On Jewish Racism

The hottest item in my inbox, is this Max Blumenthal video of some drunken Jewish kids spewing venom at Obama. I think I'm supposed to be outraged by the footage, presumably because Jewish kids don't get to be racist.

For what it's worth, on a very visceral level, what I see is a bunch of drunk racist white kids, doing what I'd expect a bunch of drunk racist white kids to do. I don't really have "higher expectations" because of the particulars of the Jewish experience, anymore than I have "higher expectations" for  Irish-Americans due to the oppresive immigrant experience of their ancestors. Nor, when it comes to, say, homophobia or nativism, do I have "higher expectations" for blacks because of segregation and Jim Crow. (Though I do have higher hopes, mostly because I'm black and I want us to represent.)

Oppression corrupts, just as often as it ennobles. Perhaps more often.

I understand that a lot of Jewish cats, have a special inside/outside relationship with whiteness, and so maybe this is unduly harsh. But the black perspective, is pretty much the Chris Rock perspective--white ethnicity just hasn't meant much to us outside of the Northeast.

But the greater point about this style of "journalism," is made by this headline which I came across--"Drunk Americans=Israeli Public Opinion." Man listen, hand me a fifth of Henny, a video camera, and an hour, and I'll show you Negroes claiming that God's messenger lives in a space-ship orbiting the earth.

The Henny is for me. The Negroes can be found, sober, saying anything. As can all people. That's the point. Bigotry is human. Why would the blacks and Jews be any different?

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In