America's Bizarre Ritualistic Scapegoating of Blacks Series Part 1
Why the white settler blames Blacks for antisemitism, homophobia, and everything under the sun
This is the first in an occasional series on America’s bizarre, ritualistic scapegoating of blacks so that the white settler might atone for his sins. If you’re not careful, if we may paraphrase Malcolm X, this sick culture will have you hating the oppressed and loving the ones who are doing the oppressing.
I’m Denise Young with Black Republic Media.
In his 1999 HBO Special, Bigger and Blacker, Chris Rock, around the 44-minute mark, paces, stops center-stage, and delivers:
“I ain’t never been in the barbershop and heard a bunch of brothers talking about Jews. Black people don’t hate Jews. Black people hate white people. We don’t have time to dice white people up into little groups.”
The joke is cerebral, though Rock’s delivery solicits the ha-ha rather than the ah-ha. Had the joke been allowed to breathe, like a just-uncorked bottle of wine, its complexities would have unfurled. Instead, Rock capped the joke with a funny but benign follow-up.
Black people, generally speaking, do not hate white people. There are still too many white Jesuses hanging in Black folks’ dining rooms and adorned in Black churches; unbridled forgiveness granted to white murderers of Black bodies seven minutes after their capture; investment of hope in yet another initiative whose underlying purpose is to persuade white folks that we are human and that they should like us; wholesale acceptance of representation, performative acts, and token gestures that pacify us emotionally rather than dispense tangible justice; and easy passes handed to passable white entertainers who want our rhythm but not our blues for anyone to really think that Black people hate white people.
I am not criticizing us. I am observing what may reflect Dr. Cleo Manago’s description of the trauma trance Black folks endure “when you are living in a society that literally is against your power, against your self-love.” Black folk want so badly for this country to turn itself around and recognize who we are versus who it concocted us to be to hide its origin as terrorists and hijackers of land and labor.
As one still studying history, I am unable to draw any evidence that suggests we are a hate-filled or hating people. As my fellow Black Republic Media colleague, Jon Jeter offers, “some say we don’t hate white people enough.”
So no, Rock’s joke is not about us hating white people. The punchline is us knowing who hates us, participating in and benefitting from our oppression—everyone who accesses whiteness via the construct of whiteness, and that includes Jews. That also includes Asians and Pacific Islanders. Hispanics/Latinos. Within these U.S. borders, white systems and institutions extend the hand of whiteness to almost any group willing to assimilate and slap the face of blackness after it snatches the bread from our lips.
In recent weeks, Kanye West and Kyrie Irving have been accused of antisemitism, preceded in the recent past by accusations of antisemitism hurled against Whoopi Goldberg, Nick Cannon, Marc Lamont Hill, Lupe Fiasco, and Ice Cube.
Kanye’s comments are problematic and jarring, and that’s only part of the issue with this controversy. His comment about Hitler and the Nazis is rightly considered despicable, but if white America, especially white liberals and Jews (liberal or not), can’t denounce the Nazis who preceded Hitler for three centuries on this continent, beginning with the shipping magnates, all the white settlers who squatted on land and committed mass murder to keep it, plantation/death camp owners, and every founding father, then the controversy is simply about a Black man that went rogue without white permission. Irami Osei-Frimpong, PhD philosophy student at the University of Georgia and podcast host of The Funky Academic, brilliantly explains:
“this idea that genocide is a uniquely German thing kind of degrades both the pre-genocidal impetus that was in America that allowed, that gave Hitler the kind of ideas and mechanisms to codify the degradation, and also degrades the abject atrocities that were chattel slavery. And what that means is that Black people in the United States now are forced, are mandated to learn that awful white genocidal maniacs have both sides. That’s a dance that white folks make Black folks dance. There are two sides to the situation…Black people are forced to participate in rituals that honor white genocidal maniacs.”
The specific white genocidal maniac that Osei-Frimpong speaks about in this quote is Andrew Jackson, one of America’s most celebrated war heroes and the seventh U.S. President. The horribly monstrous Jackson committed many gruesome crimes against Black and Indigenous humanity, including bombing a compound of 300 escaped slaves and freedmen—African men, women, and children—in Spanish Florida because the Seminoles refused to return them to the United States. Jackson, whose likeness is imprinted on the “In God We Trust” laden-$20 bill, was so revered that a historically black university was named in his honor. God only knows how many Black students have been forced to regard Jackson as “not all bad,” even though he took pleasure in exterminating their ancestors.
