The Sterling Shuffle: Unpacking White Jewish Racism

white jewish racismEvery Sunday for the past several years the mug of real estate mogul and L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling has commanded prime ad space in the Los Angeles Times. Touting Sterling’s philanthropy, these ads often feature grinning photos of prominent African American politicians, religious leaders, and other glad-handing public figures who’ve received hefty donations from his financial empire. After TMZ revealed a recording of Sterling’s racist comments about black people to girlfriend V. Stiviano, President Obama and other dignitaries were swift to condemn him. On Monday it was “shockingly” revealed that Sterling, who is Jewish, went the extra mile with his racism in the recording, contending that “the blacks are treated like dogs” in Israel to Stiviano. Responding to her criticism of this claim, Sterling reiterated that “the black Jews” are “less than” white Jews and that that is the way it should be.

Anti-black racism among white Jewish people is a seldom discussed aspect of the complicated arc of black-Jewish relations in the U.S. Yet Sterling’s comments are noteworthy because they not only highlight the white supremacist bent of Israeli anti-African sentiment but the social construction of Jewish whiteness. Echoing rancher Cliven Bundy’s recent references to blacks thriving under slavery, Sterling expressed the paternalistic view that he “supports” blacks on the team by giving them clothes, houses, and cars. He then blasts Stiviano for comparing anti-black racism and discrimination to the Jewish Holocaust. Implicit in this shutdown is the notion that Jewish suffering under the Holocaust precludes consideration of how white Jews have benefited from institutional and systemic racism.

The illusion of lockstep black-Jewish solidarity on liberal political coalition-building has long masked the reality of white Jewish privilege and investment in white supremacy. This is especially relevant to Sterling (who tellingly changed his name from Tokowitz to the more Anglicized Sterling) because he is a multi-millionaire developer who has also been the subject of two federal racial discrimination lawsuits involving tenants of color.

In her book How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America,  How the Jews Became White Karen Brodkin notes that Jews contrasted themselves with the specter of a “mythic blackness”. Deeply ingrained racial stereotypes of shiftless, lazy, culturally pathological and mentally enslaved blacks—versus “hard working” immigrants streaming through Ellis Island in search of opportunity—have always been a subtext of the American dream. Hence, “mythic blackness” implicitly signified social dysfunction and downward mobility—i.e., the antithesis of American notions of rugged individualism and bootstraps uplift.

This divide allowed Jewish, Irish and other reviled, provisionally white ethnic immigrants to highlight and capitalize on their (relative) whiteness. As Salomon Gruenwald notes in a review of Brodkin’s book, “Jews did not become white because they succeeded in spite of racism, rather, they succeeded because of white racism. Economic and social shifts following WWII reconfigured whiteness in such a way as to allow them—particularly Jewish men—the entitlements that being white brought (like the G.I. Bill and access to the suburbs).”

The long-term economic legacy of these entitlements has been amplified in the post-civil rights era. African Americans of all income levels are hyper-segregated in urban communities heavily impacted by foreclosure, joblessness, predatory lending, subpar schools, racist policing and mass incarceration. And, relative to white working class homeowners, even the most wealthy African Americans are segregated into neighborhoods that have high poverty rates.

As the most segregated racial group in Los Angeles, the socioeconomic divide between blacks and white Jews couldn’t be more profound. Like other European Americans in the post-World War II era, Jews took advantage of New Deal FHA, VA and GI Bill loans (which were denied African Americans) to flee South L.A. and East L.A. neighborhoods and move to wealthier enclaves in West L.A. and the Valley.

Once upon a time, predominantly Mexican-American Boyle Heights was a thriving Jewish enclave. New Deal era affirmative action policies for white people, coupled with the Great Migration of African Americans from the South, facilitated white Jewish upward mobility and assimilation. As Ryan Reft writes on the transformation of Boyle Heights, “the Great Migration led others to rewrite the rules that kept whites separated from non-whites. As a result, definitions of whiteness shifted. Jews now found themselves increasingly included as part of the metropolitan area’s…conception of whiteness, and many took advantage of new housing opportunities.”

sikivu-hutchinson-250Sterling’s racist references to shiftless black untouchables are simply yet another snapshot of how caste, ethnicity and the bootstraps mythology play out in “post-racial” America. And in a country in which the racial wealth gap is most powerfully reflected in corporate real estate and apartheid-level access to private space people of color in particular shouldn’t be shocked or surprised.

