my one night stand-off

hey guys.  i know, i know, i’ve been a little bit lax for the past three or so months.  don’t worry, soon enough you will be able to find the rest of the “real talk parsha: shemot” series at a soon to be disclosed place.  but i’ve got a good excuse why i’ve fallen off the wagon.  see, after an eight-year relationship i recently found myself very un-engaged.

[audience: awww…..]

yeah, yeah, relax guys, i’m alright.  but in my newfound singleness i decided—mostly for kicks—hey, why not join one of them there jewish dating sites i hear so much about?  i’m really curious what kinda freaks [physically, not sexually] they’d hook me up with.  so over to frumster.com i go.

firstly, i’m annoyed before i even get out the gate.  why?  well, apparently, according to frumster, there’s only two kinds of “ethnicities”: ashkenazi and sefaradi.  if you’re not one of those two, your only other options are “mixed ethnic” and “convert”.

zuh??

**grumble grumble**

alright, so just to keep the ball rolling, i check “sefaradi”, but when it gets to the “about you” section, i give frumster a lil piece of my mind:

“about me? well, firstly i’m known ocassionally as the blogger manishtana. look me up. also, im a lil annoyed that the only categories under ethnicity are ashkenaz, sfardi, mixed ethnic and convert. im none of those. however, there’s no african-american tab, so here i am. beyond that, i’m pretty much the same collection of cliches every other guy throws out there. “fun-loving” “likes to have a good time” “down to earth” “easygoing”. except in my case you should prolly add “seethingly sarcastic” and “awesome”. or just talk to me and find out “about” me.”

anyhoo, i finish my profile, upload my pic, keep it moving and sign out.

fast forward to 10:37 the next morning, and i find an email in my inbox.  it’s from frumster:

“can you tell me a little bit about your jewish background as part of a basic screening process?”

at first, i’m inclined to comply.  then i think, waitaminute, i already answered “modern orthodox” when they asked my religious observance.  i clicked “orthodox religious” when they asked the household i was raised in.  what exactly can they possibly be asking for at this point?  i have to admit, i’m slightly heated at this point.  but i decide to give it the benefit of the doubt.  maybe this is just a “basic screening process” kinda deal.  so, [because i’m not a naïve idiot] just to test this, i quickly whip up a fake profile, complete with pic of some white facebook friend of mine, and click “ashkenaz”.

anyhoo, back to replying to frumster:

“what are you interested in knowing?”

frumster:

“you specified in your profile that we did not have your correct ethnicity, can you please explain?”

me:

“i’m an ffb african-american orthodox jew, therefore i don’t ethnically fall into any of the ethnicity categories you provide.”

frumster:

“i apologize if this comes off blunt, but is your mother jewish by birth or orthodox conversion?”

now, i’m really not sure what that has to do with the issue of my ethnicity not being present, but i’m guessing they think they have some kinda troublemaker on their hands now.  not yet they don’t.

me:

“birth.”

frumster:

“i am interested in your background as we do not encounter many ffb african american jews. we have listed options according to where the jewish population comes from. can you tell me about where your family is from and how they came to be jewish?”

so this is where i get heated again and have to call bullshit.  before i was kinda empathetic.  maybe you’re seeing if i’m the real deal or one of the power ranger hebrew israelites you see screaming at you in times square.  [aside from the fact that if you are able to find just ONE who would identify themselves as “ffb” or “modern orthodox”, i’ll give you a million dollars].but now?  no.  it’s time to go in.  of course, i keep it classy as always.

me:

“my family on my mother’s side has been african american and jewish for a couple of centuries. and as for listing options according to “where the jewish population comes from”, not to be snippy, but that seems to be slightly off-kilter to me. aside from the fact that jews can literally be found everywhere, what option would there be for someone born of two “non-standard” ethnic converts to check? someone whose parents are both korean converts, for example, or something of a similar nature.”

and just as i’m about to rev up and send email 2 and really go in about how there are *gasp* non-convert jews of color in the world, BAM!  profile approved.

the entire ordeal took over six hours for my profile to be approved.  my ashkenazi alias?  less than two and a half. and btw, its not “basic screening process” to ask about background.

manishtana: 1, frumster: 0

–MaNishtana

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69 thoughts on “my one night stand-off

  1. Have they changed the listed options?

    I am so pissed they gave you a hard time. But you handled it well – hoping and praying that all the aggravation will have been worth it and that you find yourself a great chick. I met my husband on Frumster.

