infinite identity crisis on earth

“Black [jewish] kids still need to be around other Black children and adults or else they turn into, for the most part, colorstuck, confused adults with identity issues.”

amen to that.

a simple enough facebook status that evolved into a whirlwind of crazy and…well…OTHER things…mostly the naive contention that skin color is irrelevant and black jewish children need to “just” be raised around jews…

this thread was one that raises a lot of questions about the issue of identity when being an [insert ethnicity] jew. as if for some reason ppl refuse to acknowledge the fact that YOU. ARE. BOTH!!! whenever i raise such issues the conversation usually goes like this: “do you consider yourself black first or jewish first? are you black or jewish? you seem to have identity issues. what does this matter aren’t we all just jewish?”

1-that makes just as much sense as asking a tiger if he’s orange first or black first. or asking a zebra if he’s black first or white first. or asking the color purple  if its red first or blue first. ITS. BOTH. likewise WE are both. there’s something so INFINITELY ridiculous about saying “well just be around other jews b/c ur jewish”…yes…but im ALSO SOMETHING ELSE. why is there always the insistence on denying the “something else”? especially since, EVERYONE WHO ISN’T “DIFFERENTLY” ETHNIC JEWISH GETS TO DO IT. ashkenazis are jewish AND from eastern europe. sephardis are jewish AND from western europe. mizrahis are jewish AND from the middle east. so not only what are you talking about, but what is this “just” jewish myth ppl keep trying to propagate? there IS no “just” jewish.

2-look, im glad for you that you as a person believe that skin color doesnt matter. yes in the long run, race is ideally irrelevant, and yes, the ppl that think otherwise are wrong.

you know whats also wrong? murder. and robbery.

and thats why ppl dont walk down dark alleys late at night alone. b/c while the happy happy cotton candy butterflies and rainbows version of the world acknowledges that its wrong, the REALITY is that it happens. a LOT. so to live as if that isnt the reality of the world, and to raise children to not be aware of such a reality is naive at best and utter stupidity at worst. as such, ethnic jewish children need to also have just as much exposure to the ethnic world they belong to and will be clumped along with anyway as they have exposure to the jewish world. to raise said child solely in EITHER world is disastrous.

3-also dont tell me racism is “wrong” or “stupid” or “it doesnt matter at the end of the day”. maybe thats what happens and the end of YOUR day. it’s not what happens at the end of mine. *i* have to wake up the next morning and do this all over again, like i have every single day of my life and will have to CONTINUE to do for every single day of my life. unfortunately us brown ppl dont get that magical power to declare something over just b/c we say so. so plz, save the platitudes. you arent going to “get” where im coming from anymore than im going to “get” the concept being able to drive a car and NOT get pulled over b/c it looks too expensive for me.

3-“do you consider yourself to be an african-american jew or a jewish african-american?”

honestly? im tired of this question. when i walk down the street do you see a jewish guy with black skin or are you curious about the black guy with a yarmulke on his head? if you see me down the street which yiddish word first pops into ur head “yidden” or “schvartze”? would you let me marry your daughter? why not? if i told you i was a kohen, would i be able to get that aliyah w/o problems? so tell you what, when you can treat me like we both “just” jewish, then sure, i’m a jewish african-american. until then, i’m an african-american jew and stop pretending that you see me as anything otherwise. because if i were walking down the street in a hoodie and i walk up on you, you’re gonna think im gonna tell you to run your pockets, not where i can find a maariv minyan.

more importantly, YES, im black.

will i get pulled over b/c i fit the profile? will i be followed around a store when i walk in? would i have drank from the colored only water fountains? can i walk into a synagogue and not get stared at? can a member of the klan walk by me w/o giving me a second glance? when i walk into a zales, can i get instant non-reluctant service? can i catch a cab in the city? do i need a zillion pieces of id to enter a gated neighborhood?

would any of these situations be dispelled by a quick “im jewish”, flash of a kippa and a sparkle in my teeth as i smile and wink? no? alright then.

4-by the way, “regular” jews? ashkenazis? you’re WHITE. get over it. sure you might find it soooo “distasteful” or you “dont identify” with being “white”, but guess what?

you are.

can you hail a taxi with no problem? do ppl follow you around the store when you walk in? do ppl clutch their bag closer when you enter an elevator? in the 60s would you have been forced to get on the back of the bus? can you walk into a synagogue and not get stared at? can a member of the clan walk by you w/o giving you a second glance? when you enter a zales, are the employees reluctant to come assist you? do you have any problem walking around gated neighborhoods at night? would you get asked to show id in arizona? do you receive all the trappings of white privilege? [well i guess thats a trick question, right? b/c one of the components of white privilege is that you dont realize that you have it]

at any rate, SURPRISE: you’re white. congratulations.

but you know, maybe im wrong. maybe i should just ignore this whole black and jewish thing and just accept that i’m “just” jewish. lets see what my fellow jews say:

“This congregation shall not encourage or interfere with making proselytes under any pretense whatever, nor shall any such be admitted under the jurisdiction of their congregation, until he or she or they produce legal and satisfactory credentials, from some other congregation, where a regular Chief [Rabbi] or Rabbi and Hebrew Consistory is established; and, provided, he, she or they are not people of color.”  –Rule No. 23, “Constitution of the Hebrwe [sic] Congregation Kaal Kodesh Beth Elohim, or House of G-d, Charleston”, 1820.

wow.

now tell me again about how i’m “just” jewish.

