This happened to me yesterday. A young person interested in journalism asked me for advice about becoming a columnist. We sat down to talk things through. How did one pitch a subject to a commissioning editor? What process did I go through to think of a topic to write about? Who else other than The Times did I write for? The Jewish Chronicle, I told him. But that was much less frequent and at £X per column did not amount to a substantial proportion of my income though – I added quickly (imagining his circumstances) – I should not be so blasé.
And this is what he then said. “It’s not surprising is it? I mean, they’re notoriously tight-fisted.” Eh? What was that? “They”? He might as well have produced a platypus from his trousers. So, astonished and hoping I might have misinterpreted him but fearing that I had not, I checked. “Who is tight-fisted?” And he replied, in a mildly baffled voice, “Jews. They’re known to be stingy and miserly with money.” If my face registered my feelings it must have been quite a sight. “Are you serious?” I asked. “It’s what everyone says,” he protested. “It’s well known.” Not trusting myself to any further conversation and needing to calm down I sent him away. Later he returned to apologise. He had not meant, he told me, to be in any way offensive. He was very sorry if he had been. And I could tell he had almost no idea of why I had reacted as I did. For him the sentiment that Jews were money-grubbing misers was not just commonplace, it appeared that he had never even heard it contradicted. Perhaps in his part of the country (rural East Anglia, I discovered) it was what everyone thought. But you might have expected a three year degree course at a new university to produce at least one challenge to this medieval stereotype.
He was not Jewish himself, but was he joking in some kind of installation-art offensive way? In our previous discussion there was no hint of a smile or a laugh, he had shown no inclination to be witty. If anything he was over-earnest.
I have little doubt that his prejudice was held out of naivete not malice. By way of evidence for this, it seemed not to have occurred to him that someone writing for the Jewish Chronicle and possessing a name like mine might actually be, in some sense or relationship, a bit Jewish. I don’t think that even if he had thought black people were, say, animalistic, he would have sat down with a black writer and talked about “them” having smaller brains. (There is, of course, a comedy in this since I may be one of the better known “Jewish” writers in Britain, making his choice of insultee an improbably bad one, as the fact of this column demonstrates.)
I hated him for a few minutes, and couldn’t bear the thought of exchanging another word with him, but then the “why” supplanted the “what”. And I thought about what it meant. The first observation I would make is that for him, and possibly his generation, the idea of giving offence is more important than holding a terrible idea. Thinking and saying a dreadful and damaging thing about Jews (or whoever) was less of a crime than making me feel offended by expressing it to me. ”I don’t care about being offended,” I told him, when he apologised. “I care about you being a racist”.
The second observation is the obvious one. Is that what they really think? I can’t get the moment and shock out of my head. After everything that has happened and that day – the day – that the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz was actually on the TV screens behind us, a young Briton tells me about our racial shortcomings.
Category Archives: Racism?
On Sunday, social media and pop culture news website Mashable jumped to report on the massive protest near the Washington Redskins stadium in Washington D.C.
The crowd, Mashable reported, was rallying to force the team to change its “racist” name. Mashable also helpfully included a photo of the big rally showing twelve whole people who were in attendance.
In her article, Mashable’s Laura Vito claimed that “more than 100 demonstrators” gathered a third of a mile from FedExField at a rally to change the name of the team. She also sonorously noted that “Sunday’s rally is just the latest in ongoing protests against the NFL team’s name.”
But Mashable chose a very unfortunate photo to affix to its tweet flogging Vito’s article. It was a photo that brought a lot of scoffing and rib-poking for the Mashable team.
The photo used to illustrate the tweet about Vito’s report showed only 12 protesters at the rally—two of them little kids.
This photo of a big 12 rally attendees brought the Twitter wags out in full force.
Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down with M. Andre Billeaudeaux who is the author of a new book entitled How the Redskins Got Their Name.
Obviously, the controversy over whether the NFL team’s name is racist is going to be a subject of debate for a long time to come.
I was on the fence as to whether the name was a racial slur. But after my interview with Andre, I came away completely convinced that those who view the name as being a derogatory slur against Native Americans truly lack an understanding of the history of the team as well as the history of the word “Redskin” itself.
The book is written as a children’s book, but it is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to really understand why the entire name controversy is bogus.
It would also be a particularly enlightening read for members of the Oneida Tribe who have been among the most vocal groups in their opposition to the use of the Redskin name for Washington’s football franchise.
As Billeaudeaux explains in the interview, the term “Redskin” was never intended to refer to then natural skin color of Native Americans at all, but rather refers to several tribes of Native Americans who adorned their skin with red paint for traditional purposes and before going into battle.
The Oneida are not one of these tribes so, in reality, they have absolutely no standing to protest the name.
As Billideaudeaux explained in a recent column:
“Clearly the Oneida are a separate “nation” from those who claim Redskin heritage and, per the opinion of Redskinned natives, have no say on the issue of the team’s name. It’s like the British (as a different nation) complaining or finding offense with the American NFL name “Patriot” – it’s not Britain’s business to complain about a team specific to our nation. Nor is it the Oneida “nation’s” business to complain about the Redskins “nation’s” name.”
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee turned to Twitter Thursday evening to slam the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for seemingly failing to congratulate Republicans Tim Scott and Mia Love on their historic midterm election wins Tuesday.
“Can we take a moment to understand how the @NAACP didn’t congratulate the first black person ever elected to both the House and Senate?” RNC deputy press secretary Raffi Williams tweeted, adding that the group is “failing the black community by only supporting Dems.”
