What Did I do?!

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  • #1872157
    catch yourself
    Participant

    “What did I do?!” – The battle cry of bullies everywhere.

    It’s a classic tactic used in childhood warfare. Say or do something hurtful, but in a way which allows you to feign innocence.

    Every parent, educator, and person who has ever been a child recognizes this tactic. Every parent, educator, and person who has ever been a child can identify (with great accuracy) when the claim of innocence is sincere. Every parent, educator, and person who has ever been a child also knows that there are times when the offender is guilty as charged, but cannot be punished for it because of a lack of evidence.

    It seems to me that for all the statistics and logical arguments, the question of inherent racist bias in our society is no more than an adult version of this same tactic. Ask any black person of any background; they will all tell you that inherent racism is the backdrop of their entire life.

    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t try to help themselves, or that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their own actions. Of course, many black people do work hard, take responsibility for themselves, and achieve great success. Obviously, inherent racism is no excuse to live a life of crime or to make yourself a burden to other people.

    But these (typical) responses do not address the issue. It is simply a fact that black and white people are not playing on a level field. This is a wrong which should not be allowed to persist in an egalitarian society. It is certainly contrary to the values of our Torah.

    #1872469
    Joseph
    Participant

    Why are you mishing Torah values into this monologue? This has absolutely nothing to do with Torah values. The Torah is absolutely positively non-egalitarian. Cohanim are on top of Leviim. Leviim come before Yisroelim. Rabbonim come on top of them all. Avodim (yes, the Torah permits avdos) come after them all. There’s a pecking order between Yehudim and nochrim too.

    #1872471
    1
    Participant

    It’s not a fact. We’ve had affirmative action all these years. There are black dominated unions all over. We had a black president for 8 years.

    #1872489
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Joseph said it excellently

    #1872491
    Someone in Monsey
    Participant

    The “What did I do?” complaint rings hollow. The Arbery death in Georgia is the initial incident that set the primer which ignited after the Floyd death. What gets very little play is that both men – Arbery and Floyd – were invloved in various levels of criminal activity and were no angels. The philosphical question you need to consider is whether or not police would be so quick to take a hostile stance toward blacks if blacks were not so disproportionally involved in criminal activity. If blacks committed crimes at the same proportional rate as whites, it’s doubtful they would be looked at with such skepticism and suspicion by cops on patrol. If you look at Chicago today, as the standout example, you see that the black community brings a very significant degree of their troubles on themselves.

    #1872514
    Milhouse
    Participant

    Nobody ever plays on a level field. The world is not level. Nobody has the right to expect a level field, or to complain that it isn’t. You are expected to do the best you can with what you are given, that’s all. Some have a better start than others and will achieve more; you have no right to be jealous of them. What the other person has did not come at your expense; if he didn’t have it you wouldn’t have got it instead.

    There is no “systematic racism”, or “inherent racism”. What there is is the fact that many black people are criminals. Many more, proportionately, than white people. When 1/32 of the population (young black men) commit more than HALF of the violent crime, it simply makes sense that whenever you see a young black man whom you don’t know, you have to consider that he may be a violent criminal. Every honest black person will admit that he does the same thing. Even Jesse Jackson admitted it, in a rare honest moment.

    The difference between that and racism hinges on those two little words “may be”. A racist is someone who thinks that every young black man IS a violent criminal; a reasonable person is one who when he first meets such a person considers that he MAY BE, but if he has a chance to observe the person he modifies his consideration in accord with what he sees, and the more information he gets the more he modifies it.

    But if a decent young black man is tired of always being suspected and feared, he should blame not the people who RIGHTLY AND JUSTLY suspect and fear him, but all the criminals who look like him. If they didn’t commit their crimes nobody would think twice about him.

    It’s the same as Arabs in Eretz Yisroel. You’d have to be crazy to get in a car with an Arab driver, or not to worry a little when you see an Arab in the street, because so many of them have attacked and murdered Jews. So all the rest of them unfortunately have to pay a price by being suspected even if they’re tzadikim gemurim, because nobody can read their minds and know that.