Here’s the deal and what the white settler is worried about: Kanye verbalized finding redeeming qualities in Hitler. What he did not verbalize but certainly is silent text after an invisible ellipsis is that of course, he can find redeeming qualities in Hitler because the United States obliges Black people to find white genocidal maniacs redeeming. The caveat is that we are not supposed to judge them as white genocidal maniacs or white CEOs of death camps and pedophile and sex trafficking enterprises, as in the case of Thomas Jefferson and countless others. Whatever we as Black folks think about Ye (and there’s a lot to untangle), it does not nullify the hypocrisy of America’s moral superiority nor the ability of white proxies to adopt that same moral superiority when convenient.
Kyrie’s simple act of Tweeting the link to the title of a movie determined to be antisemitic received more backlash from the Jewish community than Jeff Bezos’s offering and profiting from the sale of the movie via Amazon, his platform. Someone posted on social media that Bezos’s money allows him to be able to weather any storm. I quickly responded that the point is that it didn’t even drizzle in his region. Certainly, his money can work to pardon him from almost any situation, but Bezos’s status as a capitalist and an unfathomably rich white man is what safeguarded him from having to write a check, unlike Kyrie. Can you stand the rain? Bezos’s POV: What rain?
But Kyrie endured what has been described on social media as corporate buck-breaking. The list of things that Kyrie was mandated to do to continue his NBA career was so unreal that it provoked a meme in which the checklist of “must dos” included admitting that raisins in potato salad are delicious. It’s a joke, but not one meant to elicit a laugh but to highlight the ease with which the white settler and his proxies hand out racialized and cultural violations for Black folks, and in particular Black men. Infantilizing and punishing Black men are codified in this nation.
In addition, consider that this buck-breaking may not be entirely about his Tweeting a link to a movie. During the pandemic, Kyrie went off the liberal script, refusing to get the COVID vaccine, mandating him to miss some games. He didn’t acquiesce, even with Kevin Durant’s being sidelined with an injury. As with Kanye, whatever our personal opinions are about the pandemic and the vaccine, or whether we subscribe to the premise of the movie, none of it nullifies that the white man walked, and the black man got stalked.
It appears that Black folks who are highly visible and more often charged with antisemitism toil in media, entertainment, sports, and academia. Ironically (or not), these are all industries that systemically control the narrative of Black people by reinforcing anti-Black racism, propagating Black death, degeneracy, and destruction, and straining Black freedom to a fiber-less state of contentment with assimilation, filtered via white appeasement.
These industries exploit Black talent and labor, making billions off Black bodies and increasing white generational wealth. Our living conditions, poverty, and degradation serve as muse for their next great story of Black victimization and white saviordom. They normalize and celebrate pathology and pass it to our children packaged as family-friendly television or as a dope beat backing up misogynistic and misandrist lyrics.
Fact: these industries are largely occupied by Jews. For instance, Jews own 30 percent of NFL and NBA teams. Twenty-five percent of professors at Ivy League schools are Jewish. In entertainment, 20 percent of studio executives, managers, and talent agents are Jewish. Those percentages are disproportionate to the 2.4 percent Jewish population in the United States. And the percentages surpass the percentages of Black counterparts—if there are any—in these industries, particularly given that the Black population is almost seven times that of the Jewish population, at 14 percent.
But these percentages do not compete overall with the white settler. The United States is still very much a country of European imperialists who are experts in exploitation. No doubt, Black folk in these industries have legitimate grievances against their Jewish colleagues. The power(less) dynamic of the colonized, independent of anything else, assures this. Yet, it is the paradigm of the colonizer who wishes to colonize undisturbed, without having to admit that he is a white genocidal maniac, without granting restitution and repair to Black people, that helps to give credence to and rectify claims of antisemitism to the detriment of Blacks in these industries. The white settler will do anything to place in the distant background his physical, emotional, economic, political, and religious abuse of the Black collective, including faking moral outrage at antisemitism. It is collusion against Black people in the same way that liberal politicians collude against Black movements with the police and FBI, the deputized Klansmen.
