November 18, 2021 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #2030204
I was asked to write about racism; here’s my two cents….or perhaps more than that.
“you’re so racist against sefardim”
“I can’t believe how racist you are to say that before westerners came, North and South America were savage human-sacrificing warlords”
“How can you make generalizations about groups of people, don’t you know that’s what anti semites did throughout the years and that’s why we had a Holocaust?”
“I don’t understand how we can have a mitzvah of lo sichayeh kol neshoma and kill taf v’noshim from the 7 nations and amalek… it’s so racist”
These are some common examples of statements made by religious jews when discussing the term “racism”.
As in all matters, one must have a working agreed upon definition of a term before beginning to discuss it, which is why racism is a topic difficult to approach. As outlined, racism means different things to different people, but is met with the intense contempt and righteous indignation of a person believing themselves to be protesting the world’s most insidious evil, perhaps greater than “gender crimes” or cases of אונס.
One who feels seething rage at the racist finds comfort in the appeal to authority and the community he has situated himself with; they see themselves as on the side of all educated, moral people. It is the side of evolving good and justice, with the opposition being steeped in white supremacy, jim crow laws, lynchings, KKK, segregation, and of course slavery. To them, the Holocaust was nothing else but the result of unchecked slavery towards Jews.
Most people define racism by the following doctrine:
Believing that one ethnic or genetic group of people possess superior abilities, capacities, beauty, or other positive elements due to their collective gene pool. Other groups may have some positive points too, but are eternally marred by inferior genes. There are exceptions in yechidim who either outperform or underperform in their racial grouping. Prominent people including the founder of planned Parenthood believed the solution to this supposed phenomenon lay in weeding out inferior genetics through eugenics, an unnatural selection whereby only the fit are encouraged to procreate, and the rest are encouraged to pursue abortion and contraception, sometimes applied individually and sometimes racially. Nazi Germany definitely adopted this approach.
In this dynamic, if we are to assume that race A has better collectice genes than B, then A should be given precedence for the good of the species,to the immediate detriment of B. The assertion then, that A has superior genes is an evil thought, since it leads to an immoral action of discrimination and oppression, even genocide. We therefore reject the idea and believe with perfect faith that there lie no substantial differences resutling in increased attributes in the general genetic matrix of a given race’s genes.
That is, of course, from the perspective that physical or intellectual superiority equals “value” and people with higher levels of such traits are therefore more valuable.
A Torah approach would be two-fold. Life is inherently important, as Hashem created all mankind in His image. Full stop. This means that if a race is completely unintelligent, unrefined, weak in spirit and body, ugly with deformed features, disease ridden, and anything else you can think of…that race has no less importance than any other. It would be a crime against the image of Hashem to treat that person any less than anyone else.
The other factor is the limitless potential for individual growth. Eliezer was born “arur”, cursed as a descendent of chom, and when he selflessly accomplished his task of finding a wife for yitzchok, he “left the category of cursed and entered the category of blessed”. Slavery was his optimal mode of growth. It was in this capacity that he grew to being called the ruler of Avrohoms household, his rosh yeshiva!
It is “racist” to say that a given race has middos and techunos which require, for the good of everyone else and themselves, to be mastered. It is 100% racist, but it’s what Hashem decided should be the best situation for bnei canaan. My rebbe rav belsky explained that the curse of noach was really a blessing. It would be in this setting that they will achieve their potential and be stopped from doing evil. Had Eliezer not had a master, he would have never became who he was.
Anti-racists can and have for decades pretended that there are no differences between races, for fear of racial crime and the horrors of the 20th century. This tactic is a failure, because “everyone knows” that this isn’t true, no matter what country one examines. We see that some racial groups consistently fail academically, socially and morally, across every continent. Not one country where they are the majority is fully developed. The anti racists themselves will not live in or even visit such communities at night, because they know their life would be in danger. Is this equivalent to hatred? Does it mean to stifle individuals who are successful… to tell them, chas veshalom, that they are bad because of their race? Heaven forbid! They are all created in the image of Hashem just as anyone else.
Rav Yaakov kaminetzky said in camp ohr shraga after a tragedy involving a baby in the catskills that Hashem was sending a message to distance ourselves from the progressives. He said that Lincoln, JFK, and Martin Luther king all were gehargen gevorn, because they attempted to repeal entirely the klalah.
What should they have done? There were moderate voices who believed that slavery needed to be reformed. Strict laws banning beating, raping and killing needed to be made and enforced. Proper education, housing, etc was a necessity. The opportunity to advance and become free on one’s merits should be open. This would have been in keeping with the klalah on its true intention.
