Atlantic writer and former ESPN host Jemele Hill, has admitted that the sort of anti-Semitism seen in Eagles player DeSean Jackson’s social media posts reveal an insensitivity to the persecution of others, within the black community.
In an op-ed at the Atlantic, Hill noted that DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic Instagram posts is nothing unusual in the black community, and that she has even made anti-Semitic jokes.
“DeSean Jackson’s Hitler moment — and mine — showed that Black Americans’ experience of racism doesn’t automatically sensitize us toward other forms of prejudice,” she wrote on July 13.
“I had made a joke about the Nazi leader who orchestrated the murder of 6 million Jewish people,” Hill wrote on Monday. “I was, of course, aware of the Holocaust, but I had given little thought to the feelings of the Jewish community because, frankly, it wasn’t my own. When others pointed out the insensitivity of my statement, I was mortified.
“Like Jackson, I am Black. And had anyone made a remark trivializing slavery, I would have been incensed,” she noted.
“I learned that just because I’m aware of the destruction caused by racism, that doesn’t mean I’m automatically sensitive to other forms of racism, or in this case, anti-Semitism,” Hill added. “Black people, too, are capable of being culturally arrogant.”
Hill’s admissions come on the heels of controversial posts the Eagles wide receiver was found to have posted to Instagram just over a week ago. The posts contained anti-Semitic quotes he thought were made by Nazi leader Adolph Hitler as well as messages from notorious anti-Semite Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
By the end of the week, Jackson’s team finally decided to punish him with a fine, but no other actions were taken against him. Jackson eventually apologized for the posts and has promised to donate money to Jewish causes.
Hill went on to blast Jackson for his “ugly” hate for Jews and his reposting of messages from hate-preacher, Farrakhan.
The writer and former TV host went on to warn the black community that they have a problem with this “cultural blindspot.”
“Regardless of what happens with Jackson, the unfortunate truth is that some Black Americans have shown a certain cultural blindspot about Jews. Stereotypical and hurtful tropes about Jews are widely accepted in the African American community,” Hill exclaimed. “As a kid, I heard elders in my family say in passing that Jewish people were consumed with making money, and that they ‘owned everything.’ My relatives never dwelled on the subject, and nothing about their tone indicated that they thought anything they were saying was anti-Semitic—not that a lack of awareness would be any excuse. This also doesn’t mean that my family—or other African Americans—are more or less anti-Semitic than others in America, but experiencing the pain of discrimination, and stereotyping didn’t prevent them from spreading harmful stereotypes about another group.”
Hill also noted that other recent comments by blacks in the news shows that the problem is not isolated to one or two NFL players.
She warned blacks that their “fight for their humanity” can’t come even as they engage in the “dehumanizing other marginalized” people.
Hill ended, though, on a note of charity for the Eagles player.
“The good news for Jackson is that some are willing to characterize this incident as ignorance rather than hatred. Regardless, Jackson is going to have to work to regain the trust of the Jewish community—and everyone else who understands that Hitler was evil. Just because he says he’s sorry doesn’t mean they have to believe him,” she wrote.
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