It seems as though every hour some public figure gives us a perfect example of why you should always thoroughly examine whatever you choose to broadcast to the world—first, to make sure you understand what it is you’re saying or promoting, intentionally or unintentionally—but also to make sure that you can and will stand by what you say.
Celebrity provides you with a platform whether you want it or not, and if you have tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers, then whatever you share is going to impact a large group of people, who will then proliferate that beyond your own sphere.
That’s what Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson found out earlier this week after sharing an anti-Semitic message that Louis Farrakhan attributed to Adolf Hitler. In the message, it reads that the Jews “will blackmail America” to prevent “white citizens” from listening that Africans are “the Children of Israel”, but that “their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were”.
While the post was widely condemned and he has issued multiple apologies, it’s important to remember that, whenever we speak, we also share things beyond what we intended, and public figures especially have a responsibility to be aware of this. In this instance, Jackson is guilty of promoting racist stereotypes about Jews and their intentions of achieving global influence.
To the best of my knowledge, Zach Banner of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the first player to actively speak out and say something about the incident, and specifically about Jewish stereotypes within black and brown communities.
“I want to preach to the black and brown community that we need to uplift them and put our arms around them. Just as much when we talk about Black Lives Matter and elevating ourselves, we can’t do that while stepping on the back of other people to elevate ourselves, and that’s very, very important to me, and it should be important to everyone”.
Banner’s first season was in 2018. A mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue took place in October of that year during his first couple of months in the city that left 11 people dead. The shooter has been known to be anti-Semitic, describing Jews as “the children of Satan”.
“We can’t preach equality but in result flip the script and change the hierarchy, if that makes sense”, Banner went on in simultaneously speaking about the Black Lives Matter movement. “Change your heart, put your arm around people, and let’s all uplift each other”.
“There’s a common misbelief among black and brown people — and I know this from growing up, and I’ve heard it, and I’ve listened to it — that Jewish people are just like any other white race”, he went on. “You mix them up with the rest of the majority, and you don’t understand that they’re a minority as well”.
This video is to transition from the incident, and move forward as a community. Not to harp on @DeSeanJackson10 mistake, but to progress by educating ourselves. We can’t move forward while allowing ourselves to leave another minority race in the dark.#Equality pic.twitter.com/MnLnCCYzQL
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) July 8, 2020