–MaNishtana

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76 thoughts on “infinite identity crisis on earth

  1. Fabulous post. Speaking of which, did you see the newest thing in my home town of Arizona? Mural on a school… artists being asked to “lighten the children’s faces” because they are too ethnic.
    :)

    Racism is alive and well, even though I wish this were not the case.

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  2. How come you didn’t reply to my view? I see you replied to Ruth’s contention there on Facebook, but I don’t see you as having replied here to my own contention.

    Anyway, you say, “Ashkenazis are jewish AND from Eastern Europe.” So what does that make me? I’m a combination of Scandinavian and Cherokee. I guess I’m irrelevant?

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    1. Oh, sorry. The Scandinavian+Cherokee is my mother, but I forget about my father, who is Hungarian, i.e. Central-European. And German Ashkenazim are from Western Europe. I guess you want to write-off every Jew from Germany or Hungary?

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      1. like i said before, i was speaking generally. the point was that for “regular” judaism, its perfectly acceptable to be defined by/from ur cultural surroundings. it was not meant to be a comprehensive list of every country classified as “ashkenaz” as thats not the point of this post.

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      2. “the point was that for ‘regular’ judaism, its perfectly acceptable to be defined by/from ur cultural surroundings”

        False. The laws of loving your neighbor as yourself and loving the ger (whether one interprets that as referring to the convert or to the non-Jewish foreign citizen in Israel) do not provide loopholes for discriminatory based on one’s culture, unless one’s culture involves violations of halakhah or the mitzvot, in which case discrimination would be allowed. That is, you can only be discriminated against based on your deeds, whether you are an observant Jew or not. That’s all the Torah allows as far as discrimination goes.

        Do many Jews violate this? Of course. Countless Jews are disgustingly racist. But their actions remain sinful. For you to say that it is perfectly acceptable in Judaism to discriminate, is to depict Judaism falsely. Do Jews discriminate? Yes. But they are violating the laws of Judaism.

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      3. as i said earlier, the issue is not the ideals, but what the reality is. ppl need to be prepared for realities not basking in the fog of what SHOULD be. and with the knowledge and grounding in reality, they can then attempt to change things to the way they ought to be.

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      4. “the issue is not the ideals, but what the reality is”

        Err, the whole time, I was arguing about nothing but ideals, and I wasn’t arguing at all about the reality. What on earth did you think I was debating about? Maybe you never disagreed with me. Maybe you simply had no idea what I was talking about.

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      5. the majority of ur arguments were about how ideally, skin/race dont matter. which stands completely opposite the point of the initial statement in the first place, everyone else in that post was discussing the reality

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      6. It sounds like u r implying that MaNishtana is being exclusive in his comments and he probably is bc the original statement is about BLACK PEOPLE! And about his experiences as a Black Jew. Read his post again. Do u suffer from any of the racism he mentioned? Go ahead… I’ll wait!

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      1. i addressed ur contentions of skin color not mattering, of not being “white”, that race is irrelevent, and the idea of racism being silly “end of story”.

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      2. My contention is that the color of your skin does not affect who you are, what your essence is. My contention is that whatever your skin color, you are still created in G-d’s image, and it doesn’t affect your essence, or how other people ought to treat you. My contention is that people ought to be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

        I’d like to see a rebuttal by you.

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      3. no one ever contested that. the fact is that’s not how the world works and its foolish to pretend that it functions otherwise.

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      4. But I never pretended racism doesn’t exist, any more than I pretended sexism doesn’t exist. My contention was not that actual concrete steps to educate racists are not necessary. My contention was only that the essence of a person is according to his character and deeds, not his skin color, and that any discrimination based on skin-color is illegitimate and unlawful. Likewise, theft is illegal, even if there are thieves out there. I wasn’t ignoring the real existence of racists, but I was merely arguing that racists are wrong and in error. The fact that you argued with me suggested that you disagreed with me.

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      5. you were also arguing against culture, or at the very least not grasping the nuances of it and why it necessary for someone to be educated in it

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      6. I was arguing that a newborn baby only a few days old does not yet have a culture. My argument was that a black child who is only a few days old does not yet have a culture, because he is not old enough yet to have formed intellectual opinions. If he cannot have yet formed intellectual opinions, either he has no culture yet, or his skin-color itself forms his culture, meaning that blacks and whites have intrinsic differences in the essences of their being, and meaning that MLK Jr. was wrong when he said people shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin. You cannot have it both ways. If a newborn black baby has intrinsic cultural differences with a newborn white baby, then this means that blacks and whites are intrinsically different, and MLK was wrong.