    #1872692
    besalel
    Participant

    Milhouse: There were 1.2 mm violent crimes in the US in 2018 (the last year I found stats on). Lets say 600,000 of those were committed by blacks. Lets further assume that each crime committed by a black person was committed by a different person. That means in 2018, 600,000 blacks committed violent crimes. There was a population of 37.2 million blacks in the US in 2018. So that means that 1.6% of the black population was criminally violent in 2018. Does that mean, then, that it justifiable to assume that when you run into a stam black person you have a statistical reason to suspect he MAY be a violent criminal? Or is a person who believes that 98.4% of a race should be tainted with the wrongs of 1.6% inherently a racist?

    #1872769
    Joseph
    Participant

    besalel: The rate of criminal history among black males in the US is very significantly higher than your example figures.

    #1872799
    besalel
    Participant

    joseph: i just punched in the numbers. Could be they are inaccurate and its possible my math is off. Where did I go wrong?

    Another thought I had after I wrote that post, there is a concept in Halacha called Miut Hamatzui or significant minority. The most stringent opinion I have seen (like R’ Vaye’s) is that Miut Hamatzui is 10%. Anything less is halachacly insignificant.

    #1872816
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Joseph, a mamzir talmid chacham yisroel comes before a kohen am haaretz. We go by merit and not yichus.

    #1872825
    Joseph
    Participant

    Reb Eliezer: I essentially said that above when I referred to rabbonim coming before all.

    #1872812
    Joseph
    Participant

    besalel: It is significantly higher than 10%. In 2010 the percentage of black males with a felony record was 33%. If you take age into account, say between 15 and 55, it is likely a majority.

    #1872832
    besalel
    Participant

    Joseph: I suppose if a new 600,000 are added to the figure each year that number may make sense but that seems highly unlikely. Or maybe a large number of felonies were non violent? צ”ע

    I was using milhouse figure that half of violent crimes are committed by blacks then I worked backwards and that’s what I got. 37.2 million blacks, 600,000 criminals.

    My instinct tells me that the percentage of blacks who commit violent crimes is well below 10% for the little my instinct is worth.

    #1872844
    charliehall
    Participant

    “The Torah is absolutely positively non-egalitarian. ”

    The concept of race is completely absent from the Torah.

    #1872876
    Joseph
    Participant

    Charlie: You must’ve skipped Parshas Noach with Rashi to make that mistaken comment.

    #1872868
    Joseph
    Participant

    besalel: 33% of black males have a felony conviction and 15% have served time in prison. Those are official statistics from 2010. Nationally from the total US population (all ethnicities/races, which includes the black figures), 8% have felony convictions and 3% have been in prison. Whites about 3% have felonies and less than 1% were in prison.

    Which demonstrates an African-American is over ten times as likely to be a criminal than a white person.

    #1872911
    yehudayona
    Participant

    Joseph, haven’t you claimed that various Jewish felons were unjustly convicted and jailed?

    #1872956
    BY1212
    Participant

    Charlie: The concept of race is completely absent from the Torah.

    Really. So Amalek is not a race we need to exterminate, Moav Amon and Mitrayim are not races with restrictions on entering klal Yisroel.

    The concept of 70 ummos haolam – למשפחותם ללשונותם is not a Torah concept.

    Ok. So we see that you are a complete stranger to Torah but a very good friend of your בויך.

    #1872979
    besalel
    Participant

    Joseph: the conflicting data would make more sense if we explain that most of the felonies the blacks are convicted of are drug offenses and not violent.

    By1212: amalek and the 70 umot are nationalities not race. I actually do not know what the word race actually means.

    #1873023
    BY1212
    Participant

    Salem: By1212: amalek and the 70 umot are nationalities not race. I actually do not know what the word race actually means.

    Uh…למשפחותם. the Torah clearly states that the 70 ummos are racial. I.e. they come from common ancestry which the Torah goes thru the טירחה of listing Each even has specific מידות רעות as per chazal.

