Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Mr. Stoll: There is a Difference

Satmar Chasidim in Brooklyn (Algemeiner)
I might agree that the New York Times has shown bias in their publication more than once. I might have even agreed that they had a double standard in how they treat the welfare recipients in Satmar versus the welfare recipients in the Black and Hispanic communities, if not for one important difference. It is true that all of these groups are unable - for lack of a decent education - to earn enough income to avoid welfare. But Satmar Chasidim are purposely prevented by their leadership from getting one.

The reasons why Blacks and Hispanics do not get the kind of education they need to succeed financially are complex and beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that it is not because they are told to avoid a higher education by their leaders.

That is not the case with Satmar Chasidim. They purposely prevent their students from getting one by by forbidding it to most of their Chasidim. They do not offering any subjects that would help them do that. Instead they are encouraged to seek financial assistance from as many state and federal government agencies they can to help supplement their (in most cases) meager incomes. I therefore find it highly disingenuous for the Algemeiner's Ira Stoll to blame the New York Times for complaining about Satmar.

Mr. Stoll completely ignores the obvious. From the Algemeiner article
The Times columnist accuses Satmar Hasidim of being welfare sponges… 
First, the hypocrisy and double standard of which the Times accuses the politicians applies just as equally to the Times. Times columnists feel free to accuse politicians of racism or callousness when the politicians deplore welfare dependency in the black or Hispanic community. But the Times columnists lead the charge against welfare when the targets are Hasidic Jews.  
Doesn’t Mr. Stoll know the difference between the two? Doesn’t he realize that Blacks and Hispanics are not denied permission to learn what they need to learn to earn a better living – while Satmar Chasdim are denied it by their leaders? Their own secular education is so inadequate, that even if some of them decided to buck the system and go to college, it would be nigh impossible to do so with the little education they get in their schools. (Yes, there are exceptions. There are always exceptions.)

What makes Mr. Stoll's complaint even worse is the way he ridicules a core curriculum of secular studies - implying they are wasteful: 
The Times quotes one “exile from the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn” complaining about her education: “They didn’t teach us anything in high school so I didn’t know anything, no Shakespeare or anything like that.” Nothing against Shakespeare, but how many Hasidic Jews are going to become Shakespearean actors or English literature professors? 
Does Mr. Stoll really believe that all secular studies amount to study of Shakespeare – just because one former Satmar Chasid used that as an example of what she missed out on?

Mr. Stoll seems like an educated man. Does he really expect us to believe that the secular education he very likely received is irrelevant to his career? ...that he did not benefit from it at all? I would highly tend to doubt it. I'm sure that instead - his life has been enhanced by it.

I’m not saying that there is no bias in the New York Times. They are as biased in their reporting as anyone. If you are a human being, you are going to bring your own biases to the table. No matter how much you try not to. They have indeed been guilty of it many times. But this is not one of those times.