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      7. which proves my point. no one was ever talking about newborns and babies. we were talking about the realistic develop of a functioning human being in a decidedly racially charged environment.

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      8. We were talking about whites adopting black children. Unless explicitly noted otherwise, I’ll assume we are discussing adoptions that shortly follow the childbirth, when the baby is at most a few weeks old.

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      9. what we were talking about, what the statement itself clarifies, is that black jewish children still need to be around black ppl to have a healthy sense of self.

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      10. But if the child is a newborn, and has not yet developed a black sense-of-self, then what difference does it make whether a black or white adopts him?

        According to my view – following MLK – that character and not color is what matters – it shouldn’t matter who adopts the black child, since his self-of-sense has not yet developed, and the color of his skin is irrelevant. Once he develops a black sense-of-self, then it very well could matter who adopts him, but he is as of yet too young to have possibly developed any sense-of-self yet.

        But according to you, it does matter who adopts this black child. As far as I can tell, you believe that whites and blacks have intrinsic and essential differences, contrary to what MLK argued.

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      11. And once you argue that blacks and whites DO have essential and intrinsic differences, then you cannot argue that all discrimination is absolutely forbidden and illegitimate as a matter of principal. All you can argue about is how much discrimination is allowed and how much is not.

        Because surely, discrimination is warranted where the two things being compared have intrinsic and essential and inescapable differences. I can discriminate between peanut butter and jelly because they are two totally different things.

        So if blacks and whites DO have intrinsic differences – which is the only basis I can see for arguing that newborn blacks without any intellectual opinions should be adopted by blacks but not by whites – then discrimination might very well be warranted.

        In fact, to argue that blacks should be adopted only by blacks, is itself a form of discrimination!

        So you cannot argue anymore that racists are absolutely wrong for discriminating. You can only argue against the types of discrimination they engaged in, or the degrees of discrimination. You must now argue on an ad-hoc basis: do the essential differences between blacks and whites warrant segregated water fountains? Schools? Etc. etc. You cannot argue anymore that all segregation and discrimination is wrong, period, plain and simple. Now that you have argued that blacks and whites DO have essential and intrinsic differences, this means that discrimination is perfectly alright, provided that the discrimination is warranted and to the proper degree.

        But since I and MLK argue that blacks and whites do NOT have intrinsic differences, we can both argue against ALL discrimination, as a matter of principle, with no exceptions.

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      12. again, since my point was never about newborns, there’s no reason for me to respond to this argument. if it was, then maybe you’d have a valid point.

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      13. we were never talking about newborns. no one in that post was ever talking about newborns. at the VERY least, i, right now, am not talking about newborns

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      14. Then who on earth were we talking about, pray tell? I saw no evidence to suggest we were talking about anything but newborns. The natural presumption of a discussion of adoption, is that newborns are being discussed, unless noted otherwise.

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      15. “Black [jewish] kids still need to be around other Black children and adults or else they turn into, for the most part, colorstuck, confused adults with identity issues.”
        THAT is who we were talking about. that is all i was EVER talking about. the end.

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      16. “in a decidedly racially charged environment”

        Which begs the question: how racially-charged are things, in fact? In my public high school in Silver Spring, MD, students came from 84 different countries by birth. According to the available statistics, my school was 44.4% African or African-American, 0.2% American-Indian, 14.9% Asian, 27.5% Hispanic, and 13.0% White. As for the teachers, they were 27.7% African or African-American, 0.0% American-Indian, 5.8% Asian, 5.1 % Hispanic, and 61.3% White.

        My high school was an ordinary public school in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland. my school was placed at 304 out of the top 1,300 public high schools in the United States, out of 27,000 public high schools nationwide.

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      17. i didnt say it was. nor did i try to make it a valid point of comparison as you did. somehow you saw “racially charged environment” to mean “nyc” when i meant “judaism. period”

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      18. My Orthodox synagogue in Kemp Mill, MD, has a black couple from Belgium which no one seems to be treating differently than anyone else. Last time I heard someone discussing them, the “white” man in question was asking me if he thought this couple would appreciate a gift of an Artscroll French-translation of Rashi, so that they could understand the Torah reading more easily.

        There’s a black woman who comes to the synagogue regularly, that she isn’t Jewish, but she simply loves the rabbi because he’s the one who’s given her the best advice anyone ever gave her on romantic relationships, and she doesn’t want to marry anyone without my rabbi’s blessing.

        Yup, Judaism is sure racist!

        And the Torah and Talmud and traditional Jewish literature are also against racism, I believe.

