a college fraternity?

My friend is right. There’s a racial profile for whites. That profile assumes innocence and deflects suspicion and is every bit as wrong as the racial profiles that target people of color as violent political dissidents, gang members, and criminals.

This is paradox for the echo chamber. Let’s call it out.

My First Seder

19 Apr

What you make of liberation, that is the trick. Can you, unshackled, set someone else free?

– from “exodus and after” by Cynthia Greenberg.

I just attended my first Passover Seder.  For those, like me, who are new to this tradition, Seder is a gathering of remembrance of the Jewish story of liberation from slavery.  I’m 50.  One is not supposed to be a racial justice advocate attending his first Seder at 50!

I did once “observe” a Seder in Portland, Oregon circa 1991. It took place on the anniversary of the murder of an Ethiopian man named Mulugeta Seraw by neo-Nazi skinheads .  The setting was a shallow gully in a park chosen because it had been a site of frequent hate crimes.  I didn’t actually see much of the Seder. I mostly looked across and over it to the other side of the gully because I was there with other non-Jewish members of the community who were acting as security.

I have only a vague memory of that Seder in ’91, but share the experience, not to excuse my ignorance of Seder, but as a reminder that the struggle against anti-Semitism is by no means over.

On a walk with one of the hosts in the few hours before the Seder, I admitted with some embarrassment that I’d never attended one and wasn’t sure of the details of the ceremony. He leaned in and said: “what you should know about Seder is that it’s not just about the liberation of the Jews from slavery. It is also about the fact that once freed, the Jews never reached the promised land.” 

You see, to him, Seder is not just a ceremony meant to moor Jews to their history of slavery and liberation. It also acknowledges that the journey toward justice is never ending. Liberation is ours, but justice? It lies just ahead. Keep on.

This notion of keeping on will stay with me long after the details of the evening have been lost to time.  After all, few people have suffered as have Jews.  Their endurance in the face of centuries of persecution stands as one of the great testaments to human endurance and grace.

For me, in my work, it serves as a source of much needed inspiration. After all, struggling against racism is no doubt a life long commitment.  Racism is a defining feature of our society.  Our Constitution and the Federalist compromise were designed to ensure the perpetuation of slavery.  We are a society whose founding document, filled as it is with language about freedom and liberty, was written by men who owned slaves, regarded Native Americans as subhuman savages, and refused suffrage to women. The founders were the initiators of a thousand lies that have been told and retold for hundreds years to the point of being accepted as truth within the bounds of the culture they birthed, and all to justify what they’d done.

The seemingly impossible exodus from Egypt, Moses’s great sacrifice, and the journey toward the promised land lends perspective to what can sometimes feel like an impossible uphill struggle to win racial justice.

So this Seder will not be my last. I was moved and made hopeful, not just by the Jews’ great accomplishment, but by how much we hold in common. Maybe that was the most heartening aspect of it for me.

Racism, and all bigotries, is in a way like a Chinese finger puzzle. The more those who are captured by it attempt to pull away from one another, the tighter the grip of the trap. But if we do what is least intuitive to us and push toward one another, the trap releases, and we are freed.

How To Recognize A Racist: A Note To The National Review

12 Apr

Surprise! The National Review is firing another writer for racism.

According to National Review editor Rich Lowry,

“Unbeknowst to us, occasional Phi Beta Cons contributor Robert Weissberg (whose book was published a few years ago by Transaction) participated in an American Renaissance conference where he delivered a noxious talk about the future of white nationalism. He will no longer be posting here. Thanks to those who brought it to our attention.”

The speech happened last month, and Lowry needed someone to bring this to his attention?  Sounds like the National Review needs a little lesson in recognizing racism.

So, here’s one way you know someone is a racist.

First, do a Google search of his name.  The heading of the first hit?  “Racist Prof Who Gave Blacks Low Grades.” No real story is attached to that hit so who knows what that’s really all about. But in a racism hunt, a hit like that ought to get you looking further.

Next, I went to that obscure compendium of knowledge called Wikipedia and found that Weissberg is the author of a book called Pernicious Tolerance: How Teaching to “Accept Differences” Undermines Civil Society, published in 2008.

The book description on Amazon opens with the following:

“Recent decades have seen a consistent effort by the American educational establishment to instruct schoolchildren about the importance of “appreciating differences,” all in the name of “tolerance,” so as to quell burgeoning “hate.” In Pernicious Tolerance, Robert Weissberg argues that educators’ endless obsession with homophobia, sexism, racism, and other alleged hateful disorders is part of a much larger ongoing radical ideological quest to transform America, by first capturing education.”

Of course, I’m not wasting my time going to the library for that particular tome, so maybe that’s not substantive enough evidence.

Back to Google.  A quick scroll down the page of hits took me to an article by Mr. Weissberg published in 2010 in Alternative RightThe article featured this cute little graphic:

Truth in Advertising

What’s written suggests that government is obsessed with imposing “‘diversity’ on a reluctant public” and describes diversity education as a “liver-and-cauliflower diet.” Don’t want to eat it? Government power will play “daddy” and “jam it down your throat!

If nothing else, I’m glad I’m not this man’s son.

Anyway, so this search for clues isn’t so hard, right?  Did I just say “hard right?” Sorry, Freudian slip.

But, I admit, these are mostly covert expressions of bigotry, and that’s National Review’s speciality, so maybe a little hard to recognize.

But then, wait a sec, didn’t National Review figure out the guy is a racist because of a speech he made at an American Renaissance (AR) conference?

I figured, a look at the AR website might yield something.

It turns out that Mr. Weissberg gave a major speech at AR’s 2000 conference.

According to the AR website, he spoke about how Jews have supported Black causes in spite of privately harboring fear and dislike of Black people. Only Israel, he argued, receives more support than Black causes like the NAACP, and Jewish support for Israel has contributed to what AR paraphrases as “an increase in sometimes violent Black anti-Semitism, and unceasing attacks on Jews by Black leaders.” 

The site further paraphrases the speech, writing, “Jews fear Black crime and violence, and loathe Black ineptitude and sloth. Jewish academics resent the price they pay for affirmative action and are repelled by the Afrocentric “scholars” who are now their colleagues. Jews are the first to move away when a neighborhood changes, and do not socialize or intermarry with Blacks.”

So why, according to Weissberg, do they continue to support Black causes?  Because they fear the anti-Semitism of white Gentiles even more.

However, he is paraphrased as saying, “Jews are increasingly disenchanted with both liberalism and neutered conservatism, and are increasingly open to racial appeals so long as they are free of anti-Semitism.”

Okay, here is a ginormous 12-year-old clue that the guy is a racist. He’s speaking of the attitudes of Jews, and Jewish academics in particular are mentioned. What is Robert Weissberg? A Jewish academic.

I’m not saying, as he apparently did, that Jews are generally racist. Quite the contrary. I’m suggesting he’s talking about himself. And his 2000 speech? Essentially a guide to getting Jews to respond to racial appeals.

So, I thought, these American Renaissance guys are a**holes. Gotta look into that. And you know what I found?

American Renaissance is an openly racialist magazine published by the New Century Foundation, a group that receives significant funding from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group.”

That took me, a guy sitting at a laptop computer in a home office 25 minutes to find out. But I’m giving National Review a break. It’s gotta be tough for National Review, a publication founded by a man who in the 1950s went against civil rights because he believed that whites were the more advanced race, to hunt down a racist without trapping themselves.

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