I, Asimov: A Memoir
“Vicious anti-Semitism was (and is again) a widespread scourge; no comparable, sustained phenomenon — ‘anti-Asianism’ — exists.” – Barbara Kay, National Post, November 23, 2010.
Although I was Jewish and poor as well, I benefited from the American education system at its best and attended one of its finest universities; I wondered, how many African-Americans would have had the same opportunity at that time? Denouncing antisemitism without denouncing human cruelty in general troubled me constantly. The general blindness was such that I heard Jews condemn unreservedly the phenomenon of antisemitism, and then without skipping a beat move on to the African-American question, and talk about it as if they were little Hitlers. If I pointed this out to them and objected strenuously, they turned on me. They were completely unable to see what they were doing.
I once heard a lady speak passionately about the Gentiles who had done nothing to save the Jews of Europe. “You just can’t trust them,” she claimed.
I let it pass for a while, and then I suddenly asked: “And what are you doing to help the Blacks achieve their civil rights?”
“Listen”, she retorted. “I have enough problems of my own.”
And I said: “That’s exactly what the Gentiles of Europe said.” I saw a complete lack of comprehension in her face. She couldn’t see what I was getting at. What can we do about it? The whole world seems to be permanently waving a banner that reads: “Freedom! … but not for others.”
– Isaac Asimov, I, Asimov: A Memoir (1994)
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