        Now then, are there Jewish racists out there? Yes. Believe you me, I’ve seen plenty of racism practiced by Orthodox Jews, such as by the rabbinate in Israel against converts. But don’t conflate illegal and un-Jewish racism by sinning Jews, with racism by Judaism itself.

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      19. why do you keep giving me specific, isolated instances that are in the minority? if what you are saying was the normative experience, the statement that started this blog wouldnt exist in the first place. you keep bring up the civil rights era. well, what ur doing right now is the equivalent of saying, “well in this one town where i live we have integrated movie theaters.” well thats great. it really is. but that is NOT THE CLIMATE OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. same deal here vis a vis judaism. and plz tell me you didnt just say “no one seems to be treating them different”. how would you know? are you aware of all the subtle instances they encounter? or the things that dont even register for you that speak volumes for them? or are you just assuming that the fact that no one is overtly discriminating against them equals “not treating them differently”?

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      20. You’re using the isolated and non-representative example of NYC, so I’ll use an equally isolated and non-representative example.

        Anyway, at least as far as I can tell, no one is treating them any different. People are greeting them very warmly, and I’ve been present at conversations between them and longer-standing congregants, and as far as I can tell, the longer-standing congregants are talking to them the same way they talk to everyone else. Maybe when I, Michael Makovi, am not around, everyone acts differently? I wasn’t aware that I was such an integral part of the congregation that people act differently when I’m not around.

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      21. unless you have heard it from the couple’s mouths themselves, dont assume that they feel they arent being treated differently b/c YOU dont THINK they’re being treated differently. firstly, ny is hardly an isolated example, and secondly, it was never portrayed as being representative of a larger picture. lastly, its clear that at the very least this is a topic you are admirably yet naively commenting on as someone on the outside looking in who doesnt have to deal with these issues in their practical application on a everyday basis. its also clear that no matter how long this conversation is dragged out we will not be convincing each other of our respective points, especially if an insistence is made on pursuing tangents. as such, my part in this exchange is over.

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  3. “4-by the way, “regular” jews? ashkenazis? you’re WHITE. get over it. sure you might find it soooo “distasteful” or you “dont identify” with being “white”, but guess what?”

    So Ashkenazim are now Protestant Christians? Because that’s what “white” means – it means you’re a Protestant Christian of British stock, especially from New England.

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    1. if ur the klan, sure thats what “white” means. to most ppl, if ur light enough looking with a certain range of facial, hair features: you’re white. ppl dont look at ppl and say “gee he looks awfully protestant christian”.

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      1. Fine, let’s go to the dictionary. “White” is defined as “Caucasian”, which Wiktionary defines as relating to the “mountain range in West Asia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, on the territory of Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.”

        So maybe Russian and Bukharian Jews are “white”, and maybe any descendants of the Khazars are too, but Polish or German Ashkenazim would certainly not be white.

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      2. again, to the majority of ppl, what ur saying is moot. again, unless ur the klan, most ppl do not bother with whatever the technical definition of “white” is. just like most ppl ignore that the new millenium started in 2001, not 2000, that “conversate” is not a word, that “mischeivous” is pronounced “mis-chev-us”, not “mis-chee-vee-us”, that “criteria” is already plural, and that “forte” pronounced “for-tay” is a musical term and when you’re talking about somebody’s strengths its pronounced “fort”.

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      3. So I’m supposed to interpret your words NOT according to their actual denotations but rather, according to what people I’ve never met or conversed with will think? I cannot read minds, so how am I supposed to know what they think?

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      4. this is merely an illustration that you dont have–and there probably is no way–for you to be equipped to efficiently hold a discourse on this topic b/c it involves things that you either do not ever have to think about or are completely unaware they exist. there are some thing which, culturally, you just “know”. and theres no way to translate this to someone who isnt.

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      5. Has it occurred to you that perhaps some of your comments apply only to those in NYC? For example, you say:

        “because if i were walking down the street in a hoodie and i walk up on you, you’re gonna think im gonna tell you to run your pockets, not where i can find a maariv minyan.”

        I don’t know what it’s like in NYC, but for me, having grown up in suburban Silver Spring, MD, in a school that was white by plurality but not by majority – the majority of the school being a collection of blacks, hispanics, and far-eastern Asians – your hava amina is just bizarre. Why the hell would I suspect a black of being out to rob me?

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      6. yes. a lot of my comments apply just to nyc. like catching taxis. the point is to imagine ur everyday scenarios and truthfully figure-based on their physical appearance-whether ur reaction would be to treat this person as black or jewish. or whatever ethnicity or jewish

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      7. All I know is that historically, non-British-Protestants were not historically considered “white”. If you were from Spain, or Italy, or Germany, or Ireland, or Spain, or some such, then you were not “white”. Whites were British Protestants, and not being British, or being Catholic, was enough to exclude you from being “white”.

