In comments, Destinee wrote:
As a black woman, I am befuddled by the excessive focus on Jewish issues at Alas this past month.
Given that it was black people who built America as slaves, black people who had to fight for desegregation and civil rights less than 50 years ago, black people who continue to face hardships in housing/education/worklife, etc, given all of that, why is there no focus on black issues at Alas?
I am not saying as a Jewish person, you do not experience discrimination; I am saying that as a Jewish person who is more likely to pass as white than as any other racial background, you have it much easier than a black woman like myself who struggles each day because of the color of my skin.
Thanks for commenting, Destinee.
I don’t recall if you’ve posted on “Alas” before, so I’m not sure if you’re a longtime reader or not. Since “Alas” began, there have been 581 posts in the “racism” category,1 and 68 posts in the “antisemitism” category. I’m not saying that 581 posts is “enough,” and of course not all those posts are substantive, but I don’t think anyone who’s been following “Alas” for long would say that we write more about Jewish issues than black issues.
I am personally committed to continuing to write anti-racist posts on “Alas,” and I know other “Alas” posters are, too.
It is true that there have been an unusually high number of posts about Jewish issues in the last month or two.
That said, I don’t share the approach to blogging that your critique suggests, and I make no apology for the recent surge of posts about Jewish issues. With all due respect, it’s wrong for a non-Jew (assuming you’re not Jewish) to criticize Jewish bloggers2 for an “excessive” focus on Jewish issues. It’s not up to you, as a non-Jew, to tell Jews the appropriate amount of focus on Jewish issues.
If the US government concentrated more on antisemitism than racism, that would be wrong — because, like you, I think that POC in the US have more urgent issues than Jews in the US do, and the government is obliged to represent all of us.3 Large news organizations, whose mission is to cover news as a whole, have a similar obligation to make sure their coverage reflects the demographics and real needs of society as a whole.
But “Alas” is a blog, not a news organization or a government agency. And what we blog about is determined by what the “Alas” writers are passionate about blogging about, and also what our schedules are like.
As it happens, there’s usually much more blogging about race issues than Jewish issues on “Alas.” But if we mostly posted about Jewish issues, that would be fine. No blog is obligated to focus on issue X rather than issue Y just because many people — usually people unaffected by issue X — consider issue Y more important.
In the end, framing the question as “excessive” focus on Jewish issues versus insufficient focus on Black issues is a bad approach. It wrongly implies that there is such a thing as “excessive’ focus on Jewish issues for an individual blog, and it wrongly implies that there’s a competition for attention between Black issues and Jewish issues.
But for what it’s worth (and maybe that’s not much), “Alas” has always included posts attacking racism and white privilege, and it always will.
- Not all of those 581 posts are focused on Black issues specifically, but many of them are. [↩]
- Not all bloggers on “Alas” are Jewish, but nearly all “Alas” posts about Jewish issues have been written by Jewish bloggers [↩]
- It doesn’t represent all of us, but it is obligated to. It just ignores that obligation too often. [↩]