Sikivu Hutchinson

To hear the audio taped conversation between Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano, click HERE

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  1. Jon says

    You’re a coward for excusing Jewish racism as white. When non-Jewish whites are accused of racism, Jews are not thrown into the pot. However, when Jews are accused of racism somehow non-Jewish whites are culpable. It’s inconsistent and therefore intellectually and morally bankrupt.

    Jews don’t consider themselves as “white” unless and until it somehow protects or benefits them or otherwise harms whites. See Tim Wise and then see David Sirota. The former is “white” because being so increases his credibility when attacking whites. The latter is “not white” because he gains nothing in his narrative for being so. And so it goes…

    You can lobby for whatever political goal that you have, but you’ll always be dismissed as an intellectual fraud until you summon the courage to reflect a consistency in reality and thus reflect real morality in your arguments.

  2. Donna says

    Not only do they covet their whiteness, but they also reach up to touch their full carat diamond earrings and dare you to use the term “Jew” even if you’re a dear “friend” sharing something you observed. We lost a large contract thanks to a “friend” who called me up on a Saturday night to get some work done, started joking with me about life. She’d been drinking and started saying lots of nonsense. Then still laughing, she asked me if I knew what a “brit brat” was. I laughed and said, “Uh, Prince Harry?”

    She chuckled and said, “no, it’s a Jewish celebration for young girls.”

    I laughed and exclaimed, “you Jew! hahahaha You got me!” We laughed like crazy. We did this often, mixed work with pleasure, per say.

    Well, months go by and something else happens. It’s work related and she doesn’t like my response to her suggestion. She was attempting to walk over us “again,” as if having access to us on Saturday evenings wasn’t enough. I said, “No!” We then negotiated a new contract for the upcoming year.

    Two months into the year, after we provided 262 hours of advance services (we’d negotiated 30/month) for one large marketing project. I told her that if she wanted more hours, she’d have to pay us our hourly rate (it was in the contract). She was outraged. She was no longer my “friend.” While we were out of the country, we received a letter from her HR people…terminated. She told no one why. She told her boss, who likes us and told us, “she said she just wanted to move in a different direction and exercised a clause in the contract.” Then we started getting calls. “She said you were anti-semetic!”

    WOW! Based on? “She said you called her a Jew.” LMAO Definitely a senior – subordinate thing, in my opinion and she felt I had put her in her place in the work arena because of the hours. I overstepped my personal boundaries that, apparently, she had created.

    The Caste system has caused far too many years of hardship in India. It appears the USA is approaching something quite similar and it makes me sick! Not only are we racist because of skin color, but we are also now developing castes based on heritage and culture. Shameful and disgusting.

    I want no parts of it. I want to earn my privileges and respect.

  3. GaryH says

    Exactly, Sterling has conscientiously chosen to be part of the rich class of ethnic racists. And we should be informed of how the history of that transition an betrayal takes place. – Gary

  4. GaryH says

    As usual Sikivu Hutchinson nails it.

    Sam Harris argued in “End of Faith,” that as a society we should stop privileging religion and hold ‘faith” to the same standards of accountability of evidence. We ignore the arrogance of people in sport, and the harm it can do. Competitive sports, especially contact sports, are all about the ritual of competing against and doing harm to others. Whether it is done as a team or as an individual makes no moral difference. Sports is America’s secular religion. If we are rational skeptics we should have some doubts about it’s value and maybe not be so admiring of those who profit from the spectators, just as we should be critical of religious clergy and their followers. Both sports and religion are filled with arrogant self-aggrandizing and self-righteous men who get rich off of human weakness.
    – GaryH

    “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.”
    — George Orwell

    “I want to rip out his heart and feed it to Lennox Lewis. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children.”
    — Mike Tyson

    “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
    — Vince Lombardi

    “Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.
    Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.”
    — Ambrose Bierce

  5. Linda Milazzo says

    There is nothing that is “bullshit” about Hutchinson’s article. To the contrary, it’s well researched and well stated. I’m sorry to hear Peter Dreier’s statement casting this as an ugly, anti-semitic rant. It’s not. It tells the truth about Jewish racism that I’ve seen close up, and perhaps many of you have seen as well, although you may not have paid as close attention as I. I’ve seen that superior attitude on the part of many Jews going back to my early childhood when I was prejudiced against (in my 90% NY Jewish neighborhood) because of my Italian last name. Then, after it was learned that my mother was Jewish, I lived with this oft repeated question and subsequent presumption from many:

    “Why did your mother marry your father? Your grandparents must have been furious.”

