James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Crime of Pro-Semitism

It's too bad that Michael Ray Richardson is suspended, but the sheer absurdity of this cracks me up. From ESPN via Steve Sailer:
The [the CBA's Albany] Patroons have suspended [coach Michael Ray] Richardson for the rest of the CBA championship series for comments made to the Albany Times Union on Tuesday.

Before Tuesdays game against the Yakima Sun Kings, Richardson made anti-Semitic comments to two reporters in his office when discussing the contract general manager Jim Coyne had offered him Monday to coach his team in the CBA and USBL.

"I've got big-time lawyers," Richardson said, according to the Times Union. "I've got big-time Jew lawyers."

When told by the reporters that the comment could be offensive to people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, he responded with, "Are you kidding me? They are. They've got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They're real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they've got to be crafty."

And he continued, "They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?" he said. "Which I think is great. I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."

And the offensive remarks didn't stop there.

According to the Times Union, Richardson told a fan who heckled him early in Tuesday's game, "Shut the [expletive] up." And near game's end, he shouted at another heckler, "Shut the [expletive] up, you [derogatory term for gay men],"

Assistant Derrick Rowland will coach the Patroons for the reminder of the series. Richardson will not be allowed into the Washington Avenue Armory during practices or games.

The man should apologize for the gay slur, and for saying "Jew" when he means Jewish and "Jewish" when he means Jew. But why should he be suspended?

There are two things at work here: any stereotypes, including positive ones, are apparently out-of-bounds, because to utter complimentary stereotypes leads to the possiblity of negative ones. And in this context, Richardson, who is black, was clearly comlimentary; "crafty" and "shrewd" should no more be derogatory than "smart," "persuasive," or "far-sighted."

But something else is at work here. Acknowledging that Jews are successful is apparently anti-Semitic, because it therefore downplays their status as a "victimized" group. Success itself is considered wrong. To be successful is to exploit somebody else. Therefore, to call Jews successful is to call them exploitive. So success becomes a knock on one's character.

I wonder if the problem of anti-Semitism is, overall, the opposite of other forms of racism. The white racist may detest blacks and Hispanics, and view himself superior because he views whites are on average more successful; economic prosperity is "proof" of White superiority. But then he resents, rather than admires, Jews (and gays, for that matter) for being more successful than he is, so he ascribes to them sinister motives and evil practices.

Michael Ray Richardson, however, seems to admire Jews for being successful. Because he said so in a sloppy way means he's probably lost his career in coaching.

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