Our righteous indignation to industry practices will garner “antisemitism” labels, we know. That, in my opinion, is not the telltale sign of the whiteness extended to and accepted by members of the Jewish community who wish to be in that echelon. It is that once they have accused us of antisemitism, the Jewish community enacts white supremacy tactics as punishment for those they deemed guilty of antisemitism.
The public humiliation, the suspensions, the donations to Jewish-focused charities, demanding that people lose their jobs and livelihood, the forced participation in Jewish cultural sensitivity, coerced apologies, the dropping of contracts, the infantilizing of Black adults, the paternalistic tone—are all akin to a plantation/death camp owner dragging a slave to the whipping post and publicly beating him. The whipping post beating satiates the terrorist’s barbaric appetite, but the objective of the public flogging is to deliver a visceral message to the colonized who are made to bear witness: this could be you if you dare defy massah. The Jewish community in this way mimics these white settler tactics to perfection.
History teaches us that this was not always the case, where Blacks and Jews were adversaries. This may have been when Jews were Jews, before they became white and ascended in class.
My colleague, Jon Jeter, will share his insight into this phenomenon, with “The Scapegoat: Why the White Settler Blames Blacks for Anti-Semitism, Homophobia, and Everything Under the Sun,” the first in an occasional series on America’s bizarre, ritualistic scapegoating of blacks so that the white settler might atone for his sins. If you’re not careful, if we may paraphrase Malcolm X, this sick culture will have you hating the oppressed and loving the ones who are doing the oppressing.
But before I cede the floor to Jon, I must co-sign Rock again. Black folks don’t have time to sub-group white people—those who continue to revel in Black death and this apartheid state. In the fight for our lives, liberation, and sovereignty, we will just lump them and all their proxies together.
I’m Denise Young, Black Republic Media.
This is Jon Jeter, for Black Republic Media.
As with most political matters, my introduction to “the Jews” was via my father, Cecil Nathaniel Jeter, the blue-black grandson of a slave, and a millwright at Indianapolis Chrysler, who did not, as the saying goes, suffer fools gladly. He loathed Henry Kissinger and whenever the warlord appeared on the evening news, my father would erupt in a fusillade of invective, calling him everything but a child of God, and referencing his Jewishness, although I can’t recall if he ever used any ethnic slurs.
Similarly, he sympathized with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, and voiced his displeasure with Jimmy Carter for pressuring his United Nations Ambassador, Andrew Young, to resign in 1979 simply for his back channel communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
But it would be a stretch to say that my old man was an anti-Semite. I don’t ever recall him gaslighting the Holocaust, or referring to Hitler as anything but a monster; he envied how close-knit the Jewish community was, and wished for African Americans the same level of solidarity; and he admired the ferocity of radical Jewish activists such as the civil rights lawyer William Kuntsler who defended the inmates involved in the Attica uprising, Assata Shakur, and activists with the American Indian Movement.
And then there was the matter of my father’s deep affection for our family’s Jewish pediatrician Dr. Bertram Roth, who overlooked it when my father couldn’t afford his health plan’ s copay. I remember Dr. Roth going so far as to scold his secretary for dunning my father about a past-due bill, explaining to her that he and “Mr. Jeter had an arrangement. ” Even as a child, I could sense my father’s respect for Dr. Roth. Sometimes the two men would laugh and banter on for fifteen minutes after Dr. Roth had finished looking me over, and I remember specifically one conversation when my father jokingly asked Dr. Roth when he was going to follow his white neighbors who had left the city for the suburbs, the unspoken subtext being the influx of blacks in the post civil rights generation who were buying homes in neighborhoods previously reserved for whites.
“ The house still works, Cecil” I remember him saying to my father with a knowing smile. “ I’ m not going anywhere. ”
I swear my father swooned like a schoolgirl.
All of which is to say that my father did not hate “the Jews” but rather he hated “some Jews” just as he hated “some Catholics” and “some Italians” and even, some African Americans.
