Malcolm Jenkins has been a prominent voice on social issues for some time now. He was even hired by CNN recently to be a regular contributor on topics of injustice and race.
He didn’t say anything about the DeSean Jackson controversy earlier this week, which some people found to be strange, considering that he’s often at the forefront of these things. But he posted an Instagram video today, saying the following:
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We can honor the Jewish heritage and trauma while staying focused on what matters. Jewish people aren’t our problem, and we aren’t their problem. Let’s not lose focus on what the problem truly is, and that’s that black lives still don’t matter in this country. Push this energy toward arresting and convicting the killers of Breonna Taylor and burning systemic racism to the ground. ✊🏿
I don’t think that’s going to be well received, specifically by a number of Jewish people who found DeSean Jackson’s fake Hitler quote and Louis Farrakhan praise to be offensive.
Jenkins comes across here as somewhat dismissive of the topic at hand, trying to turn this into a Black Lives Matter message (stay focused), when the entire controversy centers on a handful of anti-semitic posts made by a former teammate. For him to sit there and call the “back and forth” a “distraction” while writing that “Jewish people aren’t our problem” is tone deaf at best, and disrespectful at worst.
Yes, it’s true that DeSean was likely just trying to share a message of empowerment for black men and women when he posted this past weekend, but for Jenkins to take the controversy and tell people to “push this energy” in a different direction shows that he is completely missing the point, just like Stephen Jackson, Malik Jackson, and Zach Brown. Nobody is sitting here using the DeSean Jackson controversy to divert energy or focus away from BLM, or minimize the movement for racial and social equality. This is a separate issue and we should meet it with the same seriousness we would exhibit if somebody said or did something offensive directed at African Americans, Asian Americans, or anybody belonging to a specific racial or religious group. We can appropriately address antisemitic actions from DeSean Jackson while also continuing the push for equality, justice, and reform.
These things are not mutually exclusive.