We all want to claim the high road when we discuss issues of race. Very few consider themselves to be a racist, and more than likely most aren’t.
I am not immune in my life of hearing jokes with racial overtones. I doubt anyone can claim that. And there have been outright racial statements in conversations with family and friends. That’s a truth.
But there has also been a change over time, a social evolution brought on by education and an understanding of one another. When an older family member made a racial statement that did not jive with what was happening in the classroom or on the team, a realignment of the truth took place.
Prejudice is always rooted in ignorance.
Faith is also a common ground that overcomes racial bias and bigotry. From the Sunday school song that teaches us that Jesus loves all the little children, “red and yellow, black and white, they’re all precious in his sight,” we know that God doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we.
What we are seeing today with the antisemitism pervading our young people is abhorrent and rooted in ignorance.
A recent altercation in a coffee shop in Oakland demonstrated how easy the academically elite can go wrong. A Jewish woman used the restroom in the coffee shop and found anti-semitic writings on the mirror. Upon exiting the restroom, she decided she wanted to take a video of what was on the mirror, which said, “Zionism = Fascism,” among other things, and the workers initially refused her access.
When she finally made her way back to the restroom and recorded what was on the walls, she was met with more hostility on the way out, with the young workers saying, “We’re proud of what is there,” and “The world didn’t start in 1948,” a reference to the founding of Israel after World War II.
What is missing here, and also missing in American society with dealing with our own history, is the recognition of the Jewish Holocaust. In America it is the recognition of slavery.
The idea that the world didn’t start in 1948 is naive.
Likewise, the world didn’t start in 678, when Muslims took control of the first city in Israel. Nor did it begin in 1099 when the Crusaders retook Jerusalem.
And the battle for control continued until the modern-day creation of Israel as the only Jewish nation on the planet.
But these claims of 1948 ignore the atrocities faced by Jews in Europe.
Another lesson in history might teach these academic geniuses that Jews, or Hebrews, were native to what we call the Middle East. They were not European in the sense of the caucasian today, but they were and are descendants from Israel.
The marchers on college campuses are historically inaccurate in claiming that Palestinians are the only legitimate heirs to the land. Truth be told no one can make that claim. The best that can take place in Israel is to try and hold off the invaders at the gate as has been taking place for thousands of years.
But what has been injected into the conversation from abroad is the concept of racism, particularly this misplaced concept that Jews are caucasian, and therefore colonizers, which means anything goes.
Throw “colonizers” into the discussion, and the far left will condone any action, terrorism or otherwise, against them.
Even the Democratic Congresswoman from the Kansas City, Kan., area wore a shirt that said, “All my heroes killed colonizers,” and she has been re-elected.
Jewish people weren’t colonizers to Israel genealogically. They may have moved throughout Europe, but so have Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and everyone else. Returning to an ancestral home is much different than being a colonizer.
The European settlers along the Atlantic coastline of America were colonizers. That doesn’t make them evil, it just means they were seeking a different life than what they had in Europe, and they came to the New World to find it. Battles ensued over the land, and the colonizers won.
By the way, the Native Americans were no such thing, either. Human life was not “native” to North America. The Native Americas were also colonizers from Asia when they crossed the Bering Strait generations before the Europeans did. And they did not have the technology, resources, and in some cases the immunity from the European diseases, to withstand the influx from Europe.
Nevertheless, the truth is the Jewish people have more of a claim to Israel than Europeans would have to North America from a genealogy standpoint.
Those marching on college campuses are only looking at 70 years of history when they should be looking at 7,000.
But sympathy for historic wrongs cannot be overlooked, either. The Holocaust affected the entire world, and the entire world had to come together to create a solution. They did with the establishment of Israel. We could never again allow the systematic genocide of 6 million people for their race.
We also have to realize that slavery requires a sympathetic response for historic wrongs.
It doesn’t mean reparations. It doesn’t mean favoritism. But it does mean the acknowledgement of a wrong. It does require a bridge to equality.
That bridge must be built with the same infrastructure that defeats all prejudice — education.
We all must understand the wrongs of slavery, but we also must provide all races with a quality education. A society of equals on this planet requires a society with historic understanding. Our academic elite are dumb smart people, and our minorities are provided a subpar education. That’s what’s wrong in the world.
Earl Watt is the owner and publisher of the Leader & Times in Liberal, Kansas. Watt started his career in journalism in 1991 at the Southwest Daily Times. During his career, the newspaper has won a total of 17 Sweepstakes awards from the Kansas Press Association for editorial content and 18 Sweepstakes awards for advertising. Watt has been recognized with more than 70 first place awards for writing in categories from sports and column to best front pages, best sports pages and best opinion pages. Watt is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and is the descendant of several patriots who fought for America's freedom and independence.