Have You Heard of Irving Berlin’s Alleged Snow Job Against African Americans?

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tags: Christmas, Irving Berlin



Harold Brackman received his doctorate in from UCLA in 1977 for a dissertation on the history of Black-Jewish relations. After a decade in academic teaching, he joined the Simon Wiesenthal and its Museum of Tolerance as a senior consultant. 

Some of you may have had your heart-warmed by reading Irving Berlin biographer Lawrence Bergreen’s recent piece in the Journal quoting an exchange between cantor’s son Berlin and his musical transcriber, Helmy Kresa.

“I want you to take down a song I wrote. Not only is it the best song that I ever wrote, it’s the best song anybody ever wrote,” Berlin told Kresa in 1940 about White Christmas. According to Bergreen, “Helmy rolled his eyes with doubt, but the moment Berlin sat down in front of a piano and played the song, Helmy ‘knew right away that it really was the greatest song ever written’ because of the way Berlin had juxtaposed the ‘warmth of Southern California and the cold snow’.”

White Christmas still reliably precipitates every Yule Tide, whereas God Bless America may be losing favor.

Anyway, it’s past time for you over-heated White privileged, Berlin admirers to chill out by admitting that the musical white side has a dark side exploited by this notorious Jewish minstrel man’s most beloved song. Last December, as demonstrators held “I Can’t Breathe” protests over the death of African American Eric Garner, others launched a social media assault on black singer Darius Rucker for having the audacity to sing White Christmas in Rockefeller Center not far from where Garner died under police restraint.

Since then, reverberations have been nonstop, most recently from UC Berkeley students—in the spirit of the Black Lives Matter Movement and “Black Xmas” protests—blocking Sather Gate where they accosted white passersby with demands, among other things, that racist White Christmas be banned. ...




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