    Until sancheriv , there was no difference btwn race and nationality. Then בלבל את האומות, and you had a restructuring of national identity removed from race. So today עשו or אדום had morphed into Rome which in turn morphed into the western European countries. אגב this is what בלעם was referring to when he said:. אוי, מי יחיה משומו קל. See. Rashi. בלעם understood how awful it was when your national identity is obliterated and instead of a racial identity you have an ersatz fiat/fraudulent “nationalistic” one.

    How you can claim that Amalek is not a race is absurd. And betrays a tendency to knee jerk react. How does one become an Amaleki? Only by being born into it. That is racial. You can’t get Amaleki citizenship on your own and become liable all of a sudden to being annihilated by the Jews. You must be born as part of the group. Sheesh. Must every obvious idea be explained? Indeed there is no seichel left anymore. Just. An idiotic lack of common Sense. How stupid we have become.

    Maybe you think race only has what to do w skin color. I assure you it does not. It refers to common ancestry. (Caucasian anybody?) Which is why people of one race generally have similar physical characteristics.

    Now even being Jewish is essentially a racial thing bc the Jewish nation started w אברהם יצחק and יעקב and the שבטים. Now it is not totally racial since what ultimately defined us as a nation was maamad har Sinai and that bris is open to gerim as well. Nevertheless, a ger a absorbed into the race of the avos/shvotim. We are still a distinct race. Just one that accepts outsiders who also sayאלקי אבותינו אלקי אברהם אלקי יצחק ואחרי יעקבbc our race became intertwined w an idea that overrides our race.

    Btw , we even have racial division within klal Yisroel – i.e. the 12 shvotim. This has caused problems. Like the אפרים מנשה bqcivil war, the refusal of the majority of the Jewish people to accept Dovid as melech…. Even today in Israel people who belittle morrocans etc are calledגזענים. And of course the morrocans in turn are גזעני to the תימנים. And the תימנים, well…שמים פס על כווולם. Lovely aint it?

    #1873206
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Cohanim are on top of Leviim. Leviim come before Yisroelim. Rabbonim come on top of them all. Avodim (yes, the Torah permits avdos) come after them all. There’s a pecking order between Yehudim and nochrim too.

    And way down there, somewhere between earthworm and smallpox, is me.

    The Wolf

    #1873369
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    On the Torah part, if anybody cares. Who comes first, says nothing about the respect that is due every person. Am I allowed to dehumanize the Levi, to save a Kohen? Can you really read parshas noach with or without any commentary, and miss that every human life is regarded? Have you not seen that the three cardinal sins are laid out around human dignity, and together with the mitzvah of preserving life? Did you skip the Neviim, that equates the Yidden with the other nations in the eyes of Hashem? How much of Tehillem discusses the equality of men, and the loftiness of the human spirit?
    One can look around at society today, and justly condemn this individual or that group. But if he goes to the Torah, and could not find enough self-criticism to point only at himself, than he misses the whole point.

    #1875427
    catch yourself
    Participant

    The Torah is absolutely egalitarian.

    Here is the definition of egalitarian from Oxford Dictionary:
    “Relating to or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.”

    The various stations of Kohen, Levi, Yisrael are not about “rights and opportunities.”

    Even the Halacha of Kedima mentioned by some refers not to the absolute question of rights, but to a specific situation in which one must choose – for utterly practical considerations – only one person whose rights to uphold. It is implicit in the ruling that “Talmid Chacham kodem L’am Ha’aretz” that both enjoy the same rights, but that if circumstances allow us to save only one of them, the Talmid Chacham has priority.

    The Torah reiterates numerous times that the Law is to be applied equally to all, regardless of any consideration whatsoever. There is to be absolutely no preference in Beis Din for the revered scholar, nor any empathy for the predicament of the indigent defendant.

    I submit to you that there exists no more egalitarian system of justice than that of our Torah.

    #1875532
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    For @catchyourself and everyone else agreeing with him, I have one thing to say:

    There is no more anti-Semitism and you have to owe up to that.

    If you can say that black Americans are “bullies” and there’s no more American racism, then there’s also no more anti-Semitism and every claim otherwise is just “what did I do?”