Rabbi Joseph B. Glaser was of the same generation as my father and Dr. Roth:
Like my father, Howard Thurman was the grandson of a slave. Born in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1899, he was a preacher, theologian and prolific author In 1944, Thurman cofounded San Francisco’s Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, the first integrated interfaith religious congregation in the United States, and in 1953, he became the first black dean at a mostly white univesity, Boston University’s Marsh Chapel, the first black dean at a mostly white American university. One of his protegees was a young Martin Luther King, Jr., whose philosophy on nonviolence was greatly influenced by Thurman’s 1934 meeting with Mohatmas K. Gandhi.
While it was seldom said out loud, it was lost on absolutely no one in my father’s generation, or Rabbi Glaser’s, that blacks and Jews – many of them Communists– were thick as thieves during the New Deal and Civil Rights eras that democratized the state, and won for the working class a larger financial stake in the United States’ economy.
Why were African Americans and Jews the most radical actors of this nation’s most radical era? Both groups have vivid historical memories of suffering, ours at the hands of European settlers in the New World and Jews under the thumb of European mobs in the old.
As one illustrative example, a Ku Klux Klan-like outfit known as the “Black Hundreds,” was infamous for nighttime massacres targeting Jewish communities in tsarist Russia. In fact, the Yiddish word “pogrom” was invented by Russian Jews to specifically describe these assaults by the Black Hundreds). Alexander III’s ascension to the throne in 1881 escalated anti-Semitic violence, causing Russian Jews, including Professor Glaser’s grandfather–Rabbi Glaser’s father– to flee in droves for enclaves such as New York City. In 1934, a black Marxist organizer who studied at a Moscow school created by the Bolsheviks to train revolutionaries around the world, Harry Haywood, said to a mostly black crowd in Detroit:
“Here we have the same sort of race-inciting propaganda which was carried out by the Czarist regime in old Russia against the Jewish people. The Jews are also branded by the Czarist reactionaries as killers of Christian children, the blood of whom was used in the ceremonies. This slander against Jews was calculated to inflame the minds of the Russian (workers) toilers and to justify mass murder of the Jewish people. In this way, the Czarist reactionaries attempted to divert the attention of the (workers) toilers from the struggle against their common oppressors.”
Haywood was among a coterie of organizers with the Communist Party USA who helped to eventually exonerate the nine African American teenagers falsely convicted of sexually assaulting two white women aboard a train near Scottsboro, Alabama. Among his comrades in that struggle was a Jewish couple, Solomon Auerbacch and Ida Kleinman, who first shone a light on the “frame-up” with their reportage published in the Southern Worker newspaper, interviewing the boys’ families, revealing the young white women to be sex workers, and demanding an end to Jim Crow lynchings. Another Jewish radical who worked on the case was John Howard Lawson who went on to lead the Hollywood 10, a band of mostly Jewish scriptwriters who were jailed putatively for “subversive” activities which in reality included screenplays that depicted African Americans as noble in a campaign to shatter racial stereotypes.
And when a tax default in 1942 transferred ownership of the massive Shriners Temple to New York City, the mostly Jewish Clothing, Garment and Musicians union and a Jewish workers’ fraternal organization, the Workmen’s Circle, loaned Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia the money to convert the shuttered, Midtown rotunda into the City Center for Music and Drama, which would go on to house the New York City Opera Company. With a top ticket price of only two bucks–less than a third of what the Metropolitan Opera charged for an orchestra seat at the time–the City Opera Company was an innovator, hiring young American singers who had not yet achieved international reputations. One such artist was Todd Duncan, whose debut in September of 1945 was the first time a major opera company in the U.S. featured a black performer in a leading role. Four years later, the Harlem Renaissance composer, William Grant Still, premiered his play about the Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Troubled Island, representing the first time a grand opera written by an African American was produced by a major opera house.