    BTW Saw you at Sinai, if you ever think of joining, won’t be as “nice” as Frumster…when I tried to join as a divorcee they wanted proof of both religious and civil divorces. My word was not good enough. So if you do hop over there, expect more in depth q’s as I doubt they even believe there are Jews of Colour.

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    1. wow. thats funny b/c from what ive encountered so far, sawyouatsinai was the best experience. of course, i havent added a matchmaker yet, so lets see what happens. lol

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    2. I am a little confused about your comments about SawYouAtSinai. I met my wife there when they were still in their trial run, and she was listed as “Asian/African American”. (She had a picture, and from it I actually though she was Asian.) So they most certainly know.

      Regarding the hard time they gave you, even some general sites make people prove they are single. Undoubtedly there are people who are frustrated trying to get things finalized, and “jump the gun”. SwaYouAtSinai is different than the others; it is a shadchan (matchmaker) site, and if their matchmakers want proof, then they are entitled to it. That doesn’t make it easy, but it’s understandable.

      Regarding the orignal question, I understand the reaction considering the choices, but it should really be relatively easy to answer. What customs do you follow? My wife is a convert, but I would consider her Ashkenazi. We know a woman of eastern european descent who, because of the framework in which she became religious, considers herself Sephardi. (The other Sephardi women are somewhat dubious when she tells them!) What the category should do is give two choices: Ashkenazi and Sephardi/Mizrachi/Other. Convert should be listed separately.

      I have to say that I once did think the way they did, and for a reason. When I was younger (a generation or two ago), if a Black person – particularly without a Kippah – came up to me and claimed to be Jewish, I would be dubious, because at the time there was in fact there was a high probability that he was, in fact, a Black Hebrew or a member of some Christian group. Of 700 students in Y.U. in my tenure, there was usually one Black student, and Y.U. is the Modern institution.

      Today things have changed, because of the ubiquitousness of intermarriage (e.g. Lisa Bonet) and because there are a larger number of Black and Asian coverts, both directly and through adoption. Some of us may not have caught up yet, unfortunately. I was also wondering whether they had asked because they were considering adding a category?

      (I saw this page because he Missus bookmarked it. Hopefully she won’t check it.)

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      1. the MINHAG you follow has nothing to do with the ETHNICITY that you are. if you’re a spanish person who follows ashkenaz customs, then yes, your minhag is ashkenaz. but ur still spanish. what the category SHOULD do is list either every ethnicity or leave the question as a fill-in.

        “Today things have changed, because of the ubiquitousness of intermarriage (e.g. Lisa Bonet) and because there are a larger number of Black and Asian coverts, both directly and through adoption. ”

        i find that to be a little disingenuous and condescending. there have ALWAYS been non-White Jews. we’re not “just now” coming “into” judaism. a LOT of us have been here quite a while.

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  2. Well, the entire idea of “convert” as an ethnicity is totally irritating. Convert isn’t an ethnicity. And, yes, they were trying to decide if you were “actually” Jewish, because they didn’t know there were any black Jews. For kicks and grins, someone should send in a profile that lists “convert” as ethnicity and see what the screening process involves. I would, but I think my husband might get a little upset if he stumbled on me making a profile on Frumster.. ;).

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  3. When someone gets “special” treatment, I totally understand why they are pissed and offended. But at the same time, jdate couldn’t care less if their users are Jewish. They even have options to click “not jewish” and others. Is that better?

