When I was a child, growing up in a small Midwestern town, I was regularly singled out and persecuted as a “Christ Killer.” It was the first experience of feeling somehow different--this due to the popular slander of the era that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. Vatican II made a major attempt to rectify that source of religious divisiveness and much progress ensued.
Conrad, in his editorial cartoon (Sept. 17) has, by poorly veiled inference, revived the slander--this time using Mayor Tom Bradley as a surrogate Christ and “priests and politicians” as the targets of divisiveness; targets which, for too many years, were the Jews.
The real issue addressed by Conrad should have been the racism and bigotry that is part of the totality of Louis Farrakhan. His brand of hatred, even though not as overt in his Los Angeles appearance, is not the concern of only blacks and Jews. It taints relationships between all ethnic and religious segments and leaves a trail of poison that takes years to neutralize. More parts of the community were alarmed at the potential for polarization and divisiveness than the Jewish and black segments. It was not and is not a “black-Jewish” issue.
Conrad’s cartoon only served to fan the fires of distrust; to awaken old (and better left dead) prejudices; and to totally obscure what the real dangers were--our fears, ancient slanders and bigotry.