    #1875575
    Joseph
    Participant

    CY: Incorrect. There’s a hierarchy. If people are drowning, the Halacha is that you save men before women, etc.

    #1875578
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    oh yay! somehow the conversation circled back to Joseph’s favorite!

    #1875585
    Joseph
    Participant

    Oy, Syag doesn’t like to hear uncomfortable Halachos.

    #1875588
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    False. I just hate the Chillul Hashem you make when you start drooling over it.

    #1875592
    Joseph
    Participant

    I know. Mere mention of it is drooling. Especially if its something that hasn’t been mentioned here literally in years. Even if it is related to the ongoing conversation.

    #1875593
    catch yourself
    Participant

    Yserbius123 – I don’t understand your post. To be clear, I think registration is a much bigger problem in the United States than many posters here realize it are willing to admit. This conversation was specifically about anti-black racism, but the same is true (to a lesser extent, I think) of antisemitism.

    Joseph – I already explained that this Halacha itself proves that all people enjoy equal rights, and only in extreme circumstances when we are only able to save one person is there a hierarchy. This hierarchy is NOT based on any inherent superiority of certain types of people, as evidenced by the rules of Mamzer Talmid Chacham. Priority is given in this case to the person whose position provides greatest opportunity for Avodas Hashem (men have more Mitzvos, etc.).

    In EVERY instance where the rights of two people are in conflict, NO preference is given on the basis of anything akin to race. The claim of a black Ger Tzedek is on equal standing to that of Moshe Rabbeinu himself.

    #1875594
    Joseph
    Participant

    Now that we’ve dispensed with your false drooling narrative, if someone here had drooled over the Halacha of putting Talmidei Chachomim first, would you cry “CH” over citation of that Halacha? Or do you only consider too much discussion of what you consider uncomfortable Halachos to be a CH?

    #1875628
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    two points,
    1 The Torah is not egalitarian, everything from laws of inheritance to witnesses to service in the bais hamikdosh is not equal, in spite of attempts by people like Avi Weiss, it is not equal nor will it ever be.
    2. Having worked in both corporate America and the government I can tell you that if your halfway competent and black doors will open for you and never are open for anyone else, so to say that there is prevalent racism out there is bogus.

    #1875619
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    😀I’ve never figured out why you revert to that lame falsehood, as anyone reading my posts would know, but it sure makes it obvious were your nerves are.

    #1875623
    Joseph
    Participant

    Regarding race, you’re also mistaken, CY. See the Rashi in Parshas Noach.

    Of course if someone becomes a Ger Tzedek that changes the world. He then starts a brand new life under a brand new scheme. But you surely cannot make a general claim that color isn’t a factor in the Torah.

    #1875621
    Joseph
    Participant

    Catch Yourself: Your most recent post demonstrates you understand, even though you refuse to admit, that the Torah is anti-egalitarianism. Since you brought up its dictionary definition, Merriam-Websters has the following two entries for egalitarianism:

    1: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs
    2: a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people

    Both of them fail when you consider your own words in your previous comment regarding Halacha.

    #1875649
    Joseph
    Participant

    “2. Having worked in both corporate America and the government I can tell you that if your halfway competent and black doors will open for you and never are open for anyone else, so to say that there is prevalent racism out there is bogus.”

    Exactly right, CS.

    Less is expected and demanded from black candidates and employees. They receive preferential treatment in hiring (affirmative action) as well as in continuing employment, as you pointed out.

    The reality in America for the last half century is that the most prevalent racism, by far, is reverse racism against whites.

    #1875672
    catch yourself
    Participant

    I’ve learned Parshas Noach with Rashi many times. Which Rashi specifically are you referring to?

    Here, again, are your definitions of egalitarianism, from Merriam-Webster:
    1: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs
    2: a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people

    You say, “Both of them fail when you consider your own words in your previous comment regarding Halacha.”

    Only if you think “equality” means the same thing as “uniformity” could you make this mistake.

