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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Indifference to Anti-Semitism in Sports, Hollywood Is a Sign of ‘The Coming Apatholypse’

By Craig Bannister | July 15, 2020 | 12:39pm EDT
NBA Great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Getty Images/Sam Wasson)

The apathy displayed in the sports and entertainment worlds when one of their own publicly voices anti-Semitism is begetting an “apathy to all forms of social justice” – an “Apatholypse,” NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar warns.

It’s not just the offensive remarks about Jews by some celebrities that’s troubling, it’s also the lack of outrage over the blatant anti-Semitic comments, Abdul-Jabbar writes in a commentary published Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter in which he predicts the coming “Apatholypse”:

“Recent incidents of anti-Semitic tweets and posts from sports and entertainment celebrities are a very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement, but so too is the shocking lack of massive indignation. Given the New Woke-fulness in Hollywood and the sports world, we expected more passionate public outrage. What we got was a shrug of meh-rage.

“When reading the dark squishy entrails of popular culture, meh-rage in the face of sustained prejudice is an indisputable sign of the coming Apatholypse: apathy to all forms of social justice. After all, if it’s OK to discriminate against one group of people by hauling out cultural stereotypes without much pushback, it must be OK to do the same to others. Illogic begets illogic.”

Abul-Jabbar calls it “disheartening” to see the very people who have been “violently marginalized” by groups like the Nazis and the KKK use “the same scapegoat logic” against others – unknowingly perpetuating the very type of racism they’ve been victimized by:

“These famous, outspoken people share the same scapegoat logic as all oppressive groups from Nazis to the KKK: all our troubles are because of bad-apple groups that worship wrong, have the wrong complexion, come from the wrong country, are the wrong gender or love the wrong gender. It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.”

Anti-Semitism in sports has become so rampant that nationally-syndicated radio host Mark Levin said Tuesday that he will "never" again watch either NBA or NFL games.

Read Abdul-Jabbar’s full commentary in The Hollywood Reporter.

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