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      8. In fact, although most 18th-century Americans seem to have resented German immigrants to America, Benjamin Franklin specifically excluded Germans of Saxon descent, saying of them, “who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased.”

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      9. Michael, Let me sum this up for u the way i did on fb (not sure if u saw it). All of these scenarios and circumstances will not make u understand. YOU ARE NOT BLACK! U will NEVER EVER understand what we are talking about. None of the stuff u say really matters, u r not black, u cannot identify w/the black experience in america or anywhere for that matter. This shit about newborn babies is ridiculous. Even if u adopted a black child and YOU loved the baby and had no issue w/color it doesn’t mean other ppl wont. U cant really be serious about that. And that “i’m mixed w/cherokee” bull still means u r white when they look at u. I can almost guarantee that i am mixed with more than one race but I am one of the ppl in my fam that is completely and illustriously chocolate brown. Do u think ppl look at me and say. “Oh, she isnt black bc she has a white/jewish ancestor that bears the name Zimmerman.” Uh.. no.. they see my black ass and identify me as black bc that’s what i am and i am cool with my identity. And I dont know why u would deny being a white male… It is what it is. Nothing to be ashamed of. Just know that u r not black so u cant argue this point and have it make sense. I dont have anything against u, just trying to make a point.

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  4. I don’t get this argument.

    Are you REALLY arguing the definition of white??????? So, don’t call yourself white.
    How about we call you a low-melanin personage of European ancestry? And, instead of calling MYSELF white I’ll mention that **I** am primarily whitish-pink, and low-melanin with a tendency to burn and a delightfully peachy undertone that comes from my Irish ancestors.

    Do we all feel better now?

    So what exactly is your point here?

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    1. My point is that many of the people MaNishtana calls white, are actually not white at all. How can you take an argument of his seriously, if the basic premises of his argument are false?

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      1. do you not take ANYBODY seriously then? b/c there’s this funny thing called “public perception”. for example “white chocolate” isnt chocolate at all. peanuts arent nuts, they’re legumes. tomatoes are vegetables, theyre fruits. these arent ppl “i” call white. these are ppl who the PUBLIC PERCEPTION of deems to be white, whether they like it or not, whether its accurate or not. there are prolly ppl YOU call black, who are bi or multiracial. should we then discount everything you say b/c it doesnt conform to dictionary definition?

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      2. Well, for me, it doesn’t matter whether a person is black or not, so it doesn’t matter whether I correctly or incorrectly define what it means to be black. Since it is irrelevant what color a person’s skin is, it doesn’t matter whether I correctly ascertain his color. His skin color is about as relevant as the bacterial cultures in his large intestine. So if I miscalculate his skin color, it’s about as relevant as if I miscalculate the odds that he gets diarrhea or generates gas when he eats beans.

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    2. Normally, I am not as inflammatory or angry as I can coming across here. Normally, I am a quite calm and understanding person. But I see MaNishtana here as undermining central premises of the civil rights movement, which rather pisses me off quite severely. This irritates me quite significantly, and my patience was exhausted quite some time ago, and so I’m having difficulty controlling my temper right now.

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      1. What right do u have to be so angry? How is MaNishtana undermining the ENTIRE Civil Rights Movement? Why must u be so dramatic? MaNishtana is talking about racism which u agreed was real. What u want is for ppl to sit up here and act like racism does not exist or that the black experience is equal to everybody else’s “isms”. IT IS NOT! Racism exists, it is real, and we r not afraid to talk about it. It is what it is. MaNishtana is educated, well spoken, respectfully opinionated and is working thru to break those old stereotypes of what a Jew is. He is NOT undermining the Civil Rights Movement, he is starting a new one. And imma say it one more time… YOU ARE NOT BLACK AND THEREFORE WILL NOT UNDERSTAND. So save that negative energy for ur own page and ur own time. We blazing trails over here.

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  5. Michael,

    There is a common perception of what “white” is. But, even if you don’t admit to being white, its irrelevant.

    The basic premise of his argument is that the color of one’s skin matters in our society. And, frankly, you would have to be living under a rock not to admit this is true. Come to Arizona where I live. I will take you by the absolutely beautiful mural depicting children playing. Then, we can stand there and listen as passers call it the “n****” wall. And, then you can interview the artists who were asked to “lighten” the colors of the children… “just the shading you know, so they don’t appear so dark”.

    And, no, I still don’t understand your point. How exactly is he undermining civil rights by stating the reality that being “of color” has very real repercussions in our society?

    The day when people can drive by a mural on an elementary school and see art, and not race
    then I will think that we MIGHT be close to the point where skin color doesn’t matter. Until then, count me as someone keeping my eye on the prize.

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    1. As far as I can tell, MaNishtana is not arguing that de-facto blacks are being discriminated against – for if this were his argument, I would agree with him. Rather, he seems to be arguing that de-jure, they should be discriminated against, and thus, I am controverting him.

