Featured, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Exactly How Fired Would Jack Kelly Have Been If He Wrote About The Holocaust Instead Of Slavery?

Jack Kelly writes a weekly column at the Post-Gazette. His views are conservative and contribute to the diversity of opinion featured in our newspaper. We have liberal columnists, too, who, like Jack, are provocative and can stir up reaction by readers. Obviously, readers need to keep in mind that our signed columnists, liberal or conservative, speak for themselves and their own views — not for the Post-Gazette. The views of the newspaper, of course, are expressed in its daily editorials.

This statement was released by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial page editor Tom Waseleski last week as a response to the negative feedback generated by “Remnants of Slavery“ — a shockingly and unapologetically racist column penned by the Post-Gazette’s Jack Kelly. Waseleski’s statement is concise, clear, sober, and objective. It is the very definition of editorspeak.

It is also bullshit.

As I read it, I wondered if Waseleski — a man I’ve exchanged professional emails with several times — believes what he’s saying, or if he’s attempting to protect an employee and the P-G‘s brand. I do not know. I do know, however, that the optimist in me wants to believe it’s the latter. That he knows it’s bullshit, but he’s obligated to stand up for his writers. He would not be the first and will not be last editor to do that.

But just in case Waseleski and anyone else on the Post-Gazette’s editorial team believes Kelly’s impressively terrible piece had any shred of historical merit or journalistic integrity, I want to play a little game. Let’s read Kelly’s piece again — word for word — but this time let’s replace every reference to slavery with a reference to the Holocaust. And then, after every 100 words or so, let’s check back and see exactly how fired Kelly and Waseleski and anyone else on the Post-Gazette’s editorial staff would have been if they dared publish something that trivialized and minimized the pain and the suffering of tens of millions of Jewish people the same way they trivialized and minimized the pain and suffering of tens of millions of Black Americans.

I’m glad I live in a time of automobiles, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, the Internet and great medical advances.

But if I had to live in an earlier period, I’d want to be an Allied soldier in the second World War. I can think of no greater cause than to fight to eradicate the Nazis.

Genocide wasn’t Germany’s original sin because it was unique, or uniquely horrible there. If prostitution is “the world’s oldest profession,” the capture, torture, and murder of millions of innocent people is second. Since the dawn of recorded history, mass murder has been practiced in nearly every society known to man.

At this point, Kelly is super fired. No notice, no heads up, no nothing. Just all his shit off his desk and on the street.

The words “Holocaust” and “benign” ought never to appear in the same sentence, but Jews in Germany (usually) were treated less harshly than in most other places where genocide has been practiced — especially in ancient times.

Kelly is so fired that they might literally set him on fire while they’re firing him. Waseleski is also updating his resume and checking to see how many PTO days he has left this year.

Our word “Holocaust” is from Old French holocauste, via late Latin from Greek holokauston, fromholos ‘whole’ + kaustos ‘burned’ (from kaiein ‘burn’). Throughout history, only a relatively few genocide victims have been Jewish. And for every Jew shipped to concentration camps on (mostly German) trains, dozens and possibly hundreds more were taken somewhere else.

What made the Holocaust so bad was its violent conflict with Germany’s sense of togetherness. How could they promote unity and purity while murdering tens of millions of people?

Anti-semitism is as ancient and ubiquitous as genocide. The word some Chinese use for “foreigner” can be translated as “foreign devil.” Russian slang for Jewish translates to “?yd.” Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos can attest that until recently Japan was among the most racist nations on Earth.

But it wasn’t until after Hitler ruled Germany that anti-Semitism and genocide became widely and inextricably linked. Before then, not many thought men were created equal or that God-given rights took precedence over the whims of kings and emperors.

And before publication of John Locke’s “Second Treatise on Civil Government” (1689) and the Declaration of Independence (1776), not many believed the people were sovereign and that government was supposed to serve them, not the other way around.

Genocide was considered mostly a matter of bad luck. It was common practice for survivors to be tortured, starved, and killed when a tribe lost a war. Wealthy Romans bragged about how many Jews they murdered. That’s why they bought them to tutor their children.

“If God wills that … until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword … the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether,” said Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address.

Kelly is so fired now that they hire him back just to fire him again. Also definitely fired is Tom Waseleski, Post-Gazette executive editor and vice-president David M. Shribman, and Post-Gazette managing editor Susan Smith. Oh, and no one else at the P-G can get to work because the Anti-Defamation League has walled off and barricaded the P-G’s entire building. President Obama even weighs in, calling it a “senseless and inexplicable example of insensitivity and bad judgement.

