Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is speaking out against systemic anti-semitism in the sports world and Hollywood, in a new column penned for The Hollywood Reporter.
In the piece, he questions how in the midst of the Black Lives Matters movement, anti-Semitic messages are still so rampant. Criticizing several prominent celebrities who have expressed anti-Semitic sentiments and the lack of outrage, describing the public’s response as “meh-rage.”
“When reading the dark squishy entrails of popular culture, meh-rage in the face of sustained prejudice is an indisputable sign of the coming Apatholypse: apathy to all forms of social justice,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “After all, if it’s OK to discriminate against one group of people by hauling out cultural stereotypes without much pushback, it must be OK to do the same to others. Illogic begets illogic.”
As an example, Abdul-Jabbar referenced a series of tweets by Ice Cube, which contained messages that “in general implied that Jews were responsible for the oppression of blacks.” He also criticized NBA player Stephen Jackson’s support for“the notorious homophobe and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. That is the kind of dehumanizing characterization of a people that causes the police abuses that killed his friend, George Floyd.”
Other celebrities Abdul-Jabbar called out were Chelsea Handler – who also shared content of Farrakhan on her social media – and NFL player DeSean Jackson.
“These famous, outspoken people share the same scapegoat logic as all oppressive groups from Nazis to the KKK: all our troubles are because of bad-apple groups that worship wrong, have the wrong complexion, come from the wrong country, are the wrong gender or love the wrong gender,” he wrote. “It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.”
As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pointed out, history continues to repeat itself. “The lesson never changes […] As Martin Luther King Jr. explained: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.’ So, let’s act like it. If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.”
Head over to The Hollywood Reporter to read the full column.