Don’t whitewash Charleston’s troubled racial history - www.jewishaz.com: Commentary

Don’t whitewash Charleston’s troubled racial history

ADAM MENDELSOHN | Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 10:00 am

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A prominent Jewish Charlestonian’s inspiring response to the massacre last week at the Emanuel AME Church has circulated widely in recent days (“This is not the Charleston I know,” posted on jewishaz.com, June 19). Robert N. Rosen’s essay points to the best traditions of life in the city: tolerance, an attentiveness to history, and a powerful sense of place and community.

But Rosen has also whitewashed the city’s history. His account lacks critical context when it comes to Charleston’s Jews and is rose-tinted when it comes to race. The city has changed dramatically in recent decades, but it all too often remains willfully ignorant of the long reach of the past into the present.

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