    So, yes, it’s annoying and maybe hurtful but as an African American Jew, you have gotta admit that you are different racially, or whatever you’d call it, than most Jews we see around. So, doesn’t it make sense for the other users on the site that they want to make sure you really are Jewish? I apologize but it actually is hard for me to understand why that’s a problem. It’s not as if it’s personal, right? If, upon understanding that you are Jewish you weren’t accepted into a certain community, that would be backwards and terrible. But this is just making sure you fit with the rules of the site.

    You could say this is totally different but your story reminds me of when I fly. Especially going through Israeli security, if one of the security people decides to dig into my bag, I am very happy. I want to be secure when I fly and if security is doing their job, good.

    Anyway, see you on frumster? 🙂 Oh, btw, I have a blog about dating in the Jewish world. Feel free to check it out: http://habitza.com. (Oh, and I’m @deenalev on twitter. It’s there I saw your link to this blog post.)

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    1. and thats why i made the 2nd profile, just to see if they were “just doing their job”. if youre going to screen one, you should screen all. i was able to make a fake profile and not get harrassed b/c i clicked ashkenaz and put a “mainstream” pic up? then who says that anyone ELSE on frumster is “actually” jewish? and sure, you may not see a lot of me, but other sites [such as futuresimchas and sawyouatsinai] have the “mixed/other” option, which frumster does not even OFFER.

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      1. Yes, I think that is the entire point. Its not that they were checking to see if he was Jewish. If they screened EVERYONE that way, then it would be no big deal. After all, there are a lot of people who call themselves Jews because of a Jewish father, and look like a totally normal Askenaz, and would not be Jewish by Frumster standards. So, his color WAS the issue. In other words, they couldn’t understand HOW he could be black and Jewish.

        As for airport safety, I don’t mind normal screening, but I was once grilled for two hours by El Al security because my NAME wasn’t Jewish enough to match my observance level. There is nothing fair, nice, or comforting about something like that at all. And, no, I don’t feel any safer that they chose to pick on the Jew with the goy name and grill her for two hours. And, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else. Digging into your bag is one thing, submitting to the inquisition is another.

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      1. Actually I am thinking more from the users…and not the frumster.com staff. Many moons ago, when I put my profile on JDate, my pic was uploaded (is still there actually). I actually got e-mail from all sorts of guys asking, “Oh how are you Jewish? Do you know that this is a dating site for Jews?”. I mean, they obviously didn’t read my “profile/background” because all of that was addressed there. They were like upset or something that I was participating in their little party.

        I figure, “who needs this harrassment”? I’m just trying to find my bershert! Jeez!

        (I fixed the typo in the first sentence here!)

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    1. I bet if you upload a picture of you, in Israel, with a group of 1000 Orthodox Jews holding signs saying that you are Jewish and it is confirmed in various languages, then a video of you on the Jon Stewart show being interviewed about what it is like to be Black and Jewish, with another pic of you on the cover of every Jewish and Non Jewish magazine in the world with the title, “The Most Jewish Woman On The Planet”, they would still ask.

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  4. Shit, I think I just threw up a little.

    There is so much wrong with that whole experience that I’m not sure where to start. I don’t care how anyone tries to excuse it, that was just not ok on frumster’s part.

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    1. lol. i just really feel for ppl who come to sites like these REALLY looking for someone only to have their heart kicked around before anything even begins.

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  5. I’m really sorry but I still don’t get it! Can someone directly answer me and explain to me what the problem is? The fact he was asked questions… Is that so bad? I never knew that there are African-American Jews who have been Jewish for centuries. If I owned Frumster, I’d want to take at least some responsibility for what goes on there in order to ensure I’m providing a positive service to the users. In this case, considering that this is a site for Jewish singles, to try to make sure everyone is Jewish… is that so bad?

