Jemele Hill weighs in on DeSean Jackson, says Black people can be ‘culturally arrogant’

The sports writer shared her thoughts in her latest column for 'The Atlantic'

Jemele Hill speaks at 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 05, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Jemele Hill shared her thoughts on the controversy surrounding DeSean Jackson on the heels of his anti-semitic comments this week, calling attention to certain blind spots in the Black community. 

In her latest column for The Atlantic, the journalist discussed her own experience with making insensitive comments about the Jewish community. 

Read More: Eagles’ DeSean Jackson says he is not anti-semitic after sharing Hitler quote

“I had made a joke about the Nazi leader who orchestrated the murder of 6 million Jewish people,” she wrote. “I was, of course, aware of the Holocaust, but I had given little thought to the feelings of the Jewish community because, frankly, it wasn’t my own. When others pointed out the insensitivity of my statement, I was mortified.”

Hill says she understands the backlash the wide receiver is getting after his controversial comments.

“Like Jackson, I am Black. And had anyone made a remark trivializing slavery, I would have been incensed,” she continued.

“I learned that just because I’m aware of the destruction caused by racism, that doesn’t mean I’m automatically sensitive to other forms of racism, or in this case, anti-Semitism…Black people, too, are capable of being culturally arrogant.”

Read More: Patriots’ Julian Edelman offers to take Eagles’ DeSean Jackson to Holocaust museum

According to Hill, there are plenty of Black people who are ignorant about the stereotypes they hold true about Jews.

“Regardless of what happens with Jackson, the unfortunate truth is that some Black Americans have shown a certain cultural blindspot about Jews. Stereotypical and hurtful tropes about Jews are widely accepted in the African American community,” she wrote. 

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles
DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field on November 3, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

“As a kid, I heard elders in my family say in passing that Jewish people were consumed with making money, and that they ‘owned everything.’ My relatives never dwelled on the subject, and nothing about their tone indicated that they thought anything they were saying was anti-Semitic—not that a lack of awareness would be any excuse,” she wrote. “This also doesn’t mean that my family—or other African Americans—are more or less anti-Semitic than others in America, but experiencing the pain of discrimination and stereotyping didn’t prevent them from spreading harmful stereotypes about another group.”

Read More: Jemele Hill apologizes after backlash over transphobic tweet

Hill offered some insight on what we can do to ensure we demonstrate empathy for other groups as we continue to fight for our own equality.

“Black people’s fight for their humanity is unrelated to Jackson’s error, but they must use their own racial experiences to foster empathy for others,” she wrote. ”The thirst for liberation and equality can never come at the expense of dehumanizing other marginalized groups—especially at a time when hate crimes against Jews have increased significantly.”

Check out the full column, here. 

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