Two million American soldiers died to free the Jews. That blood debt was paid long ago. Franklin Roosevelt was white. So were those who voted for him. About 90 percent of American soldiers were white.

It says something good about today’s white Americans that so many feel guilty for a sin neither they nor most of their ancestors ever committed. But white guilt has a pernicious effect on our politics.

The assertion that only people of certain ethnic groups can be racist is pure racism. Jewish racism is as vile and prevalent as any other kind.

The Holocaust was horrible, but no Jew living today has suffered from it. Most are better off than if their ancestors had remained alive in Poland.

The Jewish community is uniquely troubled, in large part because anti-Semitism is blamed for social dysfunction that has other causes. To address those causes, white Americans must abandon an undeserved guilt, and Jewish racists who blame all their problems on anti-Semitism must stop preying upon it.

Kelly — and every single editor on the P-G’s staff — is fired quicker and harder than anyone has ever been fired. They’re also thrown in prison for inciting a riot, and the prison is promptly burned down. As is the entire city of Pittsburgh. Everyone reading this would be dead. President Obama is impeached for allowing a major newspaper in a prominent American city publish this. And the aliens who’ve been circling Earth for a millennia sense a fracture in America and finally invade.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • rhymeswithbrucelee

    One reason who the Jewish people in America were among our first allies in the Civil Rights Movement

  • One of the best pieces ever read. Aside from all the other pivotal and meaningful comments I can make, whoever or whomever had the idea to transpose the words and replace with reference to the Holocaust …I mean …You guys make me just appreciate being able to read. I just literally fell in love with words all over again.

    • Melissa

      Agreed – beautifully done and I’m sending this off to the two dolts who told me that Twelve Years A Slave wasn’t as important as Schindler’s List. Amazing, Damon, just amazing.

  • Homer Alonzo La Rue

    Saw Chris Hayes do the same thing with the Carson / Trump dumpster fire. It is definitely effective.

  • Agatha Guilluame

    Yup, yup and yup.

  • This is extremely accurate and poignant. It’s sad that, ANYTHING can be said and excused about the history of slavery in America. Yet NOTHING can be said or excused about the dark histories of other cultures, NAMELY Jewish people and the holocaust. While I don’t intend to diminish the plight had there, there is always air of “oh, that was so long ago, just get over it” if ever a black person even thinks to mention the ill-effects slavery has had on black Americans. Oh…how disgusting it all is.

    • Agatha Guilluame

      They want us to get over slavery but they can’t move past the civil war…you wanna wave the confederate flag but you don’t want to address the whys surrounding it…

      • miss t-lee

        This.

  • They would fire him. Let him get unemployment then rip up the first check in front of his kids.

    • miss t-lee

      Yup. The Holocaust does not get mocked like Slavery does.
      Never has, I’m not sure it ever will.

      • Nick Peters

        The Jewish community punishes people for crossing that line…we run to Twitter and have a march

        • miss t-lee

          That’s not the point I was making.

          • Nick Peters

            That is the reason the Holocaust is never mocked…the reprocussions outweighs the benefits…because if you do the Jewish community can and will punish you and we all know it.

            • heyheyno

              Can you provide an example please?

              • Melissa

                Not to reveal all our Super Secret Nefarious Punishments, but have you ever seen that jellied white fish in the jar? It’s called gefilte fish and, if you cross us, you shall eat it! ;)

                • jolly

                  Haha,there may not be “Super Secret Nefarious Punishments” but there are super organized “interest groups” within Jewish Communities, especially in the US, whom are able to exercise concise and directed, and sometimes concerted (key word being concerted) economic and political power enough to thwart an attack of the type that has continually been thrown against the black community and slavery.

                  I’ve always respected that about both Blacks & Jews the resilience, thrift and perseverance that says “we’ll make our own” or “only support our own” when it comes to the American dollar is profound.

                  The one difference is that in America, there’s been repeated concerted government efforts to thwart black movements of the sort that Jews can exercise freely. Think how the Black Wall Street was destroyed, the government’s actions against the Black Panthers, today’s black male incarceration rate. It seems for every effort in unifying and gathering as a black community voice, there indeed exists a super secret nefarious government attempt to thwart it.

                  As a black community I fear we’ve crumbled in large part due to the ever dangling illusion of “integration” thereby abandoning things uniquely and culturally “ours” for the sake of being accepted in a mainstream that honestly, when put in a similar situation, many Jews say “F it, we’re good, not being shut out again”. Hence there’s a JCC in almost every state…but not a BCC. Sad to say it, but the “punishment” the other readers are mentioning above often is merely the “economic clout” and “prowess” of a few that speak on the strength of the many supported by a government who isn’t checking for you perhaps.