    Interesting that there was never a presumption that my Italian Catholic grandparents would have felt that negativity toward my Jewish mother. Of course not.

    I guess none of you have grown up hearing the word “schvartze.” I’ve heard it my entire life, and within a segment of the Jewish community who may be the age of Sterling and his wife, I have a feeling it’s still used in ‘safe like-minded company.’ How many groups employ such universally known terms for “the other” — gentile and goy — the way the Jewish community does? That in itself is quite telling.

    Of course it is absolutely true that a large segment of American Jews are socially minded, fair players toward non-Jewish fellow citizens, but that doesn’t discount the ugliness that has existed for years among Jews who are not socially minded fair players.

    Until members of our Jewish community are willing to honestly address the existence of Jewish bigotry and how hurtful it has been toward Jews and non Jews alike, we will never move forward. We cannot speak truthfully about others until we speak truthfully about ourselves.

  6. ArlineMathews says

    The L.A. Progressive is a misnomer and a lie. You have outdone yourselves this time with your blatant antiSemitism and your frequently published Anti- Jewish garbage. Were another periodical publishing rants from the Ku Klux Klan regularly, you would quickly and rightfully, blast them for their lies and their bigoted crazyness. But if someone trumpets racist junk and outright fabrications against Jews, you run with it without researching in a search for truth. I doubt that you will allow this in your blog as you have censored me before when I denounce your bigotry with facts. Have you no shame?

    The fact that Hutchinson has a Ph.D and was appointed to be “a senior intergroup specialist – or whatever that means, to the Human Relations Commission, does not give her any credibility. Throughout history there are countless Ph.D’s who have participated in slavery, and prejudice of the worst kind. At this moment in time, we have “Tea Partyers” with earned doctorates,mostly as OBGYN’s, who also take idiotic positions on any number of things Including backing up someting one Rep. calls “legitamate rape”. It is an unexplainable anamoly that one side of the brain can comprehend enough to get an education but can’t reason clearly, and is bound by jingoism and prejudices.

    Adam Silver- a Jew, took the harshest stance against bigoted Sterling- also a Jew, and answered the question about his Jewishness with, “I am a human being” as he slapped Sterling appropriately with the harshest sanctions ever handed down, including the ban for life.

    The people who have stood with constancy against prejudice and injustice to blacks, and in numbers like more than 90% have been the Jews, They have not trumpeted their allegiance to black people with words, but by their actions, marching, riding the freedom buses, knowing full well that they would be beaten, harassed, tortured, jailed and sometimes murdered as the two black Jewish kids were who went to Mississippi to register Black voters. Yes, the Klan murdered Goodman, Shwermer and Chaney. They could have stayed in Brooklyn where they would have been safe. They were not the first or the last sticking up for African Americans. The Jews have contributed money, time and energy, and voting and serving, to liberal causes and to civil rights for all

    The discussion of when Jews became white is so ludicrous that most people don’t wish to participate in the foolishness of it. Color of skin, eyes, hair, is immaterial as it is a genetic thing that can and has been changed in a very few generations. The Genes take care of that. European Jews in the North are usually light skinned, while Jews from China and Japan take on the hues of those countries. African Jews are dark. Israel rescued African Jews from Ethiopia and Sudan, by airlifting more than 20,000 of them out of Africa. When nobody would step in to save the Africans. Israel gave them free educations, especially in computer programing, after teaching them Hebrew so that they could conduct themselves while going to school or business, in the language of the country. Israel gave them free medical care and free housing. I know this because I met with the head of the “Falashas,” which is a pajoritive term given them by the Ethiopians. We have many black Jews, and all are equal citizens with everyone else in Israel a dynamic democracy. Israel has no record of keeping slaves, and no history of prejudice against Blacks.

    Color of skin and eyes or hair is considered unimportant to Jews. All that counts is if you are an ethical, loving compassionate, human being who cares about justice for all. Jews above all are bent on doing social justice. That is what we are taught and that is what our beloved fellow Jew and the greatest teacher of our religion, taught as long ago as when he gave the sermon on the Mount. Yes, I am speaking of our family member, Yesua in Hebrew, who you call Jesus – I think that is a greek name. Jesus taught of morals and ethics, concepts which had been unknown in the world before, a world that believed in myths and Gods, where concern for ones fellow human beings were strange and unknown. The Christian followers were Jewish and 35 of them fed to lions.