    #1875666
    catch yourself
    Participant

    commonsaychal, the Halachos you point to are evidence that the Torah is non-egalitarian only on the most superficial level. The key point here is (and this is where most of contemporary society, including Avi Weiss, gets it wrong) that “equality” of necessity does not mean “sameness”. This is not the venue for a comprehensive review of the subject, but here is a basic synopsis of the general idea advanced by the Meforshim, as I remember it:

    The Torah recognizes the different roles of men, women, Kohanim, Leviim, Yisraelim, etc., and, based on these roles, assigns each person different responsibilities. This explains witnesses and Avodas Beis HaMikdash.

    Resources are allocated by the Torah with respect to the roles and responsibilities of each person. Inheritance is much more than simply assuming the estate of the departed. Inheritance symbolizes the continuation of the personality of the departed, and the furtherance of his earthly mission. This, of course, necessitates that the closest living relative be the one to inherit. The role of the Woman in the Torah’s society is complementary to her that of her husband, and so a son is better able to continue the legacy of his father than would be a daughter.

    None of this reflects any sort of bigoted or biased attitude, and, in fact, the Torah repeats many times the idea of equality. תורה אחת ומשפט אחד is the standard by which we are to evaluate our system.
    לא תטה משפט, לא תשא פנים, לא תגורו מפני איש, the list goes on and on. There is no question that the Torah expects us to treat all people equally and fairly, regardless of who they are.

    #1875803
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @catchyourself I meant people <i>disagreeing</i> with you, sorry. First off, ignore @Joseph. She’s a troll who gets her jollies by saying extreme things than calling everyone who disagrees with her a koifer.

    With that out of the way, what I’m trying to say is that I’m just irritated and offended by those people who claim that racism isn’t a problem and black Americans can just pull themselves up by their bootstraps or something. On the other hand, if there’s an issue in a frum community, these same people will often be the first to blame it on anti-Semitism. Du ken nischt getantzen en tzvei chasunas. Either racism and anti-Semitism exist in the US and are problems, or they don’t.

    #1876354
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Joseph,
    I do not want to burst your bubble, but there is practically no scenario (Besides for one example explicitly mentioned in the Mishna.) where you let the woman die to save the man. Car accident? Go to the one who took the biggest hit first. Drowning? Closest to the rescuer. Fire? Closest to the rescuer. One dose of medicine? See above. Hospital? Whoever was admitted first. Captive? Redeem the woman first. Death row? See above. Stuck in a foreign country? See above. Shelter? From a riot: Woman first. Starvation: Same. Poverty: Same. Cold: Whoever comes first. Heat: Same.
    The man comes first when it comes to giving him a job, lending money, charity, returning a lost article, et cetera… If the woman actually dies because you gave the man some money, I would be suspicious of your over zealousness………..

    #1876356
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Addendum – If somewhere of to your left a man is calling for help, and somewhere to the a woman is calling for help, what do we do?
    If we know they are both drowning we go to the left. Not a practical case. And as a matter of fact, neither case happened to me. Never heard of it actually happening to anyone. I made them up,

    #1876366
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    There are two separate discussions about Black versus White inequality in this country.

    Most of the conversation on this site, deal with ‘living the american dream’. While Blacks today still face a serious task for upward social success, so does everyone else. It can be argued that Blacks face more difficulties than Whites. But it can easily be countered, that every successful group in this country, had to overcome formidable challenges to get where they are today. There is a tangent here, about bias against successful people because of the communities they come from. As affirmative action grew, this topic has become more convoluted. There is no easy understanding, it is complicated. We cannot go back and clarify all the causes of Black/White inequalities since emancipation. We cannot deny them either. It is a stalled debate.
    There are many different takes on how to restart the debate, without going back to slavery. Here is one that I remember from a black activist in the seventies. ‘America has served as a melting pot for every race. For centuries, Blacks were denied entry into american society. Blacks were also denied the ability to form their own society. Americans have to decide, should Blacks melt into America, or compete with it?’ This is very debatable.

    #1876371
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    The other discussion of Black versus White in this country.

