Speaking as a longtime honorary (i.e,. self-proclaimed) member of “the tribe”, I’m semi-astonished that within the community of decent, well-brought-up Americans (i.e., outside the realm of MAGA lunatics) that even a shred of anti-Semitism still circulates in the bloodstream of this nation.

Ken BurnsThe U.S. and the Holocaust reminded that anti-Semitism was an unmistakable horror in the 1930s and ’40s, but haven’t we jettisoned all that, especially over the last 50 or 60 years? Among decent folk, I mean**?

Perhaps not. Or at least, apparently or allegedly, among a certain subset of Black Americans. Kanye West spit out some of the ugly not long ago, and was severely pounded and punished for it. Dave Chapelle spoke of the Kanye slapdown on SNL two nights ago, and David Poland spoke of tribal animus yesterday in his Substack Hot Button column (#255):

“I have never really understood how this thing between Blacks and Jews took such hold,” he wrote, [but] I am also aware, from living a long time, that many of my Black friends believe in a lot of false tropes about Jewish people, which is also true in reverse.

“My best friend in the world still makes a comment anytime I order pork of any kind. Jews are ‘them,’ meaning not only are we in the category of entitled white oppressors, but we are also hyper-entitled by perceptions of wealth, political prowess, and higher levels of education.”

I for one have never ordered a pork dish in my life — not once — although I’ve written more than once about one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received in my life. In the late ’70s a smart and wise Jewish friend and fellow cineaste told me I had more Jewish guilt than he did. That was the beginning of my honorary Jewhood, which thrives to this day. I also regard myself an honorary gay guy, in a vaguely metrosexual sort of way.

I am grateful that my alleged or supposed honorary status among Jews and gays, however legit or illegit it may be, is at least a discussion point because it gives my life a certain dimension that would not otherwise exist.

Poland #1: “[Jews and Blacks] have been held down, exiled, slaughtered, and suffered attempts to remove what is uniquely [theirs] in the world. It is somewhat insane to compare atrocities, but personally, I believe the Black Holocaust of slavery is a step worse than the Jewish Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews because slavery not only killed and demeaned and tortured Blacks, it sought to homogenize away any cultural history away from them.”

Poland #2: “I guess it’s a little like having a friend you love who is abusive to women (short of violence) or who is a little bit racist. We all have them or have had them. And most of us know people of some small group that looks down on another small group without breaking the bar on what we believe makes them a racist. Once you become an adult, the world gets complicated. Dave Chappelle is complicated.”

I’ll make it simple — no one who aspires to even a semblance of honesty will claim that race consciousness doesn’t exist in every human. Race acknowledgement is what we all feel in our gut while racism is a judgment call — a suspicion that there may be something a little bit preferable about our tribe vs. the others. Everyone has muttered this to him or herself at one time or another, usually when young and ignorant due to the influence of under-developed people in our families or communities — “our thing seems a little better and perhaps is a little better, at least according to standards that we’re familiar with.”

I’m speaking of under-our-breath acknowledgments, of course. Nobody will say this stuff out loud. We all know how to adhere to what’s expected of us, and we all say the right things in order to get along, etc. The best of us understand the cosmic universality of everything, and act accordingly.

What I can’t stand about finger-pointing, holier-than-thou types like Poland (i.e,” Rabbi Dave”) is that they’re constantly sniffing the air for whiffs of people who may be “a little bit racist,” and who, once identified, need to be bitchsmacked and name-called and shoved around and so on. We’re all vaguely, subliminally conscious of racial separatism under the skin, but those us with even a smidgen of heart and soul dismiss those subliminals on a regular basis while summoning the better angels of our nature. That’s how things have always worked on my side of the court, at least.

** The Charlottesville primitives are not included in this category.