When I was a kid growing up in the 1950’s, I was taught to keep my mouth shut and not say or do anything that would draw attention to the fact that I was a Jew. Know all those hoity-toity suburbs which don’t like selling houses to Black? They didn’t sell houses to Jews back then. Know all those country clubs that don’t admit Blacks except to park cars? They didn’t accept Jewish members either.
If you were Jewish, you couldn’t get a job in a Wall Street firm unless the firm needed one Jew on the payroll to service their Jewish clients. If you wanted to go into insurance, you could get a job selling policies door-to-door in Jewish neighborhoods, but you weren’t about to be hired to sit in an office downtown. As for the banks, Jews didn’t waste their time even applying for jobs, ditto admission to the ‘better’ private colleges (read: Ivy League), to medical schools or law.
This all changed in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which is when the racial, religious, and cultural diversity that we celebrate today first reared its ugly head. The whole Jewish thing really collapsed after 1973, when Nixon ended the arms embargo that the U.S. had imposed on Israel in 1948 and now, we had a strategic ally in the Near East.
But what really changed things was that Jews took the money they made in retail and wholesale industries before and after World War II and created an alternate system of banks, insurance programs, medical schools and most of all, the badge of being important, namely, their own country clubs. In this respect, they were helped by the fact that many of the goyishe country clubs went broke during the Depression and were simply bought out by Jews who had a few bucks.
I saw a microcosm of this entire process when I went out to a formerly ‘restricted’ club in Long Island to play a round of golf in 1989. As I drove into the parking lot, I couldn’t believe that most of the cars were German imports – Mercedes and Beemers, not VW’s. Nobody in my inner-city Jewish neighborhood ever drove a German car after news about the Holocaust got around. When a college friend of mine showed up at our house with a Volkswagen bus painted like he was about to become a member of the Dead-Head brigade, my father told him to park the bus down the street, not in front of our house.
All that being said, let’s not forget that Jews have always been a target of conspiracy theories and politicians use conspiracies to whip up the crowds at public events. Think there’s any difference between Hitler saying that the Jews ‘sold out’ Germany during World War I and Trump saying that we were consciously infected by something called the ‘Chinese flu?’
The difference, of course, was that Hitler was able to back up his conspiracy theories by telling the 300,000 members of the SA that it was okay if they went around smashing Jewish storefront windows or beating up old Jewish men in the street. For all the nonsense about how Trump represents a Fascist ‘threat,’ his conspiracy-mongering is nothing other than hot air designed to help sell the t-shirts and banners which promote the MAGA brand.
Be that as it may, there are still people around who feel uncomfortable when they think about Jews for the simple reason that Jews are different, maybe not as different as Blacks or Muslims or all those Spanish-speaking Brown people trying to sneak in from the South. But not like us. What ‘us’ means is White, and Christian, and women who know their place. And if big data can be used for anything, it’s the ability to know where every, single one of those ‘White means Right’ people happen to live.
The only problem is that the people who still think about other people in terms of skin color are being crowded out by people who, when it comes to whether we are all the same or all different, couldn’t care less. So, states like Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Nebraska and Montana are always going to be White, but where skin color and cultural background are quickly becoming diverse, a polite way of saying non-White, is in states like all the East Coast, all the West Coast, and now lots of places in between.
I was thinking of this today when I read a story about how the Navy now has its first, transgender, four-star admiral, whose name happens to be Rachel Levine. Which means for those of you who haven’t spent your lives like I have trying to identify Jews versus non-Jews, Admiral Levine is Jewish, no matter what sexual orientation he/she or she/he happens to be.
Now granted, Admiral Levine isn’t commanding a warship, but the bottom line is that the Navy was always the most lily-White and socially conservative branch of the armed forces, and now we have a four-star Admiral who responds to her/his or his/her appointment by saying this: “May this appointment be the first of many like it as we create a more inclusive future."
Know what the word ‘inclusive’ means? It’s no less of a code word for our side than when people on the other side talk about ‘taking America back.’
And the word ‘inclusive’ seems to be mentioned more and more all the time.