                  • Melissa

                    Apologies if I misunderstood any of what you said, but the US government doesn’t really give two sh*ts about us as a religion/culture unless something happens that makes it look like they don’t give a sh*t. Sure, there are some very wealthy and well-connected Jewish people, but I’ll eat my hat the day they can out-influence, say, a Kennedy. I totally agree that the US government has actively put down black-led movements for change which is wrong, wrong, and more wrong. What you’re saying is that we were “allowed” to have special interest groups that are denied black people? Yes, absolutely. Also wrong, wrong, and more wrong. Seriously, you make some really compelling arguments and please correct me if I got any of it wrong!

                    • jolly

                      The US government may not give two sh*ts about Jews as a religion/culture but they do care about money. Capitalism is our game. Agreed regarding the few wealthy and well connected Jews. As for out-influencing a Kennedy I’m still surprised that our Judaeo-Christian values have not translated to a Jewish president for instance. It’s less that Jewish special interest groups are “allowed” to thrive and more that they do so [because] they’re not black and there often is “community money” supporting them. The institutional entrapment that comes with the history of American slavery and some of the same entitlement programs many Jews take advantage of is that I’ve observed Jews employ the system to help the “community” versus just helping the individual themselves.

                    • Melissa

                      Dude, I was just talking about why we’ve never had a Jewish president! Simple answer: large numbers of other white people do not f*ck with us. I think I’ve got what you’re saying on “community” now and it’s very true that money is a tool we’ve definitely employed to protect it. I’ve really enjoyed getting your perspective, btw and you should write professionally, if you’re not already!

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Imma also say that Jews are being allowed to “integrate” in a way that Blacks never have been

              • Nick Peters

                When I was a child my favorite rap song was “It’s All About The Benjamins” (I even did a science project on the song.If you listen to the song, even the explicit version..there is a part that is censored…the line goes:

                “You should do like we do, stack chips like Hebrews” with the word Hebrews censored.

                The stereotype of Jewish people craving money has an extremely dark history and has gotten many a Jewish person killed (even in the lead up to the Holocaust) many people inside that label and outside were adamant about that stereotype not being normalized in popular culture and in that song so many people inside and outside used their power to make sure that line was never completed.

                • Melissa

                  Right…because it was offensive. You know, BMW, Mercedes, Bosch, Deutsche Bank, Siemens Corp and Volkswagen all used Jewish slave labor from concentration camps. With the exception of VW and their current f*ck up, they all seem to be doing pretty well. I don’t have an issue with “Jewish people don’t put up with racist bullsh*t”, but no one’s “punishing” anyone via some kind of tribunal, a branch of our Power Grabbing Enterprise. It’s a religion and a culture, not a corporation.

                • h.h.h.

                  stack chips like hebrews…you can find that on different versions…a better example would be Michael Jackson on “They Don’t Care about us”.

                  Also Rick Ross had to apologize for his lyrics, and Reebok pulled back money after his UNENO Remix lyrics. when mobilized, blacks (well, black women) can make repercussions happen very quick like.

        • I don’t necessarily agree with that.

          There really isn’t any coherent Jewish community. What does exist among Jews are interest groups that are quick to come together and use whatever leverage they have to push organizations and institutions into fulfilling their will, then they go back their separate ways. And they tend to be far more quiet and apolitical about it than black the few interest groups that represent black people.

          However, that being the case, they don’t do these things as “a community.” They’re actually more successful because they don’t do it under the guise of a community. Community, means everyone has to be on board…and it takes a lot more effort and noise to get thousands, if not millions of people on the same page. There’s a reason why community, by definition is only supposed to apply to those that one has direct contact with, they’re supposed to be and function best when they are small – less conflicts of interests.

          • Agreed on the guise of community thing. Spend some time around Jewish people in the NY Tri-State, and you’ll see how much different groups actively don’t f*ck with each other. They’ll join together for a threat, and then get back to fighting each other… occasionally literally.

          • Melissa

            I have to disagree – I feel very much a part of a community. The large philnthropic organizations were established for that very reason – so we could come together to send kids to Israel, help out people who are in need, make sure learning Hebrew is accessible, etc.

            To Todd’s point, I have heard that in NY the ultra-religious groups sometimes have friction, but it’s not something I’ve seen for myself, luckily!

