Reader Post: Antisemitism in Atlanta – And the Apathy of a Local Jewish Media Outlet

It’s usually best to ignore the trolls. However, there are some exceptions to this rule – especially when the troll is employed by a large corporation and has a position of authority presiding over very vulnerable people.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Carol Hoskins-Burks appears to work as a District Director of Clinical Documentation improvement for Kindred Healthcare Incorporated in Atlanta – a fortune 500 company and one of the largest health care providers in the United States. Her line of work brings her into contact with some of the most vulnerable members of our society –people who need high level medical care – primarily senior citizens.

Hoskins-Burks appears to be a prolific Twitter user and on 12/11/2016 expressed her admiration for Adolf Hitler by tweeting a meme that contained a quote from the late Nazi leader stating that “one day mankind would learn and appreciate…” the fact that he tried to save them from the Jews. ” In other tweets, she trolled and abused well known Jewish comedian Roseanne Barr and other Jewish Twitter users.

Curiously, Kindred Healthcare has a notice of “Non-Discrimination” section on their website. This section invites concerned members of the public to contact Kindred if they feel that they have been discriminated in any way by the corporation or their employees. I contacted the organization one week ago via the email that was provided in that section and (as of publication), have not received a response. Other concerned members of the public contacted Kindred Healthcare via social media and were informed that the issue is “being investigated” and declined to provide further comment.

But perhaps the most disturbing part of this story is the reaction of the local Jewish community newspaper – the Atlanta Jewish Times.  After initially receiving no response, I contacted them a second time and got the following response from the editor:

Believe it or not, we have many things we are working on, and the repellent statements of one mid-level employee of one company do not typically warrant dropping everything for condemnation. She does not pose an imminent threat to anyone, and I’d never even heard of Kindred Healthcare. It’s necessary to learn more before saying or writing anything about her. Her statements indicate she’s anti-Semitic; I’m not sure they indicate a danger to our community.

I personally have a tendency to take people for their word. One of the biggest lessons of the Holocaust is to take people who wish you harm for their word. I wonder how the editor determines who is and who is not a threat to the local Jewish community?

Would he feel comfortable if one of his elderly parents or grandparents was a patient at Kindred Health and had contact with and/or had come under the authority of this particular individual?

Hoskins-Burks appears to be a supporter of the Nation of Islam and the Black Hebrews.  A person’s skin color shouldn’t matter – but would he take a different approach if this individual was a white supremacist?

If an elementary school teacher made lewd remarks about children on social media – would he also employ the same logic and determine that the teacher poses no threat to children while presiding in a position of authority over them?

Why would this scenario – which involves a person in a position of authority presiding over vulnerable elderly patients and one who is likely to come across vulnerable Jewish patients and their families, be any different?

As a local Jewish journalist, doesn’t he have a responsibility to follow up on this story and inform the local community. Doesn’t the local Jewish community of Atlanta have a right to know? Especially when members of the community are likely to have close relatives living under the care of Kindred HealthCare? Granted that the Atlanta Jewish Times “has many things that they are working on” – such as a front page story on an “ugly sweaters contest” at the local reform temple –  I think they owe it to their readership and local community to follow up and cover this story.

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