    Yesua would be ashamed of prejudice on the basis of Color, creed, religion, or what family you were born into without having been given a choice in the matter. Wherever the Prejudice eminates from, including from Jews, Blacks or Latinos would make him ashamed. The Jews will always actively work for justice for the oppressed and the underdog, no matter how badly they are denigrated.

    Have you any idea of where the term Ghetto came from? The word is Italian and it came from the fact that Jews were not allowed to live in the midst of cities with the rest of the populace. They were actually walled in cities within the city. If any of the jews were needed to work within the City, they had to have a special pass, to enter.
    In Eastern Europe these walled off Ghettos or the villages called Shtetles, were regularly attacked by ruffians and by Cossacks. Often the girls were raped. Maybe that is how the skin color became lighter in North Eastern Europe.

    In Spain Jews were put on the rack during the inquisition and many escaped to Africa- To Morocco and Algeria. In recent years, after living in these places for hundreds of years they have been kicked out. Israel took them in and sometimes their skin is darker. Who the hell cares what skin color they have. All that matters is if they are good people. Jews were even blamed for the Bubonic Plague in the Middle ages, which made them flee Northward.

    The ravings of Ms. Hutchinson should be considered much like Donald Sterlings ravings and bigoted rantings. She should be kicked off of the Human Relations Board for Life, or as senior whatever.
    Without any proof of any kind she portrays Jews as having gotten ahead financially because of the injustices in this country suffered by African Americana. Totally untrue! EDUCATION, was the way out of the morass and hatred of Jews. As a child I used to see signs outside of hotels and restaurants that said “No Jews, no dogs allowed,” it was commonplace.
    To this day Jews cannot get on the Boards of the big Corporations, such as oil companies, insurance, and automobile industries. They have had to be inventive.

    To make it in America, they had to first learn the English language, become doctors, lawyers, researchers, engineers, architects, invent the garment industry and the movie business, because they were not welcome in the big corporations. Your anti- Semitic author blames the government policies established under FDR, such as the G.I. Bill for Jewish success, and lack of sucess for others, for in her IGNORANCE, SHE CLAIMS THAT BLACKS WERE DENIED ACCESS TO THE G.I. BILL. SHE MADE THAT LIE UP. It simply allowed Vets to buy a house with no money down payment, and to get a government paid for education. This woman makes up baloney as she goes along. Yet apparently you want to believe her.
    Again, I am sorry thet you have no appreciation of your trueist friends and allies. Martin Luther King loved and appreciated us so much as we marched with, and supported him in every way. Oh I could go on and on, with more information about how much Jewish support for your goals has been. Well just one example: The NAACP was founded originally by Jews, including the great Jewish Composer George Gershwin who wrote the Jazz Opera Porgy and Bess, at a time when Black people were so steriotypped. He brought out the humanity and brought a measure of sympathey for the African Americans. The road to equality coculd not be won at once and we are still fighting for it, but for God’s sake don’t join with the haters.

    Don’t publish and carry the propaganda , the ignorant lies, and don’t disgard the long standing friendship of the one group of people, with very few exceptions, who almost to a man has stood by you.

    • jk2001 says

      I’m not going to answer for Hutchinson, but the specifics of “becoming white” were listed in the article.

  7. Deborah Martin says

    Dr. Hutchinson, THANK YOU for suech a well stated, well thought out article. The only thing left out is the legacy of Jews in the slave trade (Lehman Brothers).

    • Rick Chertoff says

      The real irony here is that Ms. Hutchinson actually has important things to say to Jews and to society- including people of color. Problem is, she has invalidated her contribution of those things by stereotyping Jews with jaw-dropping inaccuracy, backed up by shody scholarship. For example, her getting the name of the book wrong; the name of the book is “How Jews Became White Folk”. Having brought together a reading group around that specific book, I can tell you that Karen Brodkin does not characterize Jews as any more or less racist than anyone else who is socially constructed as “White”. So when Ms. Hutchison says “The illusion of lockstep black-Jewish solidarity on liberal political coalition-building has long masked the reality of white Jewish privilege and investment in white supremacy”.. She is talking through her hat. As for Jews in the Slave Trade, why not break it down to Portuguese, French, et al? The implication is Racist, and she owes the Jewish Community an apology as much as Mr. Sterling owe everyone he defamed one. “Investment in white supremacy”? And with no supporting evidence? Dr. Dreier is right: BS…..Come on Ms. Hutchison, you can do better.

