New York State of Mind: What the WSJ Missed about Amare’s Spiritual Search

by Dax-Devlon Ross

I was on a plane to Dallas last week when I noticed a passenger seated in front of me reading a Wall Street Journal article on Amare Stoudemire’s trip to Israel. I’d been hearing about Amar’e’s Jewish heritage proclamations for a couple of weeks and thought it was, you know, interesting, but it took seeing the story in the WSJ to pique my interest.

My initial thought was  cynical one: New York City is home to more Jews than any other place in the world besides Israel. I wouldn’t put it past a guy who activelycampaigned for All-Star team votes the last two years to pick a religious faith on the eve of his debut as a Knick just to score some initial points with fans.

My second thought was how would we be reacting if this was a star white athlete claiming that his “tru culture” was Islam and started signing off his Twitter updates with As-Salumu Alaykim? How would we interpret his journey to Mecca? What would we think of his plan to observe all Muslim holidays? Wouldn’t someone out there consider it a grand, disingenuous act of cultural appropriation? Would any of us feel in any way discomforted by his trainer taking on the role of spokesman? Would the highly respected Wall Street Journal lay out a flattering full-page spread? These are just a few questions to ponder…

My third thought was that maybe Amar’e was a little confused about his mother’s Hebrew roots. You see, there is a religious sect called the Black Hebrews. If you live in New York City you’ve probably seen them proselytizing on street corners. Most of us ignore them for obvious reasons: they appear incredibly hostile toward whites and express  black supremacist views. Among their teachings are:

1. All Jews were originally black

2. White Jews are frauds

3. African Americans are descendents of the lost tribes of Israel

4. Jesus was an adherent to Judaism and a prophet, not God or his son

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