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Terrell J. Starr @Russian_Starr
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Hello, people. I want to talk about black people and anti-Semitism and I think so many black folk have a hard time grappling with it when it comes to Farrakhan and others.This column by @yumcoconutmilk is a good place to start.
forward.com/opinion/letter…
I've seen a lot of back and forth between black folks and Jewish people on this platform, some of whom are black Jewish people themselves. What I notice is that many black people do not have a good understanding of anti-Semitism and have little sympathy for its victims.
Comparatively, I see many Jewish folk with very real complaints about anti-Semitism from black public figures failing to realize how white supremacy complicates our relationship with very problematic figures. I'll try my best to explain in hopes this starts constructive dialogue.
Here's the thing: I do not think most of us have an understanding of what anti-Semitism really is. Barring some exceptions, we really do not learn about it growing up; I never heard black folk regularly discussing anti-Semitism. I get it. We have our own shit to deal with.
I think that America conditions all of us, not just black folk, to deal with just one binary at a time. With black people, white supremacy overwhelms us so much that there is little bandwidth to consider other folks' struggles.
As it pertains to Jewish folk, what complicates it is that many of us do not understand that being Jewish does not = the human rights abuses of the IDF and the state of Israel's policies towards Palestinians. Thus the knew jerk "what about Palestine?" responses I see so often.
Another problem is that, in America, Jewish people are pretty much white here, thus lack of understanding that their whiteness does not protect them from anti-Semitism. That you can be "white" and discriminated against is a mind fuck for a lot of folks. But it is true. You can.
Listen, fam. I didn't learn about anti-Semitism until I was in grad school when I took a class about Jewish people in Eastern Europe. Hitler killed millions of them, but Stalin purged hundreds of thousands. Read "Bloodlands" by Timothy @TimothyDSnyder to learn the history.
Here's the thing, I was 26-years-old when I learned about anti-Semitism. In grad school. Yes, I knew about the Holocaust, but I learned it as a historical event, but something that happens everyday. I doubt I am alone when it comes to that.
Twitter is a platform where everyone wants to be be so damn woke that they do not want to share their growth as people. I'll share mine: I knew nothing about anti-semitism growing up and I am still learning. I have A LOT to catch up on. So, I'll take you on my journey.
I am sharing all of this because, in order for black people to think in a non-binary about Jewish issues, we have to create bandwidth for struggles outside of our own. I do not think that is a lot to ask. And that starts with acknowledging what we do not know.
For example, I was in my 30s (I am 38) when I realized that black women have to deal with gender discrimination as well as racism. I learned that I cannot claim black liberation without challenging sexism and misogyny (words I learned on Twitter) in the black community.
For me, the toughest challenge was realizing that "white" people, Jewish folks, are a group that face discrimination. Many people will not acknowledge that ignorance, but, again, I am sure I am not alone in that journey. This is not an easy convo to have, fam. But we need to try.
My take on Farrakhan/others who share his views: he is a homophobic, misogynistic exploiter of black pain who also has a history of rehabilitating broken black men/ women. For a CERTAIN kind of black, Farrakhan is a hero. For others, he is abusive and hateful.
Here's another reality: My social circle are folk who are LGBTQ/Jewish people who am emotionally accountable to. I'd lose friends if I backed Farrakhan or any anti-semitic person in ANY WAY. Our social circles inform our social commitments and we need to transparent about that.
It is easy to bring up Palestine when someone wants to critique you about Farrakhan when you have a limited understanding of anti-Semitism. Or, when your excuses for him override others concerns over his hate.
You may not see it that way, but it's like claiming to love a pastor who saved your life, but not give a fuck about their anti-LGBTQ views. Telling a gay person the pastor's positive side is dismissive. Or, you can always be blunt and say you don't give a fuck. That works, too.
Anyway, I have to run. I wanted to open myself up about my journey to better understand anti-Semitism and how I have come to the conclusion that black people can, as a whole, learn to do better about understanding it. That's all.
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