There is no anti-Black or anti-Ethiopian racism – we just dislike in the others what we dislike in ourselves


The clash we have been witnessing in Baltimore or Tel-Aviv has nothing to do with race.

How do I know that? I know it because I observe many groups in my own one-race Jewish community disliking each other. Almost every day I find reminders of such disliking in the news media. Here is a reminder from an article “Growing up Hasidic  – and racist” by Shaindy Urman in Forward:

In the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community I grew up in, racism is a common aspect of life. It is seen as necessary in order to maintain the separation from goyim, or gentiles, and uphold the status of chosen nation (and as Hasidim, chosen Jews). As young children, we were educated about the horrors of the gentiles, who were out to destroy the pious Jews. … As a young child I accepted what I was taught about the outside world without question.”

Thus the Hasidic community in general, of course not all of them, greatly dislikes the non-Jews of the same Caucasian race. Moreover, they dislike not only the gentiles – they dislike the non-Hasidic Jews as well. Why do they do this? – because they dislike or even hate the deviation from the norms of behavior in their own Torah interpretation. They hate it in their own midst and therefore they hate it in the others.

Probably, they consider the world outside their own isolated realm as a sort of Satan that tries to keep them from completing the responsibilities of Tikkun Olam (making the world a better place). In the Jewish religious tradition, Satan is the evil inclination to veer off the path of righteousness and faithfulness in God.

The Black community in the USA and Ethiopian community in Israel (of course, not everybody among American Blacks and Ethiopian Israelis) demand from us, the others in the society the following:

  • To have a set of rules for policing their communities different from the set of rules for policing the others in the society. What the others in the society may consider a crime punishable by the law, for example, burglarizing the stores and destroying the cars at the times of street demonstrations, the Black and Ethiopian communities may consider a misbehavior.
  • To have the others in the society appreciating and approving the traditions of their communities that are different from the traditions of the others in the society. For example, a lesser desire for getting a better education and training (that results in a much lower income) or a fatherless family with many children (that leads to a smart-street-type education) should be considered, they insist, a sort of community tradition.
  • To have the government supplementing their low-level incomes by taxpayers money through a set of elevated welfare provisions, such as payments for housing, food, education, and children care.

The others in the society do not like these demands and therefore do not like the demanders – not because of their race but rather because of their demands that are shaking the spiritual foundation of the society.

The majority in both countries cherish their spiritual foundation as a Judeo-Christian, Ten-Commandments-based one. Following the Torah/Bible fundamental concept that all humans are created Equal in the image and likeness of God,

  • We are treating everybody as equals in terms of creative opportunities – not in terms of anti-Judeo-Christian equal distribution of public wealth.
  • We appreciate the competitive diversity of traditions since this diversity may enrich our own traditions – however, this diversity have to enrich our traditions, not to replace or weaken them.
  • We prefer help to those who are in need through individual Mitzvah/Charity – not through forceful redistribution of wealth.

We apply all that to our everyday life – that is why we dislike what is going on in many Black and Ethiopian communities. Our feelings have nothing to do with racism – we are trying to treat those Black and Ethiopian communities in distress as we would treat ourselves.

From the latest news:

The leaders of a protest movement alleging systemic discrimination against the Ethiopian-Israeli community demanded on Sunday that the government improve education and housing for them, and set up ministerial committees to address Ethiopian needs – to be financially treated not like the rest of the society. They also demanded that charges against community members arrested at a recent riot in Tel Aviv be dropped – to be legally treated not like the rest of the society.

The same demands we can find in the latest news from the Black community of Baltimore.

Message to the demanders:

We dislike your demands. Our dislike is not racially based. We want to treat you as equals, as we treat ourselves.

From the latest news:

First Lady Michelle Obama in her graduation speech before African American audience emphasized not the opportunity for any race in the USA to reach any personal dreams, as she and her husband have done, but the race problems that are difficult or impossible to overcome:

The road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. … We have both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives. The folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety, the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores. The people at formal events who assumed we were the help. … And those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country, and I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day.

Message for Michelle Obama:

Yes, the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety they were indeed in fear – not because of a dark color of the street people but because the folks know the statistics – it is dangerous to cross those streets – please remember the statistics of black-on-black killings on South-Side Chicago streets.

Dear First Lady Michelle Obama, please treat everybody as equals, not as representing different races.

About Vladimir Minkov

Vladimir Minkov Ph.D. is a nuclear scientist, published author and writer. He is the co-author of "Nuclear Shadow Boxing", a scientific history of the nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and USA during the cold war and is the author of "The Jews and Their Role in Our World", which explores his personal journey to discovering Jewish identity. Having lost much of his family in the Holocaust and finding his search for spiritual development stifled in the Soviet Union, Vladimir migrated to the United States in the late 1970s.

Posted on May 12, 2015, in English-language posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dear Vladimir,

    I cannot recall a single episode of “racism” – meaning referring to an individual as inferior in somehow because of his belonging t a certain human race – in any of the Sources of Judaism- Torah;
    “racism” is much alien to Judaism (and in Christianity too, as a reflect supposedly); I personally don’t believe that Chassidim are racists; and if tomorrow (or today, or yesterday) an individual of different race shall be incorporated in the chassidic group, for any reason?

    Racism is much stupid, and as so is sawn by Torah and Halacha and their wise scholars, this does not prevent from anyone to choose to be stupid, but as so he will be regarded;

    Like

  2. Dear Adar,
    You are right. The Torah does not split people into different races – since God created everybody equal in His image and likeness. Rather, the Torah splits people into a sort of behavioral groups – those who are “GOOD” and those who are “BAD” or even “EVIL”.
    Among those who are in the category of evil are people who do not treat the others as they would like to be treated themselves.
    Unfortunately, the majority of Hasidim dislike and even hate people who behave not like them. I do not see it as stupidity; the stupid people are unable to assess properly what they are doing – the Hasidim are smart people and they know what they are doing.

    Like

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