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      1. wow. i really had to come back to the conversation for that one. it seems you completely missed the point of not only this post, but every other post ive written ever in life. and NOW i exit.

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    2. Until now, I have never seen a good argument against interracial marriage, but MaNishtana has changed that. My mother always taught me that it didn’t matter what color my future wife’s skin was, but that only her character mattered. But now, thanks to MaNishtana, I can prove that I should not marry a black Jew. To wit: if I marry a black Jew, our children might face discrimination, and as a white father, I won’t be able to help educate my children on how to face discrimination. According to MaNishtana, a black child needs to be around black role models, so that he will learn how to face discrimination, but I, as a white father, will be unable provide this. Ergo, I should avoid marrying a black Jewish woman. My mother always taught me that color doesn’t matter, but thankfully, MaNishtana has set me straight. I’ll go spread the word that white Jews should ensure they do not marry black Jews. In Israel especially, we should make sure that the Ethiopian Jews marry no one but other Ethiopians. Thanks MaNishtana!

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      1. “Black [jewish] kids still need to be around other Black children and adults or else they turn into, for the most part, colorstuck, confused adults with identity issues.”
        wow.
        you’re right.
        i clearly see where i said they need to ONLY be around black children and adults, as opposed to saying they need to also acknowledge and embrace ALL the aspects of their heritage.
        totally done this time. promise.

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      2. W/an attitude like that u dont need to marry NOBODY! I dont understand why u argue so terribly. If u disagreed and u were actually talking about the topic presented, i would agree to disagree. Who said anything about interracial marriage? Youobviously know how to write, but do u know how to read?

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  6. P.S.

    I’m Jewish. I want to move so my kids can be around other Jews. Because, being the only Jew in a school full of Christians kinda sucks, and I want them to have a positive self-identity and see themselves as something other than “those kids that don’t do Christmas” or, worse yet, those “kids that don’t believe in Jesus”.

    Being around OTHER Jews will help them have a positive self-image of Judiasm, and will let them see that what they are is “normal”.

    Being Jewish yourself, perhaps you might also agree as to the benefits of a Jewish education?

    Now, wait, maybe I am being against the civil rights movement by insisting my kids benefit from being around other kids that are like them???

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    1. No. You want to raise your children with a Jewish identity, so raising them near other Jewish children is perfectly sound and reasonable.

      Rabbi Meir Kahane used to say that if a Jew refused to intermarry for anything but religious reasons, that he was a racist. Thus, a secular Jew who refuses to marry a gentile – for example – is a racist, according to Rabbi Kahane. The refusal to intermarry should be based on religious and cultural reasons, not ethnic or racial ones.

      Likewise, as long as you want to raise your children in a Jewish environment not because you hate gentiles – which would be unforgivable racism – but rather, because you want your children to have a strong Jewish identity, then this is perfectly sound and justified.

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  7. First if all, Kol HaKavod Shais on setting everyone straight… That highly deserves a Word Up with the arms crossed and a head nod!!! Lol. All jokes aside, this is something that really needs to be discussed and not swept under the rug as usual… The sooner these issues are acknowledged, the sooner darker skinned brothers and sisters can comfortably walk into … See Moreshul, a yeshiva, a wedding, a street of a Jewish neighborhood etc comfortably without the stares, the rude remarks etc… So ppl we are airing this out! This ish stinks to say the least and it should be admitted and acknowledged… Everyone else can turn their backs and wish the problem just went away while the children of observant Jews continue to go off the derech because they just don’t feel like they’re wanted or fit into their communities and are tired of the biases and prejudices and clear racism! Get your acts together people!!! It’s time for everyone to open their eyes and admit that THERE IS a problem and one that has perpetuated for far too long!!! This religion is not immune to the ills of the societies surrounding us unfortunately… So should you turn a blind eye or open ur minds and ur mouths and talk about it… Geesh… Don’t get me started… Lol. I’ve been through this for far too long myself… Unfortunately for me I gave up on ppl a long time ago… But I am willing to believe there is hope for change and progress in this religion too… WAKE UP!!!!

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  8. Michael,

    The analogy I was trying to draw is clear.

    When a child is the only XX (fill in the blank) in their community, they have a skewed understanding of what being XX means. I gave the example of being Jewish, because you understand being Jewish. But, the same applies to a child who is, let’s say, Asian, and is the ONLY Asian kid in their school.

    A child like that becomes “the Asian” without any real understanding of the richness of their cultural heritage, and grows up with a distorted sense of self, because no one else around them looks a thing like them. Ideally, a child like this grows up around OTHER Asian children, and white children, and black children, and Hispanic children.

    The sad fact, however, is that a Black, Asian, or often Hispanic JEWISH kid WILL be the only black, Asian, or Hispanic kid in their Jewish school. And just like the analogous Jewish child in a Christian school, these children will grow up without peers and other adults that are like them, and share their cultural heritage. This is EVERY bit as warped and abnormal as expecting to raise well-adjusted, RELIGIOUS, Jewish children in a school full of gentiles.

