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Negroes are Anti-Semitic Because They're Anti-White, Excerpt on the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the African American Community

…The root of anti-Semitism among Negroes is, ironically the relationship of colored peoples – all over the globe – to the Christian world. This is a fact which may be difficult to grasp, not only for the ghetto’s most blasted and embittered inhabitants, but also for many Jews, to say nothing of many Christians. But it is a fact, and it will not be ameliorated – in fact, it can only be aggravated – by the adoption, on the part of colored people now, of the most devastating of the Christian vices.

Of course, it is true, and I am not so naïve as not to know it, that many Jews despise Negroes, even as their Aryan brothers do. (There are also Jews who despise Jews, even as their Aryan brothers do.) It is true that many Jews use, shamelessly, the slaughter of the 6,000,000 by the Third Reich as proof that they cannot be bigots – or in the hope of not being held responsible for their bigotry. It is galling to be told by a Jew whom you know to be exploiting you that he cannot possibly be doing what you know he is doing because he is a Jew. It is bitter to watch the Jewish storekeeper locking up his store for the night, and going home. Going, with your money in his pocket, to a clean neighborhood, miles from you, which you will not be allowed to enter. Nor can it help the relationship between most Negroes and most Jews when part of this money is donated to civil rights. In the light of what is now known as the white backlash, this money can be looked on as conscience money merely, as money given to keep the Negro happy in his place, and out of white neighborhoods.

… In the American context, the most ironical thing about Negro anti-Semitism is that the Negro is really condemning the Jew for having become an American white man – for having become, in effect, a Christian. The Jew profits from his status in America, and he must expect Negroes to distrust him for it. The Jew does not realize that the credential he offers, the fact that he has been despised and slaughtered, does not increase the Negro’s understanding. It increases the Negro’s rage...


Baldwin, James. "Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They're Anti-White," New York Times Magazine, 9 April 1967.


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In 1967, James Baldwin, an African American novelist, poet, and civil rights activist, wrote an article trying to explain why after all that Jews had done for the Civil Rights Movement some African Americans could be anti-Semitic. This excerpt describes the roots of anti-Semitism in African American communities.

Date / time: 
April 9, 1967
Author(s): 
Baldwin, James
Publisher: 
New York Times Company
Publication: 
The New York Times Magazine
Date published: 
April 9, 1967

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Negroes are Anti-Semitic Because They're Anti-White, Excerpt on the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the African American Community." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <http://jwa.org/media/negroes-are-anti-semitic-because-theyre-anti-white-excerpt-on-roots-of-anti-semitism-in-africa>.