I fit the profile of a racist. I am white. I am male. My politics are conservative. I was a Trumpist. I love the flag. I admire the police.
The current political situation is so pervasive that we sometimes question ourselves. Maybe I am a racist? After all, the leftist-led society says we are. Critical Race Theory says we are. We become terrified of being vilified, of being politically ostracized, and even of losing our career if we say what’s on our mind.
However, the New York mayoral race makes it abundantly clear that I am not a racist. It also makes it clear that the overwhelming majority of people in this city and I believe this country, are not racist, despite what the liberal world would have you believe.
It did not occur to me that the race for mayor featured candidates of just about every ethnic group, race, gender, and religion. Only after the election did I realize that the top three contenders were an African American, an Asian, and a white female. The rest were equally mixed, including a Jew.
It happens that my first vote went for Andrew Yang, an Asian. My second choice was Eric Adams, an African American, and my third was Kathryn Garcia (I didn’t do a DNA check, but I believe she is white).
It never occurred to me until after the race that we had so many ethnicities from which to choose. It certainly never entered my mind to consider race when choosing my candidate. In fact, on the very bottom of the pile, as far as I was concerned, was the Jewish candidate.
It is no secret that we Jews have had problems with the minority community. Despite being in the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1960s through today, we have been victimized by the very people we struggled to help.
BLM declared its sympathy for the Palestinians and took to their cause while calling for the demise of Israel during the recent war with Hamas. Minorities were the ones who sucker-punched innocent men and women in the streets of Brooklyn. It was some kind of crazy Black Israelite group that killed a Jewish mother and others in Jersey City. A member of the minority community vandalized the shul in Riverdale (who was later released).
We could have good reason to recoil and say we will never support a minority for office. But we don’t. And we shouldn’t. Yes, that community needs more responsible leadership, but we look at each person on his or her own merits. And this election proved it.
The Orthodox community in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway largely supported Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. They felt he had a good relationship with them over the years and offers the most promise to control crime. As a former police officer, he knows a thing or two about crime. Others were for Yang, because they felt comfortable with a smart businessman being Bloomberg-like in bringing the city under control.
And that was it. Race never entered the race. Thank G-d. So, if anyone tells you that we live in a racist society, or that Republicans/Conservatives are racist, just point to this primary election and tell them to kindly be quiet. Do not let the word “race” enter the general election. We will choose the mayor we feel is the best suited to assume one of the toughest jobs in the world.
The problem is, we live in a world where logic has been trashed and nothing needs to make sense to gain traction. But tell them to be quiet anyway. It’s good for the soul.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.