To state the obvious, no ethnic group has any perfect members. There are no perfect Arabs. There are no perfect Asians. There are no perfect Blacks. There are no perfect Jews. And so on. Fortunately, it is not necessary to be perfect in order to exhibit basic decency and thus to refrain from committing acts that (a) are clearly wrong and that (b) are such that one clearly has the wherewithal to refrain from doing. And reality is that every psychologically healthy person is configured in such a way that she or he can refrain from making utterly false accusations about another, especially if person’s very life is not in any way dependent upon making such false claims.
It is against the backdrop of the incontrovertible truth of the remarks made above that the horrific and false claims made about Jews by Joy Karega must be considered. She is an African-American who is an assistant professor at Oberlin College. She blames Jews for the horror of 9/11 as well as for the demise of the Malaysia Airline flight. She blames Jews for other things as well. And in so blaming Jews, she does not offer a scintilla of evidence to support her claims. Imagine someone blaming Blacks in the world for the Holocaust that occurred in Nazi Germany. It would take an awful lot of evidence in order for that claim about Blacks to have any credibility whatsoever. Indeed, the evidence would have to explain just how it turned out that on the surface of things it did not at all appear as if Blacks were involved the Holocaust.
An analogous point holds for the claim made by Joy Karega. There is not a shred of evidence that supports the negative claims that she has made regarding Jews. What is more, Joy Karega does not offer a single consideration that gives her negative claims about Jews any plausibility whatsoever.
Painfully, it does not appear that Karega was at all criticized by Marvin Krislov, the President of Oberlin College. Indeed, I wrote to him about the matter; and I never received so much as an acknowledgement from him. All that I can say is that if his silence counts as being supportive of Blacks, then it is manifestly the case that in the matter of enriching the intellectual stature of blacks he is doing far more harm than good.
And then there is the issue of the kind of model that Joy Karega is for Black students at Oberlin College. It is my hope and prayer that Black students have recognized the utter impropriety of Karega’s behavior. Next to physical bodily harm, the next horrific form of evil vicious and false character accusations. The question that readily presents itself is the following: What motivated Joy Karega to engage in such vicious and malicious behavior? The answer, I believe, is the biblical claim: “Jealousy is as cruel as the grave” (Song of Solomon 8:6).
Now, it is claimed that Oberlin Jewish students maintain that they greatly admire Karega. Alas, it does not take a genius to figure what motivated Jewish students to take their stance; for they readily grasped that any criticism of Karega on their part would make them the object of horrific venom on the part of countless many other on the Oberlin College campus, including faculty members. By claiming how much they admire Karega, the Oberlin Jewish students simply cover their derriere. After all, it is makes no sense to admire someone who falsely accuses one of having committed a horrific act of evil. Why, that would be analogous to a woman who has been raped claiming that the rape experience was, indeed, tremendously worthwhile because as a result of the rape experience she learned so much about herself that is wonderful and illuminating.
Have I claimed that Jews are perfect? Absolutely not. Have I claimed that Jews are incapable of being racist owing to their own history of having been horrifically mistreated? Again, absolutely not. But one does not need to be anywhere close to perfection in order for it to be the case that a given charge of wrongdoing is unequivocally false.
There can be no doubt about it: Free speech is truly wonderful. Just so, it is not an excuse nor a justification for malicious and manifestly false charges—charges for which there is not a shred of evidence. Joy Karega has made two very horrific charges against Jews. Yet, she did not produce a scintilla of evidence that would give her charges an ounce of credibility. And a most poignant truth is that free speech has never meant that making manifestly false charges against someone is either completely acceptable or, in any case, quite excusable.
Finally, there is the support that Joy Karega has received from the President of Oberlin College, Marvin Krislov. There can be no doubt that he wishes to maximize the intellectual presence of Blacks on the Oberlin College campus. Alas, in that regard he does more harm than good if, in the name of achieving racial equality, anything negative thing a black says is at least acceptable. For there is a very real sense in which so behaving President Krislov is not taking blacks seriously with one very significant and morally negative result being that he is not at all a contributing factor with respect to we who are black taking ourselves seriously.
© 2016 Laurence Thomas