    Now, I am not going to say impossible… it IS possible. But, raising children is an incredibly difficult feat, and as such you need every single thing on your side that you can muster. This includes having them peers, and adult role models, who LOOK like them and share their cultural background so they don’t always have to be the “weird” one.

    As for intermarriage, some people like the frisson that such a huge difference imparts, and some prefer that their home be a cultural sanctuary where they don’t have to always “explain”. But, if you choose to marry a black Jewish woman, you will NOT understand the world that your child lives in every day. You can’t. You can love that child. You can offer them a sanctuary in your and you can LISTEN to your wife when she tries to tell you things that you will never understand unless you have lived them.

    Yes, you CAN help a child manage the world around them. But, there WILL be things you cannot understand. And, unless you are willing to admit this, you wouldn’t be able to help your child navigate the world of racism.

    Let me give you a less charged example: My kids are the product of divorce, and are in a single parent house. I can love them, support them, guide them.. but, since I was the product of an intact home, I can never really understand what this is like for them. So, I make sure they are around caring adults who DO understand. I know my own limitations.

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    1. “because no one else around them looks a thing like them”

      No one looks like anyone else, anyway. Everyone looks different. Nu, so blacks look a bit more different than everyone else. It’s only a question of degree. And in case, it makes not a lick of difference about his essence and who he is.

      Nu, so the black in this community is the only black, and he has no one else to observe, to learn what it means to be black. But all the same, no one else in my community has the exact same genetic code as me, and so I have no one else to guide me about what it means to have my genetic code.

      You say, “A child like that becomes ‘the Asian’ without any real understanding of the richness of their cultural heritage…”. I am honestly confused. The child has the same cultural heritage as his adoptive parents. If the child looks Asian, but is raised by whites, then the child’s cultural heritage is whatever the whites’ cultural heritage is. The child will not be missing his Asian cultural heritage, because he never had one in the first place to lose.

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      1. Michael,

        Yes, everyone looks different.

        But, skin color and race in our society are charged in a way that the difference between blue eyes and brown are not.

        Last I checked, you weren’t going to lose a job, be denied health care, access to education, etc, based on the color of your eyes. (And, here in Arizona, you probably won’t be asked for your papers either, unless you have brown skin and an accent.)

        Race is still charged in this society, even if this should not be the case. You don’t have to look far to see 1000 examples. So, even if this Asian child was adopted by white parents, there WILL be a point where his features and skin color matter. There WILL be a point where that precious child goes out for a play date, or a visit to a park, and is called some kind of disgusting racial slur. And, in a JEWISH school that child will NOT ONLY have to face the usual level of racism, they will also constantly face questions of their Jewish identity on a nearly daily basis. These are questions that white Jews almost never have to face.

        Yes, all kids get teased. But racial hate speech is assigned a specific place in our system of laws for the VERY reason I am trying to explain. Race is different. Race still matters in our society, and racism has very real effects on people’s life outcomes.

        AND, yes, racism is alive and well in the Jewish community to an alarming and disgusting extent. Perhaps you don’t see this, but ask the black members of your synagogue if they have ever been to a Shabbos where someone called them a svartze. If they are intermarried, as them what the extended family said when they were introduced.

        I am telling you… that… I have seen this for my very own with my own eyes. And not just in “this” community or “that” community, but in MANY communities all over. Racism is endemic in the Jewish community.

        For that matter, instead of assuming that your community is different, ask and listen. You might be shocked by what you hear, and then be in a position to actually DO something instead of claiming this doesn’t exist. And, since racism DOES exist, and IS a horrible truth in the Jewish community, then minority Jewish children especially need to be around other minority Jews.

        *sigh*

        The day that race doesn’t matter in our society, then you will be correct. But, we don’t live in that world. How do we get to that place?? I don’t know. But certainly, by LISTENING to one another, especially to the members of our society who are marginalized, we have a chance of getting a little closer to that goal. And, if and when that day ever comes when race does “matter” but is just one more part of a celebrated difference, then we won’t even need to be having a discussion like this.

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      2. Eve, you just proved that some Jews out there are racist. In other words, you just wrote several paragraphs to convince me of something I already know myself. Do you know how many racists I’ve rebuked in my life for saying disgusting things about blacks? I’m no great civil rights activist, but I was still known in my yeshiva as the guy that you’d better not dare say a racist joke around if you don’t want to get your ears torn off by an angry diatribe.

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    2. “The sad fact, however, is that a Black, Asian, or often Hispanic JEWISH kid WILL be the only black, Asian, or Hispanic kid in their Jewish school. …”

      So? I was the only Orthodox Jew in my public school, and I turned out fine. I didn’t have any Jewish role models except my mother.