The Torah groups people by shared national characteristics very lften. Amon and moav are different from amalek, who we only kill if they continue in their amaleki ways. With amon and moav, they are disqualified by their nature to be part of klal yisroel. They might become good people with olam haba, but to reach the level of a Jew is something out of their reach, and Hashem loves such an amoni or moavi just as he would any other ben noach. Other imperfections can be erased with time, like an Egyptian convert. but these are inherent defects, the spiritual results of their ancestors’ actions which they were not at fault for, but carry the spiritual genetics therefrom, much like a woman who drinks while pregnant.November 18, 2021 6:58 pm at 6:58 pm #2030578
Bravo. Your entire essay is entirely on point and correct.
Nothing more need be said.
Yasher Koach!November 18, 2021 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #2030661Yserbius123Participant
I don’t know if I agree with everything your saying. Like this alleged quote from Rav Yaakov ZT”L. The people in power in the US were treated blacks like inferior sub-humans, which is the exact thing you said should not be done. That’s what MLK et al were fighting against.
What needs to be said is that the Torah concept of Goyim and Umos is completely incompatible with whatever the modern day concept of race and racism is.
One thing I feel that needs to be said, that will probably make a lot of people angry at me, is that in the frum community racism is unfortunately very common. People tend to look down at goyim (and even Yidden) because of the color of their skin or the shape of their eyes. They are spoken about as if they are little more than beheimos. This is a huge endemic problem that must be addressed.
Finally, let’s talk about Critical Race Theory (oh no I said the thing!). The main idea behind it isn’t that white people should always feel bad about racism or whatever. What it means is that even once racism basically became illegal in the US, the same people who were previously praising Hitler Y”Sh for his “ubermenschen” were still running the governments, universities, banks, and schools. So they snuck in a lot of policies designed to discriminate against black, Jews, immigrants, and other minorities. The Long Island overpass is probably one you’ve heard of. When designing the Long Island Expressway, the engineers wanted to make it difficult for black people to come in from Manhattan to use the beaches. The eastern part of Long Island was very white and most blacks were coming in via charted buses from Mid Town and The Bronx. So they designed the bridges to be too low for buses. This type of policy was mainstream in many many hidden (and not so hidden) ways. From jobs to bank loans to education. Skin color isn’t as easy as changing from Chaim to Hyman and putting on a baseball cap over your yarmulka. And a lot of those policies still exist in many forms.November 19, 2021 2:35 am at 2:35 am #2030689
can eevryone please stop writing so long repliesNovember 19, 2021 7:20 am at 7:20 am #2030707HaLeiViParticipant
Harping on racism is the biggest cause of the racism divide.November 19, 2021 8:49 am at 8:49 am #2030769
Harping on racism (even where it is non-existent) is 90% of the Democrat Party’s political strategy to win office and stay in power.November 19, 2021 10:27 am at 10:27 am #2030811Yserbius123Participant
Pretending that there’s no such thing as racism and any discussion about it is only a ploy to brainwash kids into submissive little liberals is like half the GOP platform right now.November 19, 2021 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #2030960
Today, in the 21st century, there is more “reverse racism”, i.e. anti-white racism, such as affirmative action, giving preferences to non-whites, falsely accusing all whites of subtle racism, teaching school children that by definition whites are predators and non-whites are victims, is far more prevalent than old anti-black racism.November 20, 2021 7:21 pm at 7:21 pm #2031059
I specifically avoided the current issues of political racism, because i don’t think they’re relevant to the daas torah perspective i was trying to convey.
Re, reb yaakov’s drasha – ask anyone who was in ohr shraga in the early 80s; it’s very well known. Rav avigdor miller said similar things, as did my rebbe rav belsky. I qualified the statement in my post specifically to ‘bavohrn” the apparent contradiction you’re raising, by saying that slavery should have been maintained but drastically reformed. Abuse should not have been allowed, and respect for the tzelem elokim in every person – slave or free man – needed to be implemented.November 20, 2021 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm #2030944NonImpeditiRationeCogitationisParticipant
One pretty good definition of racism in my book is: racism=prejudice+power. It is safe to say that prejudice exists across all populations, whether it is based on skin color, educational attainment, or political leanings. The in-group/out-group prejudice seems to be well baked in and perhaps used to confer some survival advantage. Having said that, the concept of biological race has no scientific basis whatsoever. Across all studies of “races” the individual variations within the given population are always greater than between different populations. Additionally, there’s no way to untangle what traits are genetic and what is caused by circumstances of one’s upbringing. It is also important to understand the history of the concept of “race” and its much more recent counterpart of “biological race”. The former has its origins in 14th century Iberian Peninsula, the latter – 19th century eugenics movement. I am sure that I need not remind anyone how Eastern European Jewish “race” was viewed by the American eugenicists at the turn of 20th century. Back then, “everyone knew” that Jews were filthy, criminally inclined undesirables with below average intelligence. Ditto Irish, Italians, Chinese, etc., etc.November 20, 2021 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #2031080
Noach’s curse on Chom’s grandchildren is valid and has its place in today’s world.November 20, 2021 9:08 pm at 9:08 pm #2031096
Nonimp; it’s not your book, it’s a book written by Kimberly krenshaw that you just copied verbatim. You also fall into one of my opening qualifiers regarding people who say that biological racism leads to Nazism. It hadn’t for thousands of years when the world was full of cultural/ethnic/national characterization. Antisemitism is a supernatural force that manifests in every political movement, from nationalism to globalism, from communism to fascism, everyone hates the Jews.