Gestures like these help explain why African Americans were outspoken supporters of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed in 1951 for passing nuclear technology to the Soviet Union. Among them was an interracial couple, Robert Nemiroff and Lorraine Hansberry, who spent the day before the wedding picketing the Rosenbergs’ execution outside the federal courthouse in Chicago. Hansberry, who would go on to write the agonizing play, A Raisin in the Sun, was described as solemnly reciting her marriage vows, then retreating to a corner to sulk while others celebrated. She wrote later:
“We had come to a wedding. We had come to Chicago to lose ourselves in the Bridal Song. And then there were those moments when the news came. And we spoke of it quietly to one another—our voices soft under the discussion of where the cake would be placed and when the photographers would arrive. [. . .] Our voices above the champagne glasses, our eyes questioning one another between the fresh fragrant flowers in their gleaming pots on the coffee tables of the wedding house, festive flowers. The Chicago heat in the vast living room suddenly overpowering the senses, some grim terrible fire within suddenly making it more awful, more stifling—the desire to fling the glass into the flowers, to thrust one’s arms into the air and run out of the house screaming at (one’s) countrymen to come down out of the apartments, down from the houses, to get up from the television sets, from the dinner tables. [. . .] The bride sits a moment in a corner alone to herself—she thinks
And what shall I say to my children? And how shall I explain such a thing to them?”
The Rosenbergs’ two sons were adopted by the Jewish songwriter Abel Meeropol – who composed the anti-lynching dirge Strange Fruit, popularized by Billie Holliday –and his wife Anne. Before turning to a career in music, Meeropol was a high school English teacher in New York City and among his students was a young James Baldwin.
Less well-known is the role that an African American New York City social worker named Evelyn Williams played in the Meeropol’s adoption of the Rosenberg boys. Following the Rosenbergs’ execution, the state wanted to institutionalize the couple’s sons to prevent their radicalization by an adopted Jewish family sympathetic to the Rosenbergs, which the Meeropols most certainly were. As the lead investigator assigned to the boys’ case, Williams found herself pressured by her supervisor to uncover– or failing that manufacture– the signs of neglect that would provide child welfare authorities with the pretext to remand the boys to an orphanage. In her autobiography, she wrote:
“Before my investigation was complete Panken called me into his chambers and threatened to fire me if I did not follow that recommendation. I made a choice: to base my decision concerning my future recommendations for the children solely on my own investigative findings and the hell with the job.”
Williams would go on to earn a law degree and later defend the Black Liberation Army which included her niece, Joyce Chesimard, who the world would come to know as Assata Shakur.
As adults, the Rosenbergs’ sons would investigate the charges against their parents and conclude that their father might have conspired with his brother-in-law to pass nuclear secrets to the Russians but the information was not terribly useful, and at best, shaved the time it took the Soviet Union to manufacture the bomb from five to four years. In the worst case scenario, Ethel Rosenberg did nothing more than type up the stolen notes. None of that was of any real concern to the couple’s executioners, however. What was paramount to investors and their vassals in Washington D.C. was driving a wedge through the interracial coalition that was, at that time, giving them fits.
It’s important to understand that the question of the Jews’ racial identity was very much in question following the second World War; remember that Hitler targeted the Jews because he considered them nonwhite, and Communist, and that the architects of South African apartheid in 1948 debated the issue robustly before deciding to classify Jews as whites. With the horror of the Holocaust still in everyone’s rearview mirror, elites in the U.S. began to extend the racial contract to Jews, offering them the opportunity to enjoy the same privileges and protections as whites if only they would agree to unambiguously switch sides in the class war and participate in the white settlers’ subjugation of the Negro. Although most Jewish organizations protested the Rosenbergs’ conviction, others – most notably the American Jewish Committee – endorsed the verdict in a tacit acknowledgement of the deal they were being offered.
By no means did all Jews agree to this deal –indeed Howard Zinn was a keeper of the radical faith until the day he died of a heart attack in 2010 as was the attorney William Kunstler, Schwerner, and Goodman, Martin Luther King’s attorney, Stanley Levison, a University of Chicago student named Bernie Sanders, Rabbi Glaser and many others –but it is no accident that the neoconservative movement that flourished in the 1980s was led by Jewish intellectuals such as Nathan Glazer, Milton Himmelfarb, Irving Kristol, Elliot Cohen, Hannah Arendt, Daniel Bell, and perhaps most importantly, the libertarian economist Milton Friedman, who first came to prominence for rushing to the aid of white parents traumatized by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 desegregation ruling in Brown vs. the Board of Education.
By proposing a voucher system that remains the template for school privatization, Friedman’s ultimate goal was to offload the cost of public education to working-class parents, and chillingly, discourage the poor from having children as part of a eugenics plot, as the scholar Nancy MacLean explained in a 2021 paper entitled “How Milton Friedman Exploited White Supremacy to Privatize Education,” .
