‘Whiteness’: The New Evil

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
By Paul Martin

By Adrienne Skolnik
June 9, 2020

I was recently made aware of another social justice group with a very liberal view of racism. An issue of great interest to me. I listened to the diatribe carefully, and was disappointed with what boiled down to a rehash of progressive left group-think, buzz-words, and talking points. What really caught my attention was something I took as a warning – the group’s intention to extend their leadership impact into our Jewish community. It is my suggestion we vigorously resist these types of agendas, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my reasons why.

When I heard the phrases “Jews of Whiteness,” and “Jews of Color,” I took umbrage with these terms. I don’t think of myself as a Jew of Whiteness. This is Labeling (also known as Identity Politics) which creates divisiveness and hierarchy of power. Labeling in and of itself, is a divide and conquer technique, used to pit one group against the other. Making one group more important than the other, creates a competition which leads to victimization. Exactly what the progressive left agenda requires to succeed. By dividing us, their objective is to become more powerful.

I am blessed to have an adopted Ethiopian Jewish son. When I share that with people, some ask, “Is he black?” My response is, “I never noticed. He is a Jew.” If I ask him, “Describe yourself to me,” the first thing he will tell me is, “I am a Jew.” That simple. When I asked my son if he ever heard of, “Jews of Whiteness,” he asked, “What is that?” We couldn’t stop laughing. The Labeling of Jews of Whiteness and Jews of Color is creating the divisiveness and exclusivity that this social justice group perpetuates.

Throughout history, Jews were not persecuted because of their color. They were persecuted because they were “Jews.” Period. Yet, here we are dividing ourselves with the socialist group think that destroys the beauty of our cultural history. This is cultural self-destruction. We don’t need anyone else to destroy us when we can do it from within.

To prove color doesn’t matter is to better understand the history of the Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) and the persecution they suffered. From centuries of massacres, religious persecution, enslavement, no education, forced baptism, choosing suicide rather than conversion, being denied the right to own land, escaping from missionaries ending in starvation and death, under Fascist rule being forbidden to practice their Judaism and during the Communist Mengistu regime, Ethiopian Jews were persecuted, jailed and killed. Thousands died escaping into the Sudan desert from rebels shooting them or starvation. My adopted son’s father was put in jail for a year for helping his fellow Jews escape. Fascism, Communism, Socialism, never ends well for Jews.

Another way to prove color doesn’t matter is to look at the hateful anti-Semitic labels, Ethiopian non-Jews give to the Beta Israel. Derogatory and demeaning Labels like Buda, which means, “People who eat people and power of the evil eye.” And Falasha, which means:“Outsider.”

And lest we forget, “The festival of Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot to destroy and annihilate all the Jews in a single day.” Were they Jews of Whiteness or Jews of Color? Did it matter?

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