Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So when will it be ok to be racist?

Jessie's got a roundup which links to a clip of Jay Smooth on Asher Roth. (Embedded below.) Like most of Jay's stuff, it's really good. And widely applicable to anti-racism. He points out the absurdity of those who think getting past race means not having to care about each others' humanity. It's video, so the following is my attempt to transcribe a particularly well-put portion:
Respecting each others' humanity is such a pain in the ass. Do we really have to do this forever. Can't you all just lighten up so I don't have to respect you anymore? Isn't the whole point of coming together as one that I don't have to care what you think? And then some of us go all the way crazy [and we] think we need to prove to everyone that being past racism means being freed from the unfair burden of ever having to care how we affect each other.
Taking that general principle and applying it to antisemitism, there are all sorts of people who think that, since antisemitism isn't a major problem anymore that it's ok to be antisemitic. Think about that! Of course, I think these people understate the problem of antisemitism, but even if they were right about that, there's still a lot of problem with such a sentiment.

This was the major theme of Michael Neumann's essay "What is Anti-Semitism [sic]?" which leads Alexander Cockburn's The Politics of Anti-Semitism [sic]. He argued:
I think we should almost never take antisemitism seriously, and maybe we should have some fun with it.
Jay notes (I have to apologize, since I would normally refer to him by last name; but I can't bring myself to write [Mr.] Smooth) Roth is young and sorting some stuff out. He's doing it in front of a mass audience, which means he really doesn't have that liberty, but still. Neumann is, by contrast, what Jay calls crazy.

And yet, Neumann is apparently still a professor at Trent University (in the name of academic freedom, it might be that this should remain so, but it is pertinent that he retains a position of power) and has been massively influential in the anti-Zionist movement.

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