This essay moves us from the Biden-Trump debate into a discussion on cancel culture and mutual respect. Author Jeffrey Kass doesn’t suggest reducing your values or accepting abhorrent behavior or leaders, but he advocates for a more nuanced way of engaging our fellow Americans, which include family and friends so that we do not continue to digress into the abyss of conflict. This piece causes us to reflect on how we deal with people with whom we disagree. Sometimes even strongly.
DEFAMATION AND DISTRACTION
Too often people, particularly on the far left, are so quick to lump the Jews and Israel in with every colonial conquest the world has seen. They do this in the stated name of advocating for Palestinians. This essay dives into why this is counter-productive and actually doesn’t help the Palestinian cause. Author and activist Jeffrey Kass reminds us that the Jews have a 3,000 year connection to the land of Israel and didn’t colonialize anything. Recognizing rather than canceling the Jewish indigenous connection to that land will allow us to practice intellectual honesty and then actually address where the Jewish state has failed the Palestinians.
This essay comes just after the death of Supreme Court and social justice giant Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The abortion debate is often the first thing one thinks of when we talk about the Supreme Court. Author Jeffrey Kass uses this backdrop to help us reflect on what the sanctity of life must truly mean for all living, walking, breathing people. That we can’t simply focus on an unborn baby and then ignore the quality of a person’s life after birth. Justice Ginsburg spent her life fighting for equality for women and it’s a great example for us to recalibrate our energy.
HUMANIZING HUMANS ONE MEAL AT A TIME
One of the biggest reasons we have so much disconnect in America is that Black and White folks aren’t taking time to get to know each other on a personal level. This essay advocates for starting with a meal. Not politics. Not issues. Not solutions. Just breaking bread with someone. We often talk over people who are different than ourselves. Like two ships passing in the night with so much lack of understanding of the other. It’s too easy to react to a news story or a traumatic event about another group if we haven’t taken the time to know people from that group on a deeper level. It all starts with a meal, argues author Jeffrey Kass in this essay.
THE ROADMAP OUT. A JEWISH PERSPECTIVE
People often ask what can I do to help end systemic racism and injustices. There are many layers to this, but Kass delves into why mindfully supporting Black-owned businesses is one important step in the path to real progress. He uses the backdrop of the Jewish experience coming to America and how they used support for their businesses to move up the American ladder.
WHY WE SHOULD SUPPORT SPORTS STARS TAKING A STANCE
NBA players decided to cancel games and refuse to play in the wake of racial strife and more police killing of unarmed Black men and women. Author Jeffrey Kass explores why we should support these players and their standing up for their brothers and sisters. Why in this country we want to support and encourage peaceful and verbal protest and change. We can’t take away voice and then simultaneously expect people not to try other methods of change. Thank you LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and company for standing up for Black and Brown people.
At some point, the word conservative got twisted. I grew up thinking it meant an approach that was careful. Not too risky. Cautious. Not loosey goosey. Thoughtful. My best friend’s dad was a conservative and he also was a conservationist. An environmentalist. He wanted to play it safe with our planet and not just hope the scientists were wrong.
Nowadays, though, conservative seems to have lost its meaning. It especially reared its ugly face during COVID-19 where many conservatives were outraged over having to wear mask. This essay undresses conservatism with the hope of returning to its roots.
HOW THE TERMS WE USE IMPACT THE PACE OF CHANGE
Social justice warriors may be well-intended but sometimes the words chosen to advance the cause of justice end up having opposite consequences.
This essay explores why words matter. When we call something genocide or apartheid, what does that mean? When we use words like diversity and inclusion, what does that mean? Our word choices impact how fast we will heal so many of our world’s problems.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the left or right, society has reached a difficult place where we no longer can have real conversations without one side demeaning and canceling the other side. The disagree with me or you’re an idiot manner we deal with each other is having horrific consequences for society.
Cancel culture has reached the boiling point. So much so that people with varying opinions that cross the political spectrum—the good ole independent thinking people—no longer have a place. This essay dives into why this problem needs to be addressed immediately.
Sending In The Federal Troops: Solution or Accelerant For More Violence?
At one point, the U.S. contemplated sending in federal troops to stop violence in our most dangerous cities. South side of Chicago one of them. But what policymakers don’t understand is that our problems with crime will never be solved with more military style weapons and more police. It’s time to think long term. Mass investment in education, in training and other programs that uplift instead of jail people is our only path forward.
Author Jeffrey Kass takes his three kids (now teenagers) on vacation every year. In recent years, that has involved trips overseas. But because his kids are Jewish and wear yarmulkes (Jewish head coverings) he often requires them to wear ballcaps because of the dangers Jews face in Europe and other places.
During COVID-19, he had to take them somewhere in the U.S., so they went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for hiking, bike riding, tubing, ATVing and the like. He was reminded that as much as our country suffers from so many xenophobic ills, his kids didn’t have to wear baseball hats in the U.S. Kass uses this story has a backdrop for how we can end systemic racism in the U.S.
Conspiracy theories have always been around, but they seem to have increased each year since the Internet. The Jews did it, or the Jews are controlling the world ones seem to have spread like wildfire. Jeffrey Kass uses the backdrop of these absurd theories to remind people that the negative acts of individuals, from any ethnic or ethno-religious group, shouldn’t be used as a reflection of the whole. Enough of the Jewish Rothschild Family already.
The case for reparations for slavery has been discussed and re-discussed for generations. But it’s usually pro-reparations with vague details versus anti-reparations with no recognition of the havoc America caused to so many families. This essay by race expert Jeffrey Kass discusses tangible ideas for administering a reparations program aimed at actually repairing rather than just compensating.
Virtually every group seems to be quick to harshly criticize other groups and slow to criticize their own. When Black folks give the likes of Farrakhan and Jesse a free pass, it wasn’t because of their anti-Semitism, it was because they stood up for Black folks.
When Jews defend Israel and Netanyahu at all costs, it isn’t because Israel, like every country, does things that are wrong. It’s because the world has always gone after the Jews and Israel is the one place that defends Jews. Still, this essay is a call for a reexamination of what Author Jeffrey Kass calls “ethnic narccisism.”
The Misplaced Decision to Deport 250,000 College Students
The Trump administration used COVID-19 to expel certain international students who would not be attending classes in person—which during the pandemic was almost every person from a country of people of color. Author Jeffrey Kass discusses the importance of diversity of people and ideas in education, as well as the untold amount of contributions immigrants, including many of color, have made to this country.
There’s been much talk of white privilege. The phrase tends to send many white folks, who themselves have endured life’s challenges, into a denying tailspin. There obviously are poor whites. Whites who have been incarcerated. Whites who have had rough childhoods. Etc. This essay discusses the importance of the language and methods we use to advance the cause of social justice. To help cure our country’s dark racist past. But Kass also dials down the offense at phrases like white privilege and instead urges people to have empathy for others’ experiences.
READING THE ESSAYS
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