      • jk2001 says

        I’m not going to answer for Hutchinson, but I didn’t read anything in her article that said Jews were more racist than other ethnic groups that gained entry into whiteness.

        What I thought it did was generalize on what expand on what Sterling said, which was that he wasn’t interested in challenging the racial hierarchy. His behavior also reinforces the racial hierarchy.

      • jk2001 says

        Am I just not catching something anti-semitic in the text? I am starting to wonder, because a few anti-semitic-seeming posts were made. Is this “dog whistle” messaging going on?

  8. Richard says

    BTW black Jews and non- Jewish blacks in Isreal are treated equally if not better than non-white Jews. Blacks in the USA face far more bigotry.

  9. Richard says

    Disgusting article by a disgusting human being. I am ceaselessly shocked at how ungrateful African Americans are toward the tremendous effort and lives given by Jews to uplift them from white American racism which is almost uniformly wasp and white catholic. This is how you thank us, sikvu?

  10. Megan says

    “Responding to her criticism of this claim, Sterling reiterated that “the black Jews” are “less than” white Jews and that that is the way it should be.”

    This is not an accurate summary of what Sterling said:
    “V: And is that right?
    DS: It isn’t a question—we don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong, we live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.
    V: But shouldn’t we take a stand for what’s wrong? And be the change and the difference?
    DS: I don’t want to change the culture, because I can’t. It’s too big and too [unknown].”

    He was not saying things are “the way it should be,” he was absenting himself from having any power to either support or deconstruct racism. His overall theme in the recordings was that he’s not racist against black people, but the people he socializes with will hassle him if she is seen with them. Whatever he espouses, it all seems to be in the context of controlling his girlfriend.

    • jk2001 says

      Yet, he owned apartment buildings and didn’t allow Black and Brown people to live in them. So, he did perpetuate a racist culture.

  11. PeterDreier says

    LA Progressive is one of my favorite websites and I’m pleased to write for it. But today it published this incredibly ugly anti-Semitic article, “The Sterling Shuffle: Unpacking White Jewish Racism,” by Sikivu Hutchinson, who apparently has a PhD and, ironically, serves as a consultant to the LA County Human Relations Commission.

    My first instinct was to ignore this outrageous article rather than draw attention to it. But experience shows that when bigotry rears its ugly head, you have to confront it rather than try to sweep it under the rug, hoping it will disappear.

    Not to mince words, Dr. Hutchinson’s article is bullshit. I’ve criticized Donald Sterling’s history of racism, including my article Sunday posted on the LA Progressive website. But Dr. Hutchinson’s use of Sterling’s ugly racism to attack Jews in general is to engage in an outrageous anti-Semitic stereotype.

    Of course there are Jewish racists, just like there are Irish American racists, Italian American racists, Polish American racists, Protestant racists, Catholic racist, Muslim racists, Latino racists, Black racists (Clarence Thomas?), gay racists, straight racists, poor racists, rich racists, and middle class racists.

    But are Jews MORE racist than other white people or other (predominantly) middle class people?

    To the contrary. Compared with other white Americans and other middle class Americans, Jews have long been, and still are, much more progressive in terms of both attitudes and actions. This was true when most Jews were working class immigrants in the early 1900s, when most Jews were moving into the middle class after World War 2 and through the 1960s but still faced widespread anti-Semitism in education, business, social clubs, and the professions, and during the past 50 years when many of those anti-Semitic barriers began to fall, although anti-Semitism (including anti-Semitic violence, as we saw in Kansas City a few weeks ago) hasn’t disappeared.

    Survey after survey reveals that Jews are much less bigoted in terms of racist stereotypes and attitudes about African Americans. Year after year since the early 1900s, Jewish voting behavior is overwhelmingly Democratic, more so than any other group except African Americans. Moreover, Jewish voters are much more likely to vote for Black candidates than other white voters. For example, in 1972, Jewish voters in Los Angeles joined forces with Black voters to elect Tom Bradley as the first Black mayor of a majority-white city. In 1982, when Bradley ran for governor of California, a majority of white Californians voted for George Deukmejian, a conservative Republican for governor, but 81% of Jews voted for Bradley.

    Fast-forward to 2008. That year, only 43% of white voters, but 78% of Jewish voters, voted for Obama against John McCain. That year, 67% of Latinos and 62% of Asian American voters supported Obama — less than the Jewish vote for the first African American president. In 2012, 39% of white voters, and 69% of Jewish voters, voted for Obama over Romney. That’s not simply a minor difference; that’s a huge landslide of Jews for Obama.

