We Hold These Truths To Be Pretty Obvious…

so i’m in an inspired mood.  empowered, even.  which is usually a bad thing. lol. no, no, im kidding. i thought id write in this inspired mode b/c i dont exactly relish writing out of frustration or exasperation all the time. so i decided to randomly compose a bill of rights of sorts for jews of color. dont get me wrong im not the first to have this kind of idea and there already are a couple of “privelege checklists” floating around out there.  but those lists to me seem to focus a lil bit too much on what others have or what we dont have or what we have to fight for to change. which can be a lil daunting and/or disheartening [though no less real or true]. so ive put together a lil something that focuses on what we can do, right now. by no means is it a mandate for everyone to agree with, but im sure there’s a lil something for everyone here. [incidentally, i was aiming for 13 to sorta crib off rambam’s articles of faith, but i ended up with only ten. think that means something? lol. also, feel free to shoot me in the face if i use “lil” or “something” one more damn time.]

the joc bill of rights

1-i have the right to be jewish without having to feel apologetic about being ethnic and as such being seen as “inauthentic“. this includes not having to feel guilty about taking pride in my ethnic background, referring to/quoting its influential figures, or pursuing/acknowledging issues important to it and achievements in it.

2-i have the right to be ethnic without having to feel apologetic about being jewish and as such being seen as a “sellout“. this includes not having to feel guilty about taking pride in my jewish heritage–whether acquired or inherited–referring to/quoting talmudic sages or current rabbis, or pursuing/acknowledging issues important to it and achievements in it.

3-i have a right to my anger if i am mistreated in a jewish setting or encounter without having to endure the caterwauling of ppl telling me to “be positive” or “not complain” or “to be a positive example“. i also have the right to speak out against unjust treatment without the threat of the shadow of “lashon hara” being cast upon me.

4-i have the right to answer your insipid questions concerning my judaism–especially when i am wearing the universal symbols of judaism–with as much or as little snark as i so desire, should i choose to answer your question at all. consider this: if you ask me if/how i’m jewish and im a convert, your questions are harrassing me and reminding me of where i came from–both torah no-nos.  if you ask me if/how i’m jewish and im a born jew, then you’re calling me and my family lineage into question, thereby insulting me–also a torah no-no. so either decide which strike you want against you, or you can logically infer a conclusion from context clues.  your choice.

5-i have the right to refuse to allow people half my age to treat me as if we’re equals just because i remind them of the ethnic housekeeper they live with and order around. i have the right to demand the respect my age commands.

6-i have the right to discuss/criticize the state of israel without the accusations or insinuations that my ethnic background is the reason for any disharmonious views i might hold on the jewish state.

7-i have the right to not be impressed with cowardly non-jewish minorities who are too afraid to say anything to “massa“, but feel that since i am ethnic, they are free to hurl their prejudices at me and attack me with vehement, bigoted sentiments they wouldnt dare say to my white counterparts.

8-i have the right to believe that it is not my responsibility to guide you onto the road of humanity.  if i have informed you that the words or actions you have displayed are offensive, it is not my duty to find you an alternative.  it is your duty to ensure that the actions you take and the words you speak are not offensive. just because ive reprimanded you does not obligate me to hold your hand until you’ve discovered how to treat others with the same respect you are afforded.

9-i have the right to pursue a relationship with someone who shares my background and culture without having to weather charges that i am hoping against hope for the “impossible“, being “unrealistic“, “limiting” myself, or being “racist“. if jews dont like hearing this from non-jews when it comes to partner-seeking, what makes it ok for jews to say it to other jews?

10-i have the right, should i choose to pursue a relationship with a jew outside of my “race“, to be offered a selection of partners of the same quality and caliber as if i were any other member of that race.  i have the right to refuse to be offered the aged, eccentrics, or outcasts.  i have the right to not allow myself to settle for a partner of a lesser quality or caliber than i would accept from my own race.

and there we have it. phone operators are standing by now. lol.

–MaNishtana

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9 thoughts on “We Hold These Truths To Be Pretty Obvious…

    1. sure. just bring credit back this way, of course. lol. and so long as the line is clear between myself as an actual black jew and your research on hebrew-israelite sects.

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  1. 4,5, and 8 were my favorites. Once again, you have managed to nail it. My favorite stupid @ss line recently was “Why do you call yourself a woman of color? You’re just a person” at shul last week. And then found myself woundering how I got stuck schooling her. Sigh. Selichot services will be fun.

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  2. Jbfam, i am so loving this! I want pull a martin luther and nail this to door of every shul in cincinnati. I am going to print this, real talk and frame it. You are a literary genius… Uh oh… I am being way too nice to you. Haha! We cant have that, now. 🙂

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  3. 1 and 2 sound a lot like Maria P. P. Root’s “A Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People”. Interesting parallel’s there, for clear reasons! The rest, well, you already know! Wonderful!!!!!!

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