My name is Madeleine Stern. I am a Jewish teenager. I take pride in my Jewish identity, but I am disappointed with the lack of equality the Jewish community has experienced when it comes to support when confronting hatred.
Equality. This is a word that has become prominent on various social media platforms. Most recently, support for the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement has increased exponentially as people speak out against racism. I have personally witnessed a lot of this support on Instagram. Sharing personal stories, educational videos, unifying quotes and explanatory memes are few of the many circulating posts, all of which have a similar message, which I fully agree with - prejudice against Black people is abominable and absolutely unacceptable. The idea of judging people based on their skin color and putting their lives in jeopardy is sickening. Black people should be seen as equal to white people. All people should be treated equally.
But if everyone should be treated equally, why isn’t everyone who is posting about Black Lives Matter also posting about Philadelphia Eagles player DeSean Jackson’s clearly anti-Semitic Instagram post broadcasting a fake Hitler quote?
The many people supporting Black Lives Matter and educating others about racism is wonderful and a much-needed change for our country. People of all races, religions and backgrounds have united around this noble cause. I hope the momentum behind this movement continues. Nonetheless, I am disappointed at the moment. The community rallying behind Black Lives Matter seemed to disappear when support was needed for the Jewish community.
I have seen countless posts denouncing DeSean Jackson from my Jewish friends. My Instagram feed has been full of such posts, but the vast majority were from Jewish people. When it came time to support a different minority, many people remained silent.
I would like to highlight the few public figures who did speak out. Zach Banner, an offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, posted a video where he stated, “We can’t preach what we’ve been preaching about Black Lives Matter and elevating ourselves...by stepping on another person’s back to get there.” Kahlil McKenzie, an offensive guard for the Seattle Seahawks, wrote on Twitter, “Any informed Black person should know we are a chosen people. Any informed Black person should probably understand that quoting Hitler [probably is] not the best way to get that point across.” Jewish NFL players Julian Edelman and Mitchell Schwartz also condemned Jackson and expressed their support for the Jewish community.
Hearing these few voices was heartwarming and very important. It was uplifting to know that well-known people, including some that are not Jewish, care about this issue. Unfortunately, their support is in the minority and does not change the lack of posts I am seeing from my peers and other public figures about the blatant anti-Semitism from Jackson. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred and it must be stopped. Speaking out and educating people, just like what is being done to stop racism, can and should be done to halt anti-Semitism.
We cannot pick and choose which marginalized communities to support. If a person supports equality, he or she cannot only support equality for certain groups. As ESPN sports anchor Ella Duncan said, “There is no hierarchy when it comes to bigotry.”
Great strides have been made when it comes to eliminating bias and unfairness. Bias and unfairness directed at all marginalized communities, however, needs to be eradicated. As citizens of the United States where everyone is said to be created equal, we must support everyone who is facing hardships and hatred.
I believe everyone should be treated equally. I believe that every person, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background, should be treated equally. My views do not change across different communities. If you believe in equality, your views shouldn’t change either.