Black-Jewish Relations Intensified And Tested By Current Political Climate : Code Switch : NPR
Some have argued that relations on the street between blacks and Jews, never and people, Jews will choose money; again, the general population disagrees. But not all Jews view this golden age of black-Jewish relations as old The growing divide between the two communities was crystallized in. The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Second Edition (Volume 2) [ Historical How White Folks Got So Rich: The Untold Story of American White.
By and large, however, there was very little direct "relationship" at all between them. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, they began to meet in Northern urban centers as two major migration streams intersected: African Americans moving North and into cities in a decades-long flight from oppression, violence, and discrimination called the Great Migration, and East European Jews fleeing the same forces in a different setting.
Both groups often ended up in the same cities, sometimes even in the same neighborhoods.
Black-Jewish Relations Intensified And Tested By Current Political Climate
Similarly poor, they had few housing options. And Jews, who were considered not fully white themselves, who had had less exposure to American racism, were less violent than others, and by and large more radicalized by egalitarian ideologies like communism, socialism, and trade unionism, put up less resistance when African Americans moved into their neighborhoods.
This is why, over time, many Jewish neighborhoods became black, not without tension but generally without violence. These migrations enabled both communities to organize politically to address concerns about opportunity and equality. At the same time blacks and Jews met one another face to face, often for the first time, in economic interactions that more often revealed differences between the two communities than any sense of common cause.
Both developments were critical in shaping what we call black-Jewish relations. Migrants from both communities needed help settling in. Both were poor, subject to discrimination and bigotry, and both needed to help others left behind. So both communities established defense and protective organizations.
The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews
Others joined multiracial political organizations like the Communist, Socialist, Democratic and Republican parties, and brought their community's social and cultural values with them.
The political Left in particular participated actively in civil rights efforts benefiting blacks and Jews, and stressed interracial action. Faced with similar challenges, however, there was virtually no cooperation between organizations from the two communities except on the Left.
On the individual level, elite or politically well-connected Jews and African Americans often cooperated with one another. Black socialist labor leader A. The black press described East European pogroms and the Jewish press covered lynchings.
Beyond these individual or informational contacts, however, formal organizations rarely contacted their counterparts in the other community for cooperative action. Too poor, too overwhelmed with their own needs, black and Jewish agencies were small and limited in resources. Blacks and Jews stayed apart as well because of black antisemitism and Jewish racism. These attitudes were less potent there than they were among white Christians but they had an impact nonetheless.
And there was one more concern, at least from the Jewish side. Jewish organizations struggling for acceptance recognized that racism was the stronger force and feared that any association with such a pariah group as blacks would hurt their own efforts. But in practice, Frank's murder convinced many Jews that life in the United States was dangerous enough without taking on black people's problems as well.
How Wide Is the Rift Between Blacks and Jews in New York? -- New York Magazine
While relatively few blacks and Jews interacted politically outside of the Leftfar more encountered each other in economic venues. In virtually every case, Jews had the upper hand. Because Jews were white, they were able to benefit from the American system that apportioned opportunity more by race than by ethnicity or religion.
Their white skin and the urban skills they had brought from Europe enabled Jews to succeed more quickly than African Americans; it was the exodus of better-off Jews into better neighborhoods that brought black tenants to Jewish areas in the first place. So the inevitable tensions in poor neighborhoods between landlords and tenants, shopkeepers and customers, social workers and clients came to be seen as black-Jewish conflicts, and they reinforced stereotypes of greedy and unscrupulous Jews, or lazy or irresponsible blacks.
Another point of contact between the two communities was the arts, especially music and the new medium of motion pictures. Meeting first in vaudeville and other performance areas, Jews also rose to positions of greater power and became impresarios and agents for black performers. The same was also true in sports.
Given the limited and hierarchical nature of relations between African Americans and American Jews, and although members of each community recognized the plight of the other, and were sensitive to prejudice, there was little positive mutual interaction in the first third of the 20th century.
This changed with the rise of Nazism. With Jews threatened in Europe, and with the rise of fascist and antisemitic groups in the United States, it became clear to Jewish organizations that they desperately needed allies.
And for black people, who recognized bigotry when they saw it, anti-Nazi efforts also offered the strongest challenge to American racism. The black press and several black groups therefore launched what they called a Double V campaign: Outspoken in their protest of Nazi atrocities, black groups also lost no opportunity to draw parallels with lynching and racial bigotry in the United States.
