Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Our 1960's

Today it's uncontroversial to denounce the racism of anti-African-American statements.  Yet two generations ago, discrimination and violence against Africans-Americans were common.  The easiest response was to ignore what was seen as a hopeless or uninteresting situation.  Yet some -- including many who were not personally being oppressed -- stood up to injustice.  These were labeled "radical," and were told their efforts were fruitless.  Yet, they prevailed -- in the face of atavistic, well-funded, outspoken, and sometimes brutal opposition. 

Today another group of people are fighting stereotypes and intolerance.  Only this time around, the discrimination isn't based on skin color -- it's based on Judaism.  Even as their cultural heritage and very existence are demeaned and attacked, Jews face the double challenge that many in the public do not recognize the racism of anti-Semitism.  Here's one way to remind ourselves: if Ms. Albahri had expressed her vehement hate against any other group of people (for example, African-Americans), could her words have been viewed so passively?  One we see the racism we must decide what our response will be.  The short-term "easy" choice is to shrug it off as "not my problem."

But this nation can only justly be called the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" if we stand up for all who [are] oppressed -- whether or not we personally are affected.   UCSD can take a pivotal role in educating the public and helping Jews fight for a voice and a haven.  It's time to hold Jumanah accountable for her words, investigate the anti-Semitism of the UCSD MSA, and take a lead in the struggle of our time.  Many of us were not alive during the 1960s, but today we have our own chance to fight racism.  Our opposition is more widespread, bank-rolled, violent, and well-established than even MLK's was, but we can do it!

It's time for all of us, Jews and non-Jews, to recognize and denounce the racism of anti-Semitism and defend those struggling for equality today. 

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