#Jews, Malcolm X, dishwashing, Redd Foxx, futility
My friend messaged me on Twitter last night and said “Love logging on to this site and seeing the trending topic ‘Jews.’ love that.”
i didn’t know why the word “Jews” was a talking point again on social media, but i didn’t have to, honestly. Because of course it was for something decidedly “not good.”
i mean it’s not like you ever click #Jews on social media and then see a bunch of posts like “Aren’t #Jews a complex and fascinating subset of the human race???” or “You know who i am totally fine with and have no real thoughts on because mass stereotypes do more harm than good? #Jews”
Instead you see posts like this:
Gregory Jones @Gregory99902922@cam_rod10 @trillmoe98 @_ParadiseParis At Least Arsenio Went Out Like A WARRIOR,They Told Him Not To Have Farrakhan On His Show,And He Brought Him On Anyway,Just Before His Show Was Canceled!!! ✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿🖤🖤🖤🖤🔥🔥🔥🔥
This time there were a lot of posts like this, though:
This is Rizza Islam, who looks to be a member of the Nation of Islam, a group which i have neither the time, knowledge, nor bandwidth to get into within this newsletter entry. i am reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X right now, though, which is obviously just me trying to catch up on seminal Black American texts. i’m trying to catch up on them because, like so many other white people, i was able to get away more easily with not knowing that stuff for—oh i dunno—pretty much my entire life up until about three months ago.
i mean i could still easily get away with that stuff,
but now even Late Capitalism is telling us they care about Black people, so a few more white people are like, “okay okay okay, i’ll give this whole ‘Be consistently aware of who is being subjugated in our society’ thing a shot for once.”
Hey btw isn’t it funny how white people get brutally, bloodily reminded that Late Capitalism is built on the blood and bones of Black people, so Late Capitalism pulls out this nifty little trick of voicing their support for Black blood and bones as if they had nothing to do with suffering in the first place? And now how most white people are like “Solidarity, my corporate brothers.”
Nike wants you to know they support the Black community but they’d rather you not know they routinely expose their workers to hazardous chemicals. Amazon loves Black people (they’ve got a new, exclusive audiobook reading of The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Laurence Fishburne coming out in September which is surely just a divine stroke of great socio-political timing, right?) almost as much as they love raping and pillaging what’s left of the planet. Of course i could give you a million other examples but i’m lazy and don’t want to search for all that source material right now. i also don’t want to start sounding like Rage Against the Blogging Machine. You get the idea, though.
Anyway now that our favorite corporations are reassuring us that Black money matters to them, white Americans are suddenly, frantically trying to make up for lost time learning about the history of an entire, foundational element of this country. We do this while knowing everyone doesn’t have much time left anyway
what with the collapse of society/ecosystems/political order. but hey better late (capitalism) than never, right y’all?
Anyway where was i oh yeah, i’m reading X’s autobiography, so maybe i’ll have some knowledge of the organization soon, or at least have knowledge of the organization up until around the time Malcolm X got assassinated. Suffice to say, there’s a whole world out there of Black antisemitism due to Black Israelite movements, Western cultural reinforcements, and a lot of Jews just straight up being really shitty about and to Black people. And it fucking sucks, man. i don’t have the faintest idea or eloquence regarding what to do or write about regarding all that. It just fucking sucks, man.
There probably isn’t a thornier subject out there for a white Jewish man to approach than our relationship to Black antisemitism. i think the next closest minefield for me is trying to convince people the show Seinfeld is a goddamn disgrace to Jewish culture. At least i know i’m right about the Seinfeld stuff, though. Black antisemitism is real and a problem when it comes to building class solidarity and all that fun stuff, but how do two groups of people experiencing centuries' worth of completely different kinds of marginalization (that often pit them against one another, incidentally) educate themselves and a wider public about it all? We need more Black voices and Black Jewish voices writing about these things, but last i checked (which was right now) only an estimated 12-15 percent of American Jews are POC. Of those, how many are writers? And of those writers, how many have access to larger audiences?
Yeah, not a whole fucking lot, i would imagine.
i guess i’m just writing this to say i have no idea what to write about it all. It feels so overwhelming sometimes, but what doesn’t these days?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is really great so far, by the way. Did you know he used to wash dishes in a Harlem restaurant alongside Redd Foxx? Crazy, right? What a weird, small, wonderful and brutal world this can be.