On ‘People of Color’ and ‘Systemic Racism’ — And Why I Am Sick of Hearing It

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

I am sick of it. I really am sick of it.

I understand, better than most, what prejudice is. When I was a boy, I went bowling with friends. Someone else put chewed gum on my seat as a practical joke. I did not see it, and I sat on it. It ruined my pants. It never came off. My parents’ finances were lower middle class, and they could not afford at that time to buy me new pants. As I stood up, with the chewing gum on my pants at the bowling alley, a laughing teenager from a few lanes over yelled, “Jew bastard!” I was maybe seven years old.

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Around age 12, one Saturday — Shabbat afternoon — I was in the park with friends. We were playing ball. Suddenly, a group of teenagers came riding on bicycles into the park, swinging metal bicycle chains, yelling “Jew bastards!” and “Kikes!” We started running away from them. It was time for me, a Kike and a Jew bastard, to learn karate and self-defense.

Years later, one Sunday night I was on the IRT subway train from Brooklyn to Manhattan, returning to Columbia where I went to college, after having spent my Shabbat (Sabbath) weekend with my mother (of blessed memory) and sisters, as I did every Shabbat. It was 90 minutes on subways and buses from Columbia every Friday to be home with family on Shabbat, and 90 minutes every Sunday night back to college. On the train I did my assigned weekend readings. As I was reading, suddenly a person grabbed the yarmulka off my head and yelled, “Jew bastard!” He was with two friends. I never have forgotten the image. The train was about to stop, and they were laughing and about to exit the train car — with my kipah.

Maybe my reaction would have been different if my sister, Debbie, had not hand-crocheted that kipah. Maybe my reaction would have been different if I had stopped to think rationally. But that was a last straw. I jumped up from my seat, slammed my book, ran at the three of them, and karate-kicked the fellow who was holding my yarmulka. I kicked him in a part of his body that rendered a serious question whether he ever would have children. He fell to the floor, clutching at what remained of his reproductive organ, as the train stopped and the car door was opening. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Never again!” I was not thinking of the Holocaust but of the chewing gum and the teens on bikes with those metal chains. The two friends of my assailant fell off the train car, and I kicked the other one — the one moaning and screaming with a suddenly high voice — off the car…..

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…..We grew up in a home that was free of prejudice. My parents taught me that all people are created equal in G-d’s eyes. Most all American Caucasians evolved to a color-blind value system. By the year 2008, just before Obama was elected, this entire country, except for society’s outlier, was free of prejudice. Everyone was equal. America never was about equal outcomes but about equal opportunities. With the 1978 Bakke case having been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court 30 years earlier, the United States had offered discrete minorities two generations of extra advantage to get into college, to own businesses, to enter professions. American cities were electing Black mayors. Two generations of Americans never had seen a segregated bathroom or bus or lunch counter. This country had achieved racial harmony. It was not that long ago that racial harmony existed…..

…..Here is a prophecy: If things do not change, and if those who historically faced prejudice before Obama and before Bakke intend to rely on blaming the Innocent and on extolling cultural trash like Cardi B and on “canceling” good people who are prejudice-free simply because the offenders believe in free enterprise and in self-help, believe in the Word of G-d and that there are only two genders, then 50 years from now the same disadvantaged groups who today rely on blaming instead of self-help will then be at the same exact rung on the social order that they are today, just as 50 years of racism-free society and Great Society “entitlements” have not accomplished equality of results today, even as newcomers from Asia entered this country these past 50 and 60 years and leap-frogged those already here….

…..As someone who has faced discrimination all my life, and has succeeded more than my parents and Bubbies and Zeydes of blessed memory ever could have dreamed — as have all my siblings and as did my former wife, Ellen of blessed memory and her family — I know firsthand the secret to the American Dream: Don’t rely on the government for equal results because the government only will botch most things it touches. Rather, rely on yourself for self-help and your immediate network of family and friends, and the people at your church, cathedral, synagogue or temple, and private sources for a boost when needed — and understand that all you need to do to succeed in America is to be good at something valued by others: whether it be LeBron James and Kobe Bryant at basketball, Jackie Robinson and Henry Aaron at baseball, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson at singing … or Thomas Sowell in economics, Ben Carson in medicine, Colin Powell in military leadership, the late Herman Cain in food entrepreneurship, Shelby Steele in philosophy, Stanley Crouch in culture, Richard Parsons in business, Obama in community organizing, Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan in race-baiting, or anyone else in any imaginable field whose story of success came from long hours of hard work and determination — and knowing that “systemic racism” is a canard adopted only by losers who are doomed always to be losers … or by their White liberal overlords hoping that no one notices them playing Three-Card Monte to retain their reins of control.

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Read the entire article at The American Spectator. The article was originally published there on February 28, 2021.

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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on regional boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit.

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