- Rabbi Shai Held: All men were created equal, but not all men are treated equally.
- White indifference towards racial discrimination of African-Americans only helps racial tensions increase, he says.
Rabbi Shai Held, a leading Jewish theologian and educator, is co-founder and dean of the Hadar Institute and the author of "Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence." The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
(CNN)From its founding, the United States professed that "all men are created equal," and from its founding, it made a mockery of this core value. People of color were treated as chattel, derided as "savages" and enslaved and degraded at every turn. It is one of the tragic ironies of human history: We don't usually oppress those we see as fully human. So first we dehumanize, and then we feel licensed to oppress.