August 2, 2011
THE HATRED NEVER CHANGES, ONLY THE HATED:
The Racist Scourge (ROGER COHEN, 8/01/11, NY Times)
As a South African Jew, watching blacks without passes being bundled into the back of police vans was discomfiting. But this was not mass murder after all. You tried to look away.
Racism is a mind game. It makes its victims grateful for small mercies until such time as they rise in uncontainable anger.
I was schooled early by South Africa in racism's poison. The Michels, my maternal family, lived in a spread only half-jokingly referred to as Château Michel. From beach to pool to barbecue the living was large, with its undertow of disquiet.
I felt as an infant the I-might-drop-you hostility in a black maid's arms. I wondered at the blacks swimming in a filthy harbor when whites-only sand stretched for miles. I caught the illicit glances as an adolescent, flirtation as crime. I listened to the meat-chomping justifications, bigotry dressed up as scientific theory.
Years later in Lagos, watching Fela Kuti in a disco where I was the only white among a thousand blacks, I understood the word "minority." [...]
Hatred of Muslims in Europe and the United States is a growing political industry. It's odious, dangerous and racist. Thanks to my colleague Andrea Elliott, we now know the story of the orchestration of the successful anti-Shariah campaign in the United States, led by a Hasidic Jew named David Yerushalmi who holds that "most of the fundamental differences between the races are genetic." The rightists in Europe using anti-Muslim rhetoric are true heirs to the Continent's darkest hours.
I'm glad that at an impressionable age my Dad told me of a dumb white cop with power telling a smart young black woman with promise she was "really just a Kaffir." The settings change, the vile stupidity does not.
Except you can just walk out of a disco.
Posted by oj at August 2, 2011 7:08 AM