In response to this op-ed published earlier this week on CrownHeights.info on racism in Chabad, one community member responds that the only true racism is not holding up our African-American neighbors to the same standards as everyone else.
by Gil Finner
Many of us aren’t racist, we’re just genuinely influenced by our experiences. I live in a section of Crown-Heights that is predominantly black. As a Jew living in a predominantly black area I’m subjected to dehumanizing treatment in various forms.
The average person reading this article wouldn’t relate if I told them how often people spit in my direction as I walk down the street. They wouldn’t relate if I told them what ridiculous and random complaints, objections, and angry reprisals our neighbors have against us regarding activities that most civilized citizens consider usual daily conduct. Many of us would however relate to the unwelcome – and grossly disrespectful – sexual innuendos that women – and young teenagers – are made to endure on a random stroll down the street.
If I filed a complaint after every incident that happened I would have to give up my day job. As many of us know, the average response time in this community for non-violent crimes is approximately eternity. I recently reported a violent crime perpetrated against my family and the wait time exceeded two hours. It’s utterly ridiculous!
Essentially, criminals do the crime, and we do the time – waiting for the police to arrive.
Just imagine how many people are dissuaded from reporting crime because they don’t want to wait two hours, and what effect this has on crime in our community.
My experiences make me believe that our neighbors understand that we’re not aggressive and therefore make for a good scapegoat. If I’m not mistaking, this has been the case throughout all of history, and it’s no different now.
The irony of it all is that somehow, they have complaints against us. But then again, people always had complaints against us, including during the black plague. At the time, Jews were blamed for poisoning wells. No one is perfect, but to pretend (for the sake of political correctness) that our imperfections comprise even a remote semblance of justification for the misbehaviors we endure is utterly ludicrous.
Everyone knows, if someone Jewish dared to treat a black person the way many – yes many – black people treat random Jewish people in the street, all hell would have broken loose.
I know some phenomenal people in the black community, but to portray them as the majority is a tremendous disservice to our community because it says that we’re content with the status quo. I certainly am not. And to portray the status quo as acceptable is racist. It says that we accept a clearly subpar standard from our neighbors.
Let’s stop being racists. Let’s embrace our neighbors as perfectly capable citizens who are capable of living up to the standards expected of citizens in every other multi-cultural community in this country.