    But it goes beyond voting. since the early 1900s Jews have been disproportionately involved in progressive movements. This was particularly true of the civil rights movement of the1950s and 60s (in which Jews were a major force in both the North and South), but it remains true in the civil rights movements of the 2000s, such as the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina, gay rights, women’s rights, and struggles over fair housing and school integration.

    There are lots of theories about why Jews continue to be more progressive and liberal than other white groups, but the facts are the facts. Hutchinson is entitled to her opinion but she’s not entitled to make up her own facts. Her PhD and her membership on the Human Relations Commission are nice credentials, but they can’t hide her anti-Semitism.

  12. JoeWeinstein says

    Within the USA, anti-black racism comes attached to folk of various
    backgrounds, but somehow it’s rarely if ever called White Catholic or White
    Lutheran or White Irish or White Polish or White Welsh. Occasionally it’s tagged White Mormon, but here we have it straight from Sikivu: the real racism problem in the USA that needs to be ‘unpacked’ has gotta be White Jewish. Anyhow, here Sikivu has found her trusted expert on racism, and conveniently he happens to be Jewish. He may be an anti-model for the great majority of ordinary USA Jews, but he’s Sikivu’s trusted source.

    Yes, Sikivu really trusts Mr Sterling. And of course, as Jews obviously all must think alike and act alike, he’s not only gotta be telling the truth as he sees it but must be an expert on everything Jewish. And if he projects his sentiments onto Israelis – why, he must be telling the absolute truth.

    And so Sikivu conjures up an alleged ‘white supremacist bent of Israeli anti-African sentiment ‘ – a phrase which both falsifies actual Israeli ‘sentiment’ and moreover mostly falsifies the actual and observable deeds and facts. The facts tell a mixed but mostly opposite story. Israel’s worst-ever role in Africa – no worse than that of the USA or many other nations – was the connection with South Africa to enable developing an independent nuclear deterrent and to keep the flow of uncut diamonds to Israel’s expert diamond cutters. (And the sentiment in Israel which guided this connection was not white supremacy but guaranteeing national survival.) From the start, Israel – far more than any of her Islamic Mideast and North African neighbors, or for that matter even of the USA and most European nations – was a friend and supporter of newly independent black African nations. And in recent years, thousands of black African refugees from persecutions in Sudan and neighboring lands have trekked across the desert to seek asylum not in the large and nearer Moslem nations, where they are unconditionally not welcome at all, but further on to tiny Israel – which reluctantly has had to limit the number of allowed asylum seekers. Not to mention Israel’s absorption of and eventual acceptance of and finally even pride in thousands of black Ethiopian Jews whose traditions seemed at first disconcertingly different from the 2000-year practices of rabbinic Judaism to which almost all other Jewish groups in Israel were accustomed.

    Sikivu is fascinated by how we USA Jews got to be ‘whites’. Actually, some of us are black, not white. And by her actual account, Jews are no different from other ‘white’ groups in historically perhaps profiting economically from the suppression of one possibly otherwise-competing group.

    but simply makes a vague statement about sentiments. hypothesizes a sentiment. and then ‘social construction of Jewish whiteness’. Note that both phrases are the first phrase phrase is an hypotheses about sentiments, and says nothing about actual deeds and facts. Convenient, but self-discrediting and self-deluding.

    Very convenient indeed. Ignoring of course the facts. that, far more than any of the Islamic Middle East and North African nations, from the start Israel has been PRO-black African independence. none have been more PRO-black-Africa than Israel. Black African refugees from persecutions in Sudan and neighboring lands have made their way across the deserts to seek refuge – not in the nearby Moslem nations, where they are not welcome at all – but further on to tiny Israel – which reluctantly has finally decided it cannot allow many more asylum seekers. – it cannot afford to be the prime refuge for an entire half-continent of the persecuted.
    figures his words on Israeli society I guess she really trusts Mr Sterling to tell the highest and fullest truth about a society he doesn’t live in – Israel.

  13. PeterDreier says

    This article is bullshit. To use Donald Sterling’s ugly racism to attack Jews is outrageous, bordering on anti-Semitism — in other words, an ugly stereotype. Of course there are Jewish racists. But are Jews MORE racist than other white people or other (predominantly) middle class people. To the contrary. Compared with other white Americans and other middle class Americans, Jews are more progressive in terms of both attitudes and actions. Survey after survey reveals that Jews are less bigoted in terms of racist stereotypes and attitudes about African Americans. Year after year, Jewish voting behavior is overwhelmingly Democratic, more so than any other group except African Americans. Jewish voters are much more likely to vote for Black candidates than other white voters. Jewish are disproportionately involved in progressive movements, not simply the civil rights movement of the1950s and 60s, but the civil rights movement of the 2000s, such as the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina, gay rights, women’s rights, and struggles over fair housing and school integration. Hutchinson is entitled to her opinion but she’s not entitled to make up facts. Her PhD and her membership on the Human Relations Commission are nice credentials, but they can’t hide her anti-Semitism.

  14. Steve Hochstadt says

    Sikivu Hutchinson takes one Jewish man’s racism and creates “white Jewish racism”. She equates Sterling’s appalling remarks with Cliven Bundy’s much more appalling beliefs. She claims that the undoubted benefits of being white that accrued to Jews after 1945, after centuries of antisemitic discrimination, prove that Jews were racists. Jewish upward mobility becomes proof of Jewish racism.

    Jews were not the model minority as they have liked to portray themselves. There have always been Jewish racists, including in my own persecuted family. But Hutchinson’s brush is too broad, taking Sterling as typically Jewish in his racism. Why not mention NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who just barred Sterling from the NBA for life, as a typically Jewish anti-racist?

    Steve Hochstadt

    • Redmond Jennings says

      Tell us more about Jews and how “they have liked to portray themselves,” please. You just threw that out there and walked away from it.

    • jk2001 says

      Culture is made a little bit at a time, and the bit that Sterling is contributing is the continuation of a white supremacist ideology. His removal from the NBA, his ostracism by Jewish leaders (including Silver), remakes culture a little bit, reducing the racism a little bit.

      And the little bits that they’re doing are larger than the tiny bits that us regular people can do. That’s why we need to band together to make them do what’s right.

  15. harry says

    I hope everyone takes notice that this recording of Sterling (both of them) were made by a person he should not have trusted. While what he said was more than awful under any circumstances, it was said under circumstances where his privacy was violated and against state law. This brings up the point of will anyone suffer for making this private conversation public? Which of us does not have some private thoughts we do not wish to be made public?
    If you wish to comment on my post let it be noted that I am exercising my free speech rights, such as Snowden has done. I also note that I am from a mixed racial family, such as one that manages this site. I may have taken more mixed race showers than they have and mine were taken with members of the same sex as I. I have found the world to be quite complicated and stuff happens every day that we wish did not. America signed a document stating it would come to the aid of a country if it would give up all it’s nuclear weapons. It did give up all nuclear weapons, was attacked, and we did not deliver the aid as promised.
    Historical note; the Jews have been known as hard workers for thousands of years and was one reason Muslims allowed Jews to live among them plus Jews, like Christians, are people of the book. Viel gluck and Laus Deo.

  16. rrp says

    I don’t see how Sterling’s racism is peculiarly Jewish. The relationship between blacks and Jews in the USA is a complicated story. There’s cooperation and there’s conflict here. Yes, Jews became white, as did just about every other group that could, but how is that news?

    There’s no lock-step myth, except to people who are not paying attention to history.

    • jk2001 says

      It’s not discussed that much. Particularly, what’s not raised is that becoming white need not include becoming a white racist — but sometimes, that is what happens. Why? Are there pivotal moments when white ethnics feel induced to adopt and enact white supremacist behavior? It it more of an ambient thing, where everyone just senses racism is what should be reinforced?

      I wonder about this because I’m Asian, and feel we’re sometimes put in this position of choosing sides. (I happen to feel that Asians who support racism are dupes, because I have yet to see Asian Americans considered to be white. I’m just one data point, and judging from my decision to attend the demonstration today, perhaps an odd data point.)

      Also, it makes me wonder about high-profile people like Larry Elder. He backed up Sterling almost reflexively, and have to wonder what’s going on in his mind.

  17. Ari Regar M.A., MFTI says

    Racism is Racism no matter who is saying it. Those that are validating this unsophisticated article are projecting their own underlying antisemitism; simply believing one ignorant billionaires views are what the majority of Jews think. I’m a Jew, does that make me a racist. The answer is no. Jewish establishments are the most targeted by hate crimes and terror groups, and their are those of all race, religion, and creed who vehemently deny the holocaust ever happened. How about we speak out against any and all racism, instead of scapegoating baseless opinions and twisting them through prejudicial bias. Shalom.

    • Dex Sims says

      It’s not about you being an individual racist. It’s about America being a White supremacist country and White Jews, like other White people, reaping benefits from being White. No one said that anti-Semitic attacks have gone away. They haven’t. It’s not about individual racism either. We’re talking about institutional racism. Institutional racism denies Black and Brown people housing opportunities and decent jobs. It confines them into unsafe neighborhoods and substandard educational opportunities. It shortens their life spans. It targets them from police harassment and ill treatment by the criminal justice system

  18. jk2001 says

    I like the article. She’s not ignoring the alliance, but pointing out the limitations of the story of Black-Jewish alliance, which doesn’t discuss the fact that Jews became considered white after WW2, and were allowed to live in white communities by the 70s. Unlike most articles about Sterling, that simply assume his whiteness is a constant, Hutchinson goes into the process by which Jews became considered white. In Sterling’s case, he was not born white, not in the least. Jews were segregated and lived with Black, Brown, and Yellow people in ethnic ghettos. He experienced the entry of Jews into white society through his 20s and 30s.

    I don’t think this transformation into whiteness is as smooth as it seems. There has to be a lot of internal conflict. In some ways, this story is tragic. Sterling may have become something his younger self would have despised or feared. He sacrificed his own dignity, and rose to power by denigrating others, by replicating the system of white supremacist ideology within him. Now he’s become the forbidden person, not only for what he’s done to people of color, but what he represents to the larger white society as well.

    The fight against racism in the US is ultimately a fight against the ideology of white supremacy, and it needs to be carried out by everyone.

  19. nyesq1 says

    Did you express the same level of moral outrage when Jeremiah Wright and Farakhan denounce Jews daily from the pulpit?

  20. spicegirl says

    Dr. Hutchinson.Your article deeply offends me and unconstructive. There’s an unbreakable bond between these 2 groups of people. Over 80% of Jews voted for PBO and love him. You completely ignore the fact it was the Jewish kids, like Goodman and Schwerner, who died for the Civil Rights Movement and supported MLK. You are a hypocrite, also. You condemn those who generalize, while doing the same yourself.

    • Dex Sims says

      What is your point? The fact that Jews helped out during the civil rights movement doesn’t negate the fact that they benefited from being White. What is it about White privilege that you do not understand? Immigrants from Europe, no matter their religion, were able to become White in America and reap all the benefit that being White brings. Black people who’ve been here for over 300 years could never do that and still can’t. Jews in America haven’t had it nearly as hard as Black people have had it and still have it. The White skin is the reason

      • spicegirl says

        Don’t give me this shit–I live it everyday. I’m a criminal defense attorney–I see what happens to minorities in the system….My POINT is–these 2 oppressed groups—let’s not forget 6 MILLION Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust, have always supported each other, generally.

        One man makes a racist comment— and this ignorant author tries to make a pattern out of it–that’s what salient here.

        • Dex Sims says

          The genocide against the Jews of Europe was horrific and it still needs to be talked about. But no one ever talks about the genocide committed by Belgium against the people of the Congo back in the early part of the 20th century, where 10 million Africans were killed. No one talks about Germany’s slaughter of the Herero people in modern-day Namibia when happened in the early 1900s. Why? Because the lives of Europeans are considered more valuable than the lives of everyone else.

          But let’s bring it closer to home. In the USA, there was a holocaust which happened to the Indigenous people. Millions of them were wiped out by imperialism, disease, white supremacy and warfare, then the survivors were put on so-called reservations while the rest of their land was taken from them and used by Europeans. Also, the holocaust of the middle passage, where millions of Africans like my ancestors were kidnapped and put on ships to be slaves for Europeans in the Americas. Millions died along the journey. Their languages, cultures, heritages and freedom were taken away. They because farm equipment for Europeans, worked from sunup to sundown every day for the rest of their lives. America and Europe got rich (and are still getting rich) of the backs of my ancestors and the resources stolen from Indigenous people in the Americas, in Africa itself, Australia, the Middle East, and Asia. So yes. Being white affords you a lot of advantages that nonwhites aren’t afforded

  21. jk2001 says

    That’s a new one. I’ve never been called a Nazi Muslim. I thought being called a Nazi fascist communist was the high water mark for weird juxtapositions, but I think German National Socialist Islam is the new benchmark.

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