The principle underlying the Anti-Defamation League and the Museum of Tolerance and Jewish efforts to promote civil rights is that Jews are safer in a nation where racism and bigotry are not acceptable.
Down deep, all of us have a twinge that regards the different as subhuman. All peoples and traditions have varying degrees of hostility to outsiders. The Aleinu prayer in Judaism contains the line: “For they worship vanity and emptiness, and pray to a god who cannot save.”
If people are honest, they’ll admit that they find other people’s religions weird and disturbing. Jews find Christianity distasteful, Christians regard Jews as bad for rejecting Jesus, Muslims like to slaughter non-Muslims, etc. Whether we like it or not, we all prefer to live, work, socialize and worship with people who are genetically similar to us, and for all our rhetoric against racism, very few people enjoy most of their interactions with different races. There’s inherently tension and often conflict and tragedy to interracial relations. When I fly into Australia and all the custom officers are white as opposed to dominantly black in America, I feel much greater comfort because I am white and I prefer my own kind just like everybody else. When I go to the DMV or to the Post Office and most of the employees are black, I don’t feel great joy in my heart. My interactions with the Post Office and DMV are frequently exasperating. I generally get along better with my own kind.
I remember accompanying a friend into a strange building at UCLA in 1989. When we came out, I said, “What is that place? It smells bad.” She laughed. It turned out to be the financial aid building and let’s just say that the mix of races that frequented that building weren’t exactly the same as the student body.
The different races often smell differently and don’t like the smell of those who are different. The Japanese, for instance, often don’t like the smell of Caucasians. Asians and Caucasians tend to have different diets and they smell different. Some Seventh-Day Adventist churches used to seat blacks and whites in different sections and each side thought the other group smelled bad. Most people are happier when they lead a segregated life. Black neighborhoods, for instance, don’t want whites and latinos and asians moving in.
Any group that stands for something is going to discriminate. The more standards you uphold, the more discriminating you are going to be. So Orthodox Jews are going to inherently be more discriminating than secular Jews because they have more laws, practices and beliefs to uphold that go against the majority population. Orthodox Jews are the least interested of all Jews in promoting civil rights. Generally speaking, the traditional Orthodox Jew does not care about rights for blacks, latinos, Muslims, gays, etc.
While the literal meaning of the word “goy” is nation, when it is used in Jewish life most of the time, in my experience, it means something negative. Jews have survived as a distinct people for millenia by continually defining themselves against the majority population, as in, “That’s goyish” and “That’s Jewish!”
In all forms of tribal life, be it black or Muslim or gay or Chinese or Mexican-American, the members of the tribe are expected to put the interests of their tribe ahead of everyone else. The more traditional the form of tribal life, the more you will find hostility toward outsiders.
I found interesting the reactions of Jewish leaders to Donald Sterling’s putative racism. If Donald Sterling said things against non-Jews, would that have been condemned? As Israel sends illegal immigrants back to Africa, do mainstream Jewish organizations such as the ADL and the MOT condemn this as racism? I don’t think they should condemn it. I think American should emulate it. But I don’t think anyone should be condemned for racism. Preferring your own kind is healthy and that goes equally for Jews and non-Jews.
Wilmot Robertson wrote in his book The Dispossessed Majority: “The more minority influence has been brought to bear on the American legal system, the more its breakdown is becoming apparent. The English common law, which derived from Northern European folk law, functioned adequately, at times superbly, in the United States as long as the nation was dominated by people of English and Northern European descent. But when minorities became an important element in both the law-making and the law- breaking process, American law underwent a deep transformation.”