Blackface shameful, not complicated
How could Steve Lipman write an entire article about Jews and blackface and not even quote a Jew of color? (Feb. 12) This sort of ignorance is unacceptable. Even the article’s title, “Jews and blackface: It’s complicated,” is offensive.
The history is not complicated — it’s shameful. Judaism’s most scared value is honoring the dignity of every human. Humiliating anyone is a desecration — regardless if Al Jolson did it in the 1920s. How can we be so exacting when we see anti-Semitism but ignore racism? As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Prejudice is like a hydra, a monster which has many heads, an evil which requires many efforts to overcome. One head sends forth poison against the people of a different race, another against people of a different religion or culture. Thus, the evil of prejudice is indivisible.”
We compromise our ethical integrity by staying silent or even worse — trying to justify our sinful history.
Rabbi Jonathan Leener