The black/Jewish coalition reached its breaking point in 1968, however, when African American and Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn’s Ocean Hill and Brownsville neighborhoods proposed that they assume the responsibility for managing their children’s public schools. Influenced by Malcolm’s pedagogy of self-reliance, the takeover plan merely acknowledged the failure of white administrators and educators to imbue black and brown students with either the knowledge, or the confidence they would need to succeed. More than a decade after the Supreme Court’s desegregation order, New York City’s schools were more segregated than ever, test scores were abysmal, dropout rates high, and classrooms overcrowded. And so it seemed only fair to parents in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district that if the largely white schools bureaucracy couldn’t meet the needs of their children, they should do it themselves. With support from Mayor John Lindsay and the Ford Foundation, organizers pitched the idea to New York City’s Board of Education, which signed off on the pilot project in July of 1967.
Nearly a year later on May 9, 1968, a 38-year-old science teacher at Junior High School 271 in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville district, Fred Nauman, was a few minutes into his first class when he was summoned to the principal’s office, where he was handed an envelope. It read:
The Governing Board of the Ocean Hill–Brownsville Demonstration School District has voted to end your employment in the schools of this District. This action was taken on the recommendation of the Personnel Committee. This termination of employment is to take effect immediately.
In the event you wish to question this action, the Governing Board will receive you on Friday, May 10, 1968, at 6:00 P.M., at Intermediate School 55, 2021 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, New York.
You will report Friday morning to Personnel, 110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, for reassignment. Sincerely,
Rev. C. Herbert Oliver, Chairman Ocean Hill–Brownsville Governing Board
Rhody A. McCoy Unit Administrator
A German Jew who arrived in New York with his parents on the eve of World War II, Nauman was one of 19 teachers and administrators who had received the reassignment notice. He was also a chairman for the United Federation of Teachers, or UFT, representing 55,000 public school teachers, a good many of them Jewish. Signing its first union contract in 1961, the UFT was the successor to the more radical Teachers’ Union, which had been destroyed in the 1950s by the same communist witch hunts that jailed the Hollywood 10 and murdered the Rosenbergs.
Narrowly interpreting community control as a challenge to their rights won by negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with the city, union leaders such as Nauman and UFT President Albert Shanker, also Jewish, followed Friedman’s lead in objecting to the governing board’s choices for principals in the Ocean Hill–Brownsville schools, opposing changes in the curriculum to reflect the students’ African heritage, and insisting that the community did not have the right to reassign uninspired, underperforming teachers. According to Jerald Podair, in his marvelous account, The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites and the Ocean Hill – Brownsville Crisis, the project’s African American superintendent, Rhody McCoy
“had begged union leaders to be more flexible. They wouldn’t listen. He had told Nauman and his colleagues that this was an experiment in community control, and if this did not mean control over personnel, finances, and curriculum, what did it mean? They didn’t understand. The union seemed to go out of its way to throw bureaucratic impediments at him. He was trying to be reasonable, but the white teachers wouldn’t meet him halfway. It was as if they didn’t respect him. Perhaps that was it. He didn’t have ‘‘proper credentials.’’ Most of the sixteen members of the local board were women; many were on welfare. Nauman and the union didn’t think they were ‘‘professional’’ enough. Or, maybe they just weren’t white enough, perhaps that was the problem. In any case, a few days before, McCoy and the local board had decided to do something about it. They had met and made a list of the educators in the district who were the most hostile to community control. Nauman was one of them . . .
When the teachers tried to return to their classrooms, they were blocked by hundreds of community residents. On May 15, 300 police officers escorted the teachers back to schools, breaking the blockade until the schools reopened in the fall of 1968. The UFT led a series of citywide strikes, shutting down New York’s public schools for 36 days. The strike ended in November of 1968 when the New York State Education Commissioner took control of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville district and reinstated the dismissed teachers. The damage, however, was lasting. With Jews charging anti-Semitism and blacks countering with charges of racism, the vanguard of the workers movement that had begun to dig the nation out of a deep hole almost 40 years earlier was irrevocably split.
How we got Here: