‘I support my Jewish friends’ meme not enough to stop hate speech
There is a well-meaning post on social media circulating, and perhaps still circulating, “I support my Jewish friends and the Jewish people.”
While meant to be a nice gesture to counter Ye’s (Kayne West) recent stunts, it’s not a Jewish problem, but part of a growing societal crisis that affects all races, all religions, all peoples. genders, all creeds.
Assaults on Asians, Blacks, Latinos and Muslims make every act more and more gruesome. We shake our heads and say what a shame as we go about our lives.
The solution is a simple remedy; all our voices together can indeed stop any hateful action of racism, homophobia, sexism as well as anti-Semitism.
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We must all publicly and loudly support all groups that are stained by hate speech and violence, however insignificant that may seem. We must challenge our friends, our relatives, our elected officials, businesses, large and small, for their indifference to acts of discrimination.
And since words can be seen as meaningless without actual actions, our voices and behaviors must be authentic, continuous and honest. Because left unanswered, these words of hate become acts of terror.
Our commitment to end hate speech and violence is not a single resolution that will end these growing explosions in our world.
Each of us, 100% of the time, can put a lid on this Pandora’s box of growing hate and carnage.
And while most of us have good intentions, let’s take stock of our own actions.
Declaring that you are not a fanatic when you say things against a group of people, no matter how minor for you, you are still a fanatic.
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To proclaim yourself non-racist, while you are part of racist actions, such as excluding black people or Hispanics from your organizations and events, you are a racist.
Saying you’re not homophobic, when you still belong to a religion that condemns LGBTQ+, yes, you’re encouraging anti-homophobic behavior.
And to declare that you will end violence when you live in a neighborhood where there is no violence, to refuse to allow social housing in your neighborhood while supporting homelessness initiatives, to say you defend women while voting against her right to control your own body, to say you are for equal rights while voting for a misogynist, you are worse than a hypocrite. You are indeed promoting more hate speech and violence.
It is not our government and our civic leaders who will end our hatred of others, it is we who will stop this escalating and dividing mindset.
We must wonder about the motives behind all these photos of smiling clergy with elected officials. Do they engage in meaningful dialogue to exchange ideas, or do they just show what a “good” person is?
We need to ask our elected officials what exactly they are doing to stop crime and homelessness, and all the ills in our world. And we must never accept their platitudes.
When one of our elected or civic leaders degrades another group, we must challenge them and we must refuse to be, and convince others not to be, drawn into their trap of indoctrination.
When a company sides with bigots and racists, we write to them and their boards and urge others to stop buying their products.
As one woman wrote, “Any speech that devalues and disrespects others should be considered a grave stain on our society.”
Your power is your voice, your vote and your wallet.
Hate speech and violence will only stop when we all stop – 100% of the time.
Honi Marleen Goldman, originally from Louisville, is a community activist who has led many grassroots movements for women’s rights. She often writes about Jewish holidays, social issues and cooking.