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  9. I totally hear/agree!!! (Even if that isn’t always clear LOL!) Nice post. I think the way you break it down makes people really understand what they are thinking/doing/hearing around them. Sadly, they need it! Probably all of us do. People keep trying to be overly optimistic instead of face what’s really going on. Many recent activists/scholars talk about that as their main beef (like Dr. Joy DeGruy etc.)

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  10. Honestly, having read everything… I’m to lazy to get into it. Whoop tee…
    All I can say is that my friend here put forth a post and Mr. Man here who seems to want assert some form of superior reasoning simply got lost in his own reasoning. God Bless America and the education, but let us establish this reality… When you step up to the post, you discuss the argument that is presented to you not what you presume the argument to be. Or else this discussion sounds like Hobbes refuting Descartes on the Meditations. Meaning we have two people discussing two different things, when in actually if you are trying to have a discussion for the sake of comprehension you should focus on what is being expressed.
    For the sake of simplicity since (no disrespect, I’m not scrolling up to see your name) what’s his name seems so intent on just battering us with waves of confounding “wordplay”…
    My friend is simply asserting that while we do have a sense of what is ideal or what should be ideal to our existences, this is often not the case when experience reality. We cannot assent to what we do not experience. So we must make an account of the lack of experience, which presents a distinction that must be accounted for. This distinction… Race. While it would be wonderful for us to shed away this hindrance to our existence, this is not the case. We must look to how things are. There must be an awareness… a consciousness. While our true consciousness should be rooted in the ideal, it is hard to refute the experiences of the body.
    (Even Kant makes an acknowledgement of such things when he speaks of the categorical imperative and the hypothetical imperative.)
    You cannot deny any man of accounting for distinctions within our existences and trying to find a means of resolving the dysfunction that occurs through these distinction through culture/socialization. The moment you have to profess with your mouth “The color of your skin doesn’t matter”… then we already know it matters, because why would you feel the need to tell me that in the first place? It is a forced acknowledgement through experience. Unless you wish to deny my or any other individual or socialized experience (I am not arguing magnitude of situation or circumstance… just simply the distinction to be made in of itself)… then I guess that’s your reality, which does not coincide with other.
    And somehow I think the “intrinsic” propert your speaking of is a more so social condition than that of an individual condition, meaning something that is not inherent to us when we’re born… Well, yet again… for the sake of laziness I might need correction…
    Anyway… Even half remembering this overly expressed commentary on something so simply, as it seems (mr what’s his name)should refrain from interjecting premises that were not expressed, even implicitly, by the argument presented. There is an idea of connotation and denotation when it comes to language… look it up, it should define it for you appropriately. The nature of language is not so absolute most of the time to be presented as sound evidence to refute ideas that are INTRINSIC to the culture being examined. When did adoption come up in the post? Why are the assertion of absolute ideas not expressed by the post? Usually in argument there should be clarification if you lack understanding… shouldn’t just run with your own things under some pretense that you are refuting what is not expressed. Maybe you didn’t understand what was being expressed since you are the one responding… With all that thinking, key into what is being expressed and maybe you won’t get so angry next time.
    And Martin Luther King said what he said having experienced what he experience and voiced an ideal condition that would be wonderful if reality coincided with it. Nothing expressed is anti-civil rights, maybe insofar as how you argued with yourself, yes… but the sentiment, intention, and IDEAL of the discussion went nowhere along those lines. Try for a more positive examination and maybe more positive results will be born from it.
    Surely, I’m ranting… it’s late. Doubt I even made sense, and if I didn’t, maybe your just not getting it.

    Expressedly as objectively as possible
    ME

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  11. LOL…Manishtana…Still arguing with white Jews? Still attempting to get them to understand why being a Black Jew (Maintaining Black Culture) is relevant? I am curious, do you argue with Christians or Muslims in reference to the differences of belief systems? I only ask because making these attempts to “Educate white Jews”, only continues to fall on deaf ears. As many religions preach “Blind Faith” as oppose to “Reality”, non-Black Jews maintain that “their word is law”. So, many will maintain ignorance and racist stubborn views. We have already discussed it. He is a 22 year old boy, you are a 28 year old Black Man. Do the math, 6 years of life, understanding, and intelligence. He doesn’t want change or understanding. He just wants someone to entertain him due to his loneliness and boredom. Really, stop entertaining it. And don’t be afraid to block people.

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  12. One other thing. Well, two.

    When you, the not-so-hypothetical person of little or no color, register at a secular dating site, like Match or Yahoo (of beatified memory), do you click the White (or so-called caucasian) button for identifying yourself — without hesitation?

    And do you, when setting up at one of those dating shops, also click the ANY religion button, when designating who you’ll date (or shtup)? Even more important, do you click the WHITES ONLY button for designating whom it is you’ll go out with? If those answers are affirmative, your action’s White. Stop protesting Manish’s claims.

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