A Common Thread

Something that has always intrigued me is whether the Jewish people feel as strong about the Holocaust as African Americans do about slavery? Honestly we could debate all day about who had it worse. Whenever I’ve been in a class where either of the subjects come up, it seems African Americans have more to say about slavery than the Jewish people do about the Holocaust. I always wonder why African Americans seem to get more upset?

Jewish children in Holocaust camp

I’ve never heard a Jewish person get overly upset about what happen during the Holocaust, but plenty of times I’ve seen a black person really take slavery to heart. African Americans and Jewish people both faced a form of discrimination. It’s not like it’s a part of either groups history that can be ignored. It’s written in history books and talked about everyday.  Has anyone else been wondering about this?

African Americans during slavery

6 thoughts on “A Common Thread

  1. Really, because I don’t know what part of the country you live in, but I live in the Northeast where there is a very strong Jewish presence and believe me, we know they are still upset about the Holocaust.

    The tone of your post also implies that somehow African-Americans are overly sensitive to the issue. This could be because there was not adequate resolution to the situation. After the Holocaust, there were trials and those that profited from it were required to compensate the Jewish families affected. No such thing as happened for slavery.

    Plus, without even thinking about it, I can name at least 50 feature movies/documentaries/books, etc. regarding the Holocaust. There are museums all over the Western World dedicated to it. Can the same be said for slavery? So maybe some of the sensitivity comes from a lack of closure.

    There was also not almost 100 years of Jim Crow after the Holocaust, further stunting the ecomonic and political development of Jewish people. No police oppression, job discrimmination or underfunded public schools.

    The Jewish people are allowed to say, “Never forget.” while black people are always told to. “Get over it.”.

    1. I stay in the south. I’m from Florida so it’s definitely a different vibe where ever you go. But I guess that’s the whole point, like for black people it does seem like we’re supposed to just get over it, but
      how can you get over, let alone forget something that’s part of your history as a people? And I do believe that lack of closure could be part of the reason why African Americans still have such
      strong feelings about the issue. But from where I’m from, it’s like I’ve never seen a Jewish person have the same reaction as an African American…and I just found it to be odd considering
      that both situations aren’t anything to be taken lightly, you know?

  2. I wonder if perhaps a piece of it has to do with the fact that the Jewish people have spent a majority of their existence as a nation going in and out of one form of slavery or another. Their nation was founded in slavery to the Egyptians then suffered at the hands of the Midianites, Philistines and Edomites. Then their nation was taken by the Assyrians and Baylonians, the Greeks, the Romans. Later the Russian pogroms, mistreatment in Europe. It seems that persecution is part of their national identity that they have learned to assimilate expect and rise above even while facing and fighting head on…Thus you have the current battle with Iran, PLO, and others over the West Bank and Gaza

    1. The “Isrealites enslaved in Egypt” history is really only part of the Bible which is sketchy as a historical document at best. There has been no real archeological or anthropological evidence of Egyptian slavery of the Hebrew people. There’s no evidence of a mass Exodus, which I think would have been at least mentioned in Egypt’s detailed records.

  3. I have to agree with swandiver’s first post. First, may I ask if you know any Jews? I was born and raised in NY and my first best friend was Jewish. The Jewish people NEVER forget the holocaust. They are taught to remember and the history is passed from one generation to the next. That could be why they don’t talk about it as much (not sure if that is really true). But the knowledge is there.

    African Americans don’t pass their history down in the same manner. I don’t mean to offend, but I think your post speaks to your youth (that’s if you are really a young black female) 😉

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