You also ignored the torah examples of inherent, biological/spiritual characteristics.November 20, 2021 9:11 pm at 9:11 pm #2031106
NonImpedit: Read the Bell Curve, by psychologist Richard Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray, in which the authors demonstrate that human intelligence is substantially influenced by both inherited and environmental factors.November 20, 2021 9:56 pm at 9:56 pm #2031112GadolhadorahParticipant
“can everyone please stop writing so long replies”
No. If you are have time constraints Down Under, consider scrolling down to the next post. As noted above, it take many posters a while to rationalize the pervasive racism that has existed in the world for generations, sometimes cloaked in religious and historical context.
In the case of Noach’s curse of Chom’s progeny, the four or five lines in Bereishis were used to justify the subordination of the Canaanim to Bnai Yisroel. However, later centuries, the narrative was interpreted at varying times by some Christians, Muslims and Yidden as an explanation for black skin, as well as a generic justification for enslavement of black people. For Southern slave owners in the mid- 1800s who were faced with the abolitionist movement to end slavery, the curse of Cham was one of the most frequently justifications upon which Southerners relied as an ideological and moral defense of slavery.The rationalization for discrimination evolved among other religious groups over times such as the LDS (Mormon) church in the U.S. for decades invoking the curse of Cham to prevent the ordination of black men into its priesthood. Even among our own meforshim, there is a wide range of understanding of both the literal and implied meaning of the story.November 20, 2021 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm #2031117DBSParticipant
After Sancheirev how do you know who b’nei cham is, exactly?November 20, 2021 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm #2031123
DBS: The meforshim describe physical attributes that are their simonim. Including skin color and geographical location.November 20, 2021 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm #2031128
Racism is bad. can we close this now? (cant read everything else)November 20, 2021 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm #2031140
Farby; would you care to tell us why the specific racism I’m discussing is wrong?November 21, 2021 5:02 am at 5:02 am #2031160HaLeiViParticipant
Sancheriv didn’t go south of Egypt.
There’s no commandment to heed a curse of Noach. His curse came true, that they were kidnapped and sold. It was a disgusting thing to do, and indefensible, but perhaps that’s from Noach’s curse.
Or perhaps not. Only Canaan was cursed, and there’s no reason to think that includes a third of humanity.
True scientific racism reached its peak in the Nazi era. People were always xenophobic but not as a racial doctrine.
Even if you happen to subscribe to a particular race-based idea, we’ve seen that it’s just not worth it.
You can’t enforce people to love others. Laws are designed for practical race-based discrimination, but past that you would depend on societal norms. You want people to ignore the small differences and begin to relate to others as humans. To this end, what can be done is to begin from education, which is anyhow government controlled, and the media can play a big role as well.
I believe that the racial divide, as much as it exists, got amplified under Obama, since he would relentlessly hammer these ideas. What you are doing is to cement the differences.
Media broadcasters aren’t really there to play any role. Whatever they feel gets people excited they’ll talk about. Therefore, I doubt they would be the first to take the necessary steps to reverse the crystallization of the racial boundaries.
And yes, I think the same when they yell about every anti-Semitic incident. All you so is alienate people. It causes people to ‘other’ you much much more. If there’s violence it must be dealt with, but to keep yelling about antisemitism only helps it become “a thing”.
I don’t know why I’m bothering to type all this up when the thread will likely just disappear and all is for naught.November 21, 2021 5:35 am at 5:35 am #2031226
HaLeiVi: Is Eved Canaani disgusting and indefensible too? Why the differentiation?November 21, 2021 8:37 am at 8:37 am #2031268
Avira there is no way I’m reading 3,162 words 19,074 characters. (including names and dates)
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