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Robert Israel Kabakoff
Robert Israel Kabakoff

PoC, George Floyd, MLK, BLM, Jews + the mob

“People of color.” Bad choice. What that phrase actually means but deliberately leaves out is “people of the [right] color” or “the [right] people of color,” i.e. the actual definition of racism. “Racism,” to the extent it actually exists, cannot be “fought” or eliminated by practicing it – in fact, by practicing it you strengthen and spread its virulence. Outside of a specific need for descriptive physical appearance: (“what does she look like?” “to what race do they belong?”) it’s a mask, or a dodge, or a shield or in the “people of color” permutation, a target identifier: the people without color, i.e.,”white” people.

Worse, capitalizing the first letter of a word, such as “Black,” highlights and emphasizes the color, as if our skin color, like height, weight, sex or fingerprints define us as people rather than who we are as individuals. You don’t choose any of them- they are determined by genetics at birth and you adjust as an individual, a person, a man or a woman, a human being. Skin color describes skin color, the way people look, not act, think, or feel, at least not organically.

Yet, people are often conditioned to see themselves and others almost myopically as members of groups and behave accordingly by falling in line with behavioral expectations, so the practice enhances and perpetuates itself, racism. Jewish people do it too, though not so much based on skin color, rather by accepting values that guide behavior: Jews don’t sacrifice to defend Jewish honor. Jews study, hold seminars, create agencies that complain about assaults on Jewish people instead, or if really riled up might march across the Brooklyn Bridge in protest holding signs with tiny Stars of David printed at the bottoms in order to get others to do it for us. Good luck with that. How’s it been working out since the second rebellion against Rome?

We refuse to put any skin in the game, so the game never ends, those high-school kids on the London bus, as a recent example. The pushback comes at the BBC for misreporting the incident rather than focused on why we don’t fight when attacked. See Bialik’s City of Slaughter. But back to “people of color,” pardon the digression, falling in line with the latest propagandist’s edicts by adopting their vocabulary identifies you, to my judgment, as a mindless, obedient follower, like an accountant or middle-aged housewife deciding they need a tattoo or must have the latest iPhone model, etc., kowtowing to the mob, desperate to conform, and the mob is always wrong.

How George Floyd, a low-level, violent, career criminal, became a symbol of African Americans, alongside Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell, Ella Fitzgerald, Condi Rice, Dave Chappelle, Paul Robeson, Juan Williams, Shelby Steele, Thurgood Marshall, Stanley Crouch, Sidney Poitier, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, Harris Faulkner, Miles Davis, Jack Johnson, August Wilson, Colin Powell et al., a nearly infinite array of the finest and most talented people, and almost every hard-working friend and decent neighbor I have, is testimony to how easily the mob can be created and motivated to act, and to act angrily. The mob is always wrong. George Floyd, the man, created the circumstances in which he died during a police encounter by his repeated decisions as an individual, a person with the G-d given power of choice, to lead a lifestyle where an outcome like that was baked in from the start. It almost had to happen. And so, eventually it did.

Martin Luther King was alive and leading a movement when I was a child and vividly remember his presence and the day he was killed. There is no overstating the impact he had on the country, the world, and even a ten-year-old Jewish “white boy” in Brooklyn. Dr. King spoke of “content of character” as the only legitimate, morally attuned way to judge a man, and for me, it stuck. Still sticks and I don’t want to hear any nihilistic, lovey-dovey ’70s feel-good, garbage about “not judging.” We do judge. Every time I hear “judge not,” I unlatch my Browning. 😉 We are supposed to judge, that‘s what elevates us from rocks and trees and mobs, that‘s what “made in the image of the Creator” means: the ability to make moral judgments, therefore the obligation to, not simply judge, but make the correct ones. Aye, therein lies the rub. Judge, yes, but judge right. So, what color is character? It has none, form following function, because it needs none. It’s determined then judged by the choices we make, and we all have color. Forge a check, or earn one? That was Mr. Floyd’s call, George Floyd the man, not George Floyd the “person of color.” It’s just as bad as “black lives matter.” Did George Floyd’s life matter less because he was dark-skinned? Not to any decent human being made in the image of his Creator or understood by the strength of their own judgment, so proclaiming “black lives matter” won’t convince anyone who doesn’t already believe that, and those that already know it don’t need to be told, or reminded. We know. It’s intuited by most people like sudden loud noises mean danger, and it is insulting to assume otherwise. Like, you tawkin’a me? So, what’s the point? Division, hostility, and yes, racism disguised as anti-racism.

In conclusion, there are two types of people when it comes to color; those that got and those that ain‘t, and skin don‘t have nothing to do with it, it‘s a character thing, and there are two types of racists: racists and anti-racists, also character, and again, lastly but most importantly, the mob is always wrong. Can I get a witness? Do I read an “amen”? Either way, shavuah tov to almost everyone and thanks for reading.

About the Author
Robert is a life-long New Yorker, working actor, author and world traveler.
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