The NAACP released a statement on the 2014 midterm elections Wednesday which failed to mention the historic wins of Love and Scott. Love is the first black Republican elected to Congress and Scott became the first black senator elected in the South since the Reconstruction-era.
A spokesperson for the NAACP declined to comment on the specific allegations, but [said] the group is a bipartisan organization that supports members of both parties.
NAACP is waiting for the OK from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, both dinosaurs whose usefulness ran out around 1975…
Race, class, and gender politics are not over, but maybe they are beginning to become just a bit stale.
Part of the progressive problem was the huge disconnect between assimilationist reality and tribal rhetoric. While the president went on the reprobate Al Sharpton’s radio show divisively to gin up the African-American bloc vote, Senator Scott was on the eve of winning an overwhelming Senate victory in South Carolina, with a supermajority that topped even veteran pol Lindsey Graham’s substantial margin of victory. In such a context, Mary Landrieu’s generic whines about gender and racial discrimination in the South are reduced to nonsense — likewise in a former state of the old Confederacy that had elected her twice as well as a governor of color.
In truth, race/class/gender politics have devolved into narcissistic tropes. Once a candidate becomes hooked on the tribal narcotic, then any slight interruption in supply causes hysterical withdrawal meltdown. We see that with Landrieu and also with the president, whose loyal activists have leveled an untenable charge against the American people: to the degree you vote twice for Obama you are exempted from charges of racism, at least until the moment you dare to examine his presidency on matters other than race and thus question his lack of performance.
In addition, in our sick political world, someone is supposedly authentically a “feminist” or an “African-American,” and their gender and race are essential not incidental to their characters, only to the degree they are leftists; otherwise they are either regressive or their race and gender are of no interest to the Left.
Again, that was an argument that voters simply are growing tired of. Perhaps at last the voters are beginning to deconstruct what the Democratic party has become.
Mia Love, who last night became the first female African American Republican elected to Congress, disputed what she felt was the implication from CNN hosts Michaela Pereira and John Berman that race and gender factored into her election.
“This has nothing do with race,” Love said. “Understand that Utahans have made a statement that they’re not interested in dividing Americans based on race or gender, that they want to make sure that they are electing people who are honest and who have integrity. …That’s really what made history here. Race, gender, had nothing to do with it.”
Pereira reiterated that their question was about why it had taken the GOP so long to elect a black woman, and what might need to happen for it to occur more often.
“In Saratoga Springs there are very few black residents,” Love replied. “I wasn’t elected because of the color of my skin, I wasn’t elected because of my gender. I was elected because of the solutions that I put at the table because I promised I would run a positive issues-oriented campaign and that’s what resonated.”
Mia is a class act.
Speaking to Roland Martin on a black-oriented radio program, News One for Black America, Michelle Obama engaged in racial stereotyping that would get a white politician excommunicated from decent society, while joking about her belief in her own status as food czar. Kristinn Taylor of Gateway Pundit transcribed the relevant portion of the interview:
Martin: So can we, if we go out to the polls, can we say, we have ‘souls to the polls’ on Sunday, can we do ‘soul food after we vote’?
Obama: Absolutely, I give everyone full permission to eat some fried chicken after they vote only after—if you haven’t voted…(laughter.)
Martin: Just checking!
Obama: You make a good point because I am, I do talk about health. But I think that a good victory for Democrats on Tuesday, you know, should be rewarded with some fried chicken.
Although clearly meant in humor, as humor often does, the exchange reveals what she really thinks: she does consider herself arbiter of what people can eat, and her condescending belief that she is in a position to grant black people the right to eat a food that is stereotypically identified with blacks. Perhaps she left out watermelon only because it is just about out of season now.
There used to be a vein of racist humor about black people, fried chicken, and Election Day. I had thought those days were gone. But the rules do not apply to Michelle Obama, apparently.
Democrats are using racial ads intended to stoke racial strife with images of Ferguson and Trayvon Martin
Eric Holder knew the “Hands Up – Don’t Shoot” meme was false on the day the scheme team was selling it. Eric Holder and President Obama knew the “execution style” shot to the head was false, on the day the scheme team was selling it.
Obama/Holder knew about the TWO SHOTS in the car, the Mike Brown blood on Officer Wilson, the injuries to Wilson, the gunshot wound to Big Mike’s hand, and Obama/Holder knew of the eight African American corroborating witness statements which supported Officer Wilson.
They knew all of this on 8/18/14 as they watched the Scheme Team on TV.
Yet what did they do to stop Ferguson Missouri from burning, looting and chaos?
Now ask yourself…. “WHY” ?
What was the benefit to Obama by watching events spiral out of control – yet knowing there is no factual basis for the underlying anger and outrage?
Seeing the DNC specifically use the manufactured Ferguson outrage as a political tool for the 2014 election – the motive behind the Obama strategic decision not to diminish the rage is crystal clear.
“I didn’t have any problems with anybody or any color, and all of a sudden it feels like we are being held responsible for something that’s not our fault,” Singen, 70, said as she left Faraci Pizza, a 46-year-old Ferguson business that has become a focal point of racial tension. “I don’t get it.”
That sense of shock is common here among Ferguson whites in the wake of 18-year-old Michael Brown’s death and the explosive protests in the days that followed.
Protests and arrests have continued in Ferguson and across the St. Louis area, though things have been less volatile than in the summer. On Saturday, black and white demonstrators bought tickets to a St. Louis Symphony performance and at intermission stood and sang “A Requiem for Mike Brown,” with mixed reaction from a stunned audience.