(CNN)A seeming lack of considerable outrage from Black people over recent high-profile, anti-Semitic controversies stems from the desire to not be accused of “undermining and undercutting” the current racial justice movement, journalist Jemele Hill said.
“There are people who give no care about the Jewish culture, who are using DeSean Jackson, Stephen Jackson and some of the entertainers that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar mentioned as a way to undermine and try to eat at the credibility of the people who are out there fighting for justice,” Hill, a staff writer at The Atlantic told CNN’s Don Lemon on Thursday. Hill was responding to an op-ed written by Abdul-Jabbar that called out Hollywood and the sports world for what he said has been a lack of outrage over recent anti-Semitic remarks from members of the Black community, including Jackson, a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles.Hill said that the NBA hall of famer was not wrong in calling out a lack of outrage over anti-Semitism, but argued that the conversation is nuanced.”We’re in this moment, this very thoughtful and critical moment where we’re having conversations about race, and because you have Black people who are at the center of these controversies, people worry that, OK, if I come out and I criticize Nick Cannon, that’s going to be perceived as if I’m being against Black people, who in this moment are fighting for something really important,” Hill said.Read More”I think that’s why you have seen a little less outrage than maybe you would have seen if this involved somebody White saying something about somebody Black. Nobody wants to be accused of undermining and undercutting the struggle.”Cannon, an actor and TV host, was criticized after a recent episode of his “Cannon’s Class” podcast featured controversial hip hop figure Professor Griff and talk turned to Black people as the “true Hebrews” and included anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. ViacomCBS ended its relationship with Cannon, effectively canceling his improv show, “Wild ‘N Out.” Cannon, who has since apologized, will stay on as the host of Fox’s competition series “The Masked Singer.”In a post on Twitter, Cannon announced that he will “take some time away” from his nationally syndicated radio show so he can commit himself to a “more thorough reflection and education.”Prior to Cannon’s remarks, Jackson received backlash for a series of anti-Semitic Instagram posts, one of which included a quote about Jews falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler. He apologized after receiving widespread criticism.”In their minds they think that they’re saying something that’s educational, that’s historically accurate, and something that is not anti-Semitic,” Hill told Lemon. “I think part of the reason that they think that way is because they don’t understand some of the same stereotypes and tropes that they’re pushing about Jews owning everything, about feeding into these conspiracy theories that they have master control over a lot of different industries. That they’re also at the same time putting on full display the very reasons why they were persecuted by Hitler to begin with.”Hill went on to say that conspiracy theories shared by Jackson and Cannon show that they don’t understand how hurtful they can be to members of the Jewish community. “I don’t think that they’ve ever really had the type of conversation that would allow them to have that level of empathy or sympathy, and they must understand that anti-Semitism is a huge component of white supremacy, which we’re all trying to fight,” Hill said. In Hill’s latest piece, “The Anti-Semitism We Didn’t See,” she addressed Jackson’s anti-Semitic posts and the fallout she received after making an anti-Semitic comment while covering the NBA Finals series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics in 2008 as a general columnist for ESPN. “The line I used in the column was that ‘if you root for the Celtics that’s like saying, Hitler was a victim,'” Hill continued. “And while I know on the face of it there are many people who said, that doesn’t seem that bad. That wasn’t really the point. The point is that had somebody made a similar joke — let’s say it involved slavery or let’s say it involved a notorious figure who had been known for persecuting black people, I would have been pissed, frankly. That just allowed me — gave me an entry point to reflect on why I did that so callously.””Obviously as black people we understand what our struggle is, what our fight is, what we have been through, how we have been the victims and brunt of institutionalized racism, systemic oppression — we could go on and on.”Hill added that her experience helped her get into the mindset of why Jackson posted anti-Semitic posts. “And sometimes we get so wrapped up in that fight, that we tend to denigrate other marginalized groups and say, ‘no, we were persecuted the most. No, we have been through the most.’ And we disrespect what other marginalized people have been through. We may not do it on purpose, we may not do it with malice, but that’s what we do nonetheless. It’s kind of what I did.”