Black-Jewish cooperation in the s was clearly based on mutual self-interest, but one that recognized the shared danger inherent in any form of bigotry. These groups had come to recognize what the Left had been saying all along: The Ribbentrop-Molotov, German-Soviet pact, however, discredited the Left in the eyes of many liberals, and the emerging Cold War made suspect all programs espoused by Communists. Stalin's purges alienated still more Jews, who abandoned the Communist Party for liberal and progressive Jewish political organizations.
Thus, Nazism and the war brought black and Jewish liberals to a new recognition of the importance of civil rights and racial tolerance. At the same time, anti-Communism also led them to limit their strategies, goals, and coalitions in ways that hobbled the potential for fundamental social change. The stage was set for what many consider the "golden age" of black-Jewish relations.
Political relations between black and Jewish political agencies warmed further as the modern civil rights movement gained real force. The two communities had gotten to know one another through common work. Their organizations had become more desirable allies as their earlier successes brought increased membership, stronger finances, and greater political access.
And they shared a set of liberal values, including bringing change within the existing system; employing moderate, non-confrontational tactics in doing so; a commitment to the centrality of individual rights rather than privileges bestowed by membership in a group; and a conviction that it was the obligation of government to foster equal opportunity.
They advocated litigation, education, and legislation to bring about equality, evidenced, for example, in the American Jewish Congress's new Commission on Law and Social Action. By the late s, liberal civil rights organizations rooted in the two communities slowly began to develop a close partnership, launching programs separately and jointly to improve conditions for racial and religious minorities.
This can still be viewed as self-interest, but it was now a broader concept. The NAACPwith the help of all the main Jewish organizations, won a Supreme Court case declaring restrictive housing covenants unenforceable, which benefited both groups but particularly economically mobile Jews.
Board of Education case, as well as its predecessors, armed with amicus briefs from virtually every other black and Jewish civil rights organization along with other progressive, union, religious, and civic groups. The creation of New York's state college system was a joint black-Jewish effort to combat religious and racial discrimination in higher education. Together they fought to make permanent the war's Fair Employment Practices Act, which outlawed employment discrimination based on race, religion, or national origin.
They cooperated on passing anti-Klan and anti-violence legislation, fighting restrictions on employment applications, and challenging racism and antisemitism with educational programs that appealed to American ideals of fairness and democracy. Nor was such collaboration one-sided.
- Encyclopedia Judaica: Black-Jewish Relations in the United States
- African American–Jewish relations
Jewish organizations participated in racial segregation cases; black groups advocated expanding immigration to accommodate wartime refugees, endorsed and lobbied for the UN resolution on the creation of the state of Israel, and protested Soviet antisemitism. King and to African Americans as did the Jewish community.
But, like any relationship, the bond between Jews and African-Americans has experienced its ups and its downs. However, despite claims to the contrary, the relationship between Blacks and Jews today remains strong.
Maybe it's because the Jewish community has suffered from tremendous anti-Semitism throughout history and as a result of their plight, Jews have been able to better sympathize with the struggles facing Blacks. Or maybe it is because the Jewish community knows that if it happens to the Black community it can also happen to them. So for generations, Jews and Blacks have marched together in the streets of Birmingham and Washington, and shared the stage at venues in Harlem and elsewhere.
Our two communities are not afraid to stand side by side, continually defying those who would prefer to see us behind solitary bars and forgotten, not in front of cheering crowds. Rabbi Schneier and I travel the country sharing these stories, discussing our tale with anyone who will listen - Blacks, Jews, or otherwise. This is true in synagogues and churches as well as college universities like Queens College - which Rabbi Schneier and I will address next week.
Despite the years of anti-Semitism, the Jewish community has not let the hatred of others hinder their ambitions or drive for success.
The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews | HuffPost
The Jews have been resourceful and have stood together and time and time again prospered in business, medicine, law and entertainment. This is a great example of what a tight knit family and education can accomplish even against a world filled with shut doors and hate.
While I have many first hand experiences in records, jewelry, fashion, internet, TV, film, financial services, and much more, I have also noticed Jay Z, Puffy, and most of hip-hop out-branding the record business that is dying its own death, and building partnerships in areas previously reserved for white men. Both Jay Z and Puffy are truly creative entrepreneurs, and both have learned a lot of these skills from their Jewish partners and suppliers.