    Many people who live in inner cities, are not interested in owning a house in the suburbs. They enjoy being in an apartment building with hundreds of people. They find personal life boring (or painful, depressing). They are just fine making a few dollars and enjoying life. White people can do this without any fear. Black people have a lot of challenges. The system that built America into a superpower, does not require every american to partake in the economy. A person can dedicate his life to whatever goal he wants, and there is enough wealth (and debt) in this country to cover for him. [For example, long term kollel.] Alternatively, one can ‘float’ around, and survive of the american bounty. For Black Americans, floating around the country before WWII was suicidal. [Blacks stayed in their suburbs and then migrated to the cities.] They never learned how to use the system. (Even when they where included in all the benefits of American Government.] Today, a white person showing up in a random neighborhood does not arouse suspicion. A black person does. Black people did not have whom to contact when they where wrongfully accused. Blacks have major issues with being arrested for petty crimes, and living their life in and out of Jail, bail, and no trial. But the main point is, that inner city black neighborhoods, have life values that are incomprehensible to their respective city councils. They face biases that are not founded in reality. Not only are they deemed a threat because of their size and demeanor, the hardened black criminals escape detection. Because all they have to do is avoid a certain stereotype, and the Police won’t even notice them. And you end up with a bunch of regular black kids being charged for the same black sociopath’s (or sycophant) crimes. And, there was no way for them to clear their record. In sum every Black person without a steady job is assumed to be involved in criminal activity, Imagine if that was applied to Lakewood!

    #1876381
    Joseph
    Participant

    N0m: It isn’t limited to the specific circumstances listed in the Mishna. The Mishna gives it as an example; it is a general rule. And it is codified as Halacha in the Shulchan Aruch.

    #1876474
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Joseph,
    Absolutely correct. But the concepts of the sugya do not play out that way in real life. Practically speaking, it is likely that a man will die while we are saving a woman in accordance with halachic precedence. For the reverse to actually occur, is far less likely.

    #1876491
    Joseph
    Participant

    N0m: Do you imagine that the Shulchan Aruch codified a Halacha (that is cited throughout the Rishonim and as you pointed out is based on the Mishna and Gemora) that is some exceptionally rare circumstance that is virtually inconceivable to transpire in accordance with the described Halachic description?

    That asked, think about the Titanic and how the crew triaged who to rescue and who not to, because there wasn’t enough room on the boats offloading passengers. As you know the crew triaged based on gender. So much so, that Congress actually held public hearings on why some prominent men were permitted to have their lives saved by giving them the limited space on the life boats when there were still women who weren’t given that slot. Congress was angry that those men were saved before the women.

    N0m, of course Yidden who follow Halacha would have done it oppositely of the triaged gender based decisions of the Titanic crew, based upon the Halacha we are discussing. But my primary point in bringing the example of the Titanic is that, no, it isn’t as rare as you seem to be making it out. And, yes, there are times when this Halacha would kick in.

    #1876721
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Joseph,
    Yes! Which is why the SA went from a handbook to 25 volumes. With countless additional writings and notations. By the Titanic, you would have been obligated to take the closest person and put them in the boat first. Regardless of gender. Please find a case more likely than the one I gave you.

    #1876734
    Joseph
    Participant

    N0m: The Titanic would fall under the Halacha in the Mishna and Shulchan Aruch that we’ve discussed above. Why would you think otherwise?

    #1876757
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Joseph,
    You cannot pas over a Jewish life for any mitzvah including saving someone else’s life. [Saving your own life is discussed in BM 58] Therefore when you have a group of people in a life threatening situation you are required to save the first one you come across. You cannot push away (or pass over) one life for another. And for sure you cannot start inquiring is there a Kohen here? Ein kan kohen. Yaamod…………

    #1876774
    Joseph
    Participant

    N0m: Firstly explain, in detail, your understanding of the aforementioned Halacha in that Mishna and Shulchan Aruch and when it does apply. Please also give a realistic example.

    After explaining that, then secondly explain how you think the Titanic is different and doesn’t fall under that Halacha’s parameters.

    Please label the first part as 1 and label the second answer as 2.

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