©2017 by The Highly Indy Project

highlyindy@gmail.com, New York City

 

On Pittsburgh and Hate

Jojo Barnett

October 31st, 2018

In a country that has become increasingly desensitized to violence and frequent mass shootings, I was still shocked and overcome with grief when I heard of the massacre in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. More than that, however, I was scared and frustrated.

 

I am scared, because for the first time, I felt I would not be a victim of chance, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I was harmed, it would be because of my identity. This was an attack of targeted hate.

 

All the more so, I am frustrated. I am frustrated that we live in a world where this can happen. I am frustrated that we live in a world where this was allowed to happen because these sentiments of hate are not cut out of the conversation. We insist on giving platforms, power, and office to those who spew vicious hate and we do not confront or care when popular figures on our own political side passively support these people. We excuse actions of hate in exchange for actions benefiting us.

 

I am angry that the deaths of my people for being Jews are disregarded, and instead are paraded as simply the product of overly lax gun laws. I am angry when those left-wing figures whose anti-semitism we like to ignore send out their condolences, when they have shown to not care about the jewish community. I am angry that their deaths are being used as political pawns for those who hate us to gain gun control.

 

I am frustrated that the only messages of support and action I have seen on social media are those of the jewish community. I am frustrated when my peers who post their condolences following many of the all-too-frequent mass shootings and acts of police brutality in this country instead post cute photos in costume tagged #halloweekend.

 

I am furious that, yet again, the only people who are advocating for jews are jews. I am furious that the blame of anti-semitism is placed on the only people whose fault it is not.

 

I am exhausted from not even being able to allow myself the time to grieve, that I write these words on a break from studying just to get the words and thoughts out of my head.

 

I am bitter that the place that was supposed to be safe and holy and a home has been defiled by bloodshed and tears and pain. I am bitter that people outside the jewish community don’t seem to care.

 

Yet, I am hopeful that this can motivate us to acknowledge that antisemitism is still an issue. That we can grow out of the ashes and rebuild ourselves from this pain and fight the rhetoric of hate that has invaded us.

 

I pray that we can turn our thoughts and prayers into actions and create a world free from such violence for those who come after us. That those born today will grow up in a world where this is a distant memory of the past.

 

I wish that those who claim to be intersectional remember to include Jews in their activism, that anti-semitism parading as anti-zionism on the left will be called out and vilified the way neo-nazis are. I wish that people confront anti-semitism when they see it and do not allow this issue to progress further into the darkest stages of hate and violence.

 

Finally, I ask you to remember those things that are beautiful and good in the world, and know that that is why we fight for a future free from hate.