            • Actually that kind of proves my point.

              There’s a huge difference between a nation and a community. What you’re describing is pretty much a national mindset. It’s primarily about identity and pride, whereas a community is about intimacy. The attachments are much more stronger and in a sense more wrapped around trivialities and similar world-views than the maintenance of tradition/culture and national power.

              • Melissa

                Ahhhh, I see what you’re saying! I’d say on a day to day level, it really depends on how religious you are and where you live. In my city, there’s a really strong Jewish community that extends well into the suburbs. For people who live, say, in the midwest or the south, where there are fewer temples for people to join, I imagine it’s a little different.

          • Yellow Tail

            I live among Russian/Jewish people and this is spot on. The majority of Jewish people are poor and live in little “pockets” just trying to get by. The Jewish people with money do rise up from time to time if something is in their own interest under the guise that they are moving with “the Jewish community”.

            • Melissa

              “The majority of Jewish people are poor…” Errrr, where are you getting that from? Because…no, not really.

              • Epsilonicus

                It could be true in her region

        • Sleepy Time Warrior

          This isn’t completely true. We exercise whatever power that we have and take actions that are within our means, which isn’t limited to “run to Twitter and have a march” Also the difference between Blacks and Jewish people is that one group can easily utilize the systems in place in this country than the other. Also I grow tired of people knocking the Twitter activism and marching/protesting because these tools have been very instrumental in moving the BLM movement which is starting to influence the agendas of presidential candidates.

        • Dougie

          Which Jewish community? There are many.
          And what are the punishments? I’d love to know.

          This is a ridiculous comment, but I’d love to see where you thought you were going with this.

      • Wild Cougar

        In spite of the fact that slavery was way longer and way more brutal……

        • miss t-lee

          …and the effects are still lingering.

      • Sleepy Time Warrior

        Of course not, Jewish people are viewed in American society as people who came to this country to escape death by a leader who represented pure evil. People of African descent, however are viewed as less than human as our ancestors arrived to this country as breathing cargo for the purpose of work…and mainstream America hasn’t quite viewed us as 100% human ever since.

        • miss t-lee

          I totally agree.

  • Homer Alonzo La Rue

    Everyone would be gone en masse [exodus]. Pancakes

  • “The words “Holocaust” and “benign” ought never to appear in the same sentence, but Jews in Germany (usually) were treated less harshly than in most other places where genocide has been practiced — especially in ancient times.”

    Had this been published in that paper, that man would have been fired, carried out by security, not even told to get his ish. Defamation leagues and ACLUs and all manners of groups would have called for him to commit seppuku.

  • How do we get this article to more readers? Maybe we can paste both articles on a flyer and pass it out at a Steelers game.

  • Nick Peters

    I wonder if anyone black reading this article will acknowledge the fact that the reason you will never see this article is because the Jewish community primary goal in America has been to gain power…which allows then to punish people who come at them sideways. The reason that this happens to Black people is because we fight to be valued and accepted, not to be respected and feared

    • Melissa

      As a (technically half) Jew, I don’t know anyone who’s a leader in our community trying to be feared. Respected, sure. But feared? Trying to overpower everyone while being feared? I’m guessing you didn’t mean it this way, but that kind of plays into the trope that we’re running some kind of Us Vs. Them coven situation. The Jewish immigrants main goal in America was to live here, as opposed to being dead in Europe. Oy.

      • Nick Peters

        It’s not us vs. them…but they do protect themselves economically (really as all minorities should) and if someone crosses the line they will use those connections to punish that person or group…why you will never see an “educational video game” about the Holocaust. People really aren’t afraid of any reprocussions from the black community because we have little to no power

        • Melissa

          “They protect themselves economically.” Do you mean like, for example, a corporation’s CEO makes antisemitic remarks and then Jewish investors pull out? Absolutely. As far as a similar situation where someone makes remarks about the black community, I think a lot of that probably depends on where in America you happen to be? For instance, I live in Boston and, if you were publicly outed as a racist, you’re f*cked. As it should be. In the south, I’m not so sure. Which is beyond awful and, as I was just saying last week, I’m sure being a black person in the south is often like being a Jew living in Germany. Terrible, just so terrible.

    • Damon Young

      “we fight to be valued and accepted, not to be respected and feared”

      what does this mean?

      • Tentpole

        I hope you are asking that because you want to stimulate conversation. History has already answered this many times over. David and Abraham may not always agree, but neither will let the other be taken advantage by someone from outside their community.

      • Nick Peters

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