Jordan Press

As Interviewed by Milla Press, April 29, 2019

Jordan Press: In His Own Words

This is an interview by Milla Press of Jordan Press about his experiences in anti-semitism.

When you were a kid were there any articles, books, films, speeches, newspapers, or theater performances that influenced your thinking about anti-semitic relations?

American History X, which is the movie with Ed Norton, and is all about white supremacy. I just remember it having a big impact on how I felt about discrimination and how terrible it was.

When I went to college in Indiana, so I went to Indiana University (Indiana is the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan). You would fly into Indianapolis and drive an hour to Bloomington, Indiana -- which was where our school was. Halfway between Indianapolis and Bloomington was Martinsville, and Martinsville was the epicenter of the Ku Klux Klan. So it was very interesting the first time I drove through there, and then over my four year tenure at Indiana I actually had a few times where there was anti-Semitism. The first was I went to another fraternity. I was in a Jewish fraternity (ZBT) at Indiana. We went to a party one night with a bunch of friends at a different fraternity -- and this is like my fourth or fifth week of school. The other frat was totally fine with us being there until they found out what fraternity we were in. It wasn't because we were in a different fraternity, it was because our fraternity was a Jewish one that they absolutely freaked out and tried to fight us.

Weíre standing in the basement and I had a friend come up to me and he said somethingís going on on the other side of the room. There were three of us there, so it was the third person we were with was in a confrontation where about three people were yelling at him, using slurs, calling him Jewish and things like that, telling him to get the bleep out. When I walked up I tried to defuse the situation, but there were now like ten to fifteen guys there. We were in a basement so we were kind of cornered.

I mentioned American History X earlier which is a movie, pretty graphic -- they were quoting the movie. So they were quoting terrible parts of the movie that had an impact on me as a kid. They told me to bite the curb and that they were going to curb stop me, which is kicking the back of my head. That's a scene in the movie that is shown -- they donít show it but itís just a very racist scene. What was impactful for me was seeing how terrible that was and what has clearly happened was they thought the opposite when they saw the movie and they started emulating it. So these people tried to steer us into a closed courtyard, but we escaped and took off.