By Sue Winthrop
I have to admit, I really wanted Eric Bieniemy to get the Broncos head coaching job. It seemed to me that he should have been a favorite because of his ties to Colorado and his phenomenal work with Kansas City. When the Broncos organization introduced Nathaniel Hackett, my heart sank. However, listening to the press conference and Coach Hackett’s comments, I could see why he was hired. Still, I wondered why Eric hadn’t had the opportunity. I was horrified to think that it could be due to the color of his skin. I also followed Coach Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL. Coach Flores’ words, “If I never coach again, but there is a big change, it will be worth it,” were courageous. It seems to me that things got worse instead of better. I hope this trial will do some good and that changes will be made.
I am unable to talk about discrimination due to the color of my skin. I can talk about discrimination for being Jewish. As a receptionist for a doctor’s office after requesting payment from a patient, her response: “What kind of Jew are you? I was wearing a Star of David necklace and a co-worker saw it and said, ‘I didn’t know you were one. I was too shocked to say anything. I no longer want to be silent.
In a 2020 survey of 11,000 Americans under the age of 40, conducted by the “Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany”, more than half of respondents had no idea that 6 million Jewish people had been murdered in the Holocaust, 48% could not name a concentration camp, and 11% of people said Jews were to blame. I had family that was wiped out in the Holocaust or were survivors. I used to listen to their stories and think it would never happen again. Now it’s not so clear. I had the opportunity to visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem; the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC; and the Holocaust Museum and Cohen Education Center in Naples, Florida. The powerful images and stories will stay with me forever. I must never forget.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise. According to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2015 there were 941 anti-Semitic incidents. In 2020, there were 2,024 antisemitic incidents. In the past month, four members of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, while attending Saturday morning Shabbat services, were taken hostage by a terrorist and had to escape. On January 28, nearly every column and wall at Union Station in DC was vandalized with swastikas and profane messages. In Chicago, there has been an increase in anti-Semitic vandalism of synagogues and Jewish schools. Flyers blaming Jewish people for the pandemic have been distributed in Denver and communities in five other states.
On “The View” TV show, Whoopi Goldberg made the following statement about the Holocaust: The Holocaust was “not about race…(but) man’s inhumanity to the ‘man”. When asked by one of her co-hosts that the Holocaust was about white supremacy, Whoopi replied, “but it’s two groups of white people.” Earlier, she said, “It’s white people doing it to white people…so you’re all going to fight each other.” Whoopi apologized and was suspended for two weeks due to the injury she caused
It seems to me that this behavior shows people’s ignorance. Ignorance leads to misinformation. Misinformation leads to conspiracy theories. These anti-Semitic conspiracy theories lead to anti-Semitic beliefs and discrimination.