Jewish people also participated in the racist propaganda that fueled the genocide of Black people in America.
In 1915 the Movie “Birth of A Nation” was released. It was known as America’s first blockbuster movie. It was based off the book “Klansman” by Thomas Dixon. According to scholar John C. Inscoe, Dixon stated openly that his purpose was “to create a feeling of abhorrence in white people, especially white women, against colored men” and he wanted to use his film as a way “to have all Negroes removed from the United States.”
“So powerful was the impact of the movie in 1915 was that it is often credited with setting the stage for the Klan revival that same year. In fact, the man who actually created the 20th century Klan … used the publicity surrounding it to win recruits to his organization. … Birth of a Nation is so blatantly racist that it is rarely shown in public theaters today. … The racial hatred exhibited in the movie, once acceptable, is now abhorrent to all but the Klan and the most extreme bigots”
-The Southern Poverty Law Center’s 1991 publication Ku Klux Klan: A History of Racism and Violence describes the influence of The Birth of a Nation:
A Jewish man named Louis B Mayer, who owned a chain of movie theaters, began building his wealth with the profits from showing Birth of Nation through out New England. He would later start one of the worlds oldest film studios, MGM.
Jewish people also played a role in the racist propaganda called “blackface”, which started in the 1830's.
“Blackface itself is an unpleasant form which demeans African Americans. There’s no way around that fact. Jews were the predominant purveyors of it during the turn of the century. They didn’t originate it, they inherited it.”
- Michael Rogin, former UC Berkley Professor
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