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It isn’t just about the Western world against everyone else. It isn’t just about whites against blacks. It isn’t just about one place and their people pitted against other people. Race isn’t even the only factor, it’s race, sexuality, religion, and so many other things. Wherever there are differences, people strive to create some sort of hierarchy.
Every ethnic group, every religious group, every group of people you could possibly consider probably sets their group apart from the rest in some way. Whether it’s considered racist, or otherwise, prejudiced depends on who’s judging.
An example that comes to mind is that, in the context of the Hindu caste system, converts away from Hinduism lose their caste, or in some cases, dropped to the bottom of the ladder. Yet in the Abrahamic faiths, Hindus are not looked upon kindly. I could probably rattle off a whole list of examples. Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, Hutu and Tutsi, ethnic Spanish and ethnic Indians, straight people and gay people, and so on. This is not to say all people in either camp necessarily follow that outlook, since that is certainly not the case. Some people don’t see race, religion, or sexuality. Some people do. Everyone sees it differently.
I guess I started thinking about this after seeing this link. The post starts out with an excerpt from a site evidently promoting white pride, but at the end, the author reveals that he had in fact, taken it off of a Jewish pride site and had replaced “Jew” and “Israel” with “white” and “Europe.” I remember distinctly starting out reading the post thinking “oh how awful” but when I saw that it was, in fact, from a Jewish website, it didn’t feel as bad. And then I thought, why is one any better than another?
I suppose in this case, it’s not quite as clean a substitution as one might think. “White pride” generally carries a strong negative connotation to begin with, owing to its association with such groups as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist groups. Just substituting “white” and “Europe” results in an entirely different reading, given that context.
The Jews, meanwhile, have a strong religious connection with Israel, not just a cultural one. Their connection has not yet been watered down as strongly as the white connection to Europe, in most cases. Whites (at least Western European whites) have been in this country since its inception, for the most part. Jews have been around since the latter half of the 19th century, for the most part. In considering the various sects of Judaism that exist, and how some are shrinking rapidly (some Sephardi sects come to mind) why wouldn’t some Jews call for a return to intra-religious marriage, within their sects? Maybe it’s because I’ve been raised to marry someone who is the same caste and same religion, I don’t see it as totally radical.
Yet there were people who commented on this post that felt very strongly about it. Some condemned the word subsitution, some condemned the Jewish site, some just condemned the concepts on either side. Try substituting your words of choice…does it read differently? Why?
We shouldn’t see it differently. We shouldn’t praise one and condemn another. There shouldn’t be boundaries to begin with, but since it’s too late to dismantle some of them, let us try to respect them…so long as these boundaries and notions do not cause undue pain and suffering to another. We are all, after all, human first.