    As for the fact that not everyone is asked, I think that if anything that is a positive thing. There is no reason to do “random” searches or check everyone. That is such a waste of time. If they’d asked for concrete proof that he’s Jewish, then yes, I could see how it’s important to ask everyone for concrete proof. But the fact that they just conversed back and forth a couple of times and then OKed it, trusting that he’s Jewish from his words alone (notice, there is an amount of trust there)… Good. It means they don’t expect any of us to supply concrete proof but instead to show beyond a reasonable doubt that we’re Jewish. One can argue that the moment he said that he’s ffb that he should have been believed but if they were thrown off, it’s their prerogative to double check.

    Sorry if I’m being totally insensitive but I am really trying to understand!

    The only thing that I can see being a problem is that there is no option for you to click in ethnicity that actually fits your ethnicity. That is very annoying and shows a certain narrow-mindedness. The fact that convert is in ethnicity is more funny to me than anything and it just goes to show that they don’t mean ethnicity at all. They mean sefardi/ashkenazi, which is not ethnicity exactly but what is it? And so, if that’s what they mean, then once you’re not one of those, you are obviously a convert. Not a good assumption!

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    1. This isn’t necessarily an issue about Frumster. This is about perception. IN other words, when “white” people fill out a profile, they are “trusted” that they are actually Jewish. And when a black person fills out a profile they have to “prove” that they are Jewish. The issue is not the screening. If they asked EVERYONE the same questions then there would have been no reason to blog. But, if you read what he said, when he made up a fake profile where he was white, there was no question. So, they took his word and TRUSTED that he was Jewish. And, as others have posted, people lie on Frumster all the time. So, why was he specifically asked so many question.

      So, here is the issue:

      The fact that they singled him out based on his ethnicity for more questions implies that Frumster believes that black people are not likely to be born Jews and are probably converts. OR, a lot of even less pleasant assumptions that I won’t get into.

      This is not about IF Frumster should ask screening questions. Maybe they should. Who knows. Maybe everyone on Frumster should provide “proof of marital status”, “proof of Jewish status” and “proof of honest intent”. And, yea, I would be in favor of that. The issue here unrelated per se to Frumster, and more about Jewish identity as a whole. The perception that you can’t be black and be FFB. At least that is how I understand the issue.

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  6. let me also add that I did indeed come across non Jewish males on Frumster…as well as married men looking for some extra curricular fun. even with extra screening these people still manage to get through. As with all these sites, you have to have your wits about you.

    Rishona – upload your pic. You are a beautiful woman – be proud of who you are.

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    1. FrumChick, true, you need to be aware yourself of what’s going on there and not just trust that they’ve screened enough. How do you find out that they aren’t Jewish? Does it say it in their profiles or they tell you in private messages? As far as I know, I actually have never had that experience.

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  7. Sorry to hear about your expereince with Frumster trust me dealing with some of the people on the site isn’t any easier there are some real wack jobs on it.

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  8. Deena,

    I really don’t think you realize how unbelievably bad your posts really are for the rest of us. I think I’m going to give you a quick consciousness raising.

    Read these two webpages and you’ll get a better understanding of why what you implying is problematic.

    http://birdofparadox.wordpress.com/derailing-for-dummies-google-cache-reconstruction/

    http://thatblacklesbianjew.blogspot.com/2009/01/ashkenazi-privilege-checklist.html

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    1. mixedjewishgirl, I appreciate those links. Gives me a glimpse into what it is like being different than the rest of the community in a purely external way.

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  9. LOL…Oh the memories. I remember my first day on Frumster. I put down my “personality resume” as well as my current employment and list of accolades. Oddly enough I had tons of women interested in me. The funny thing was that my picture hadn’t posted yet. I was confused and I kept writing the customer service. They elaborated that they weren’t sure what happened, but I should upload them again and it will be fine. I followed the direction and this whole situation repeated itself. I emailed again and expressed, “Well, I hope this isn’t because I am Black, because I didn’t read that Frumster supports racism and I hear they sue for that sort of thing”. They replied, “I am sure this isn’t the case and the situation will be fixed”. Of course my photos were finally posted. Then those who were “interested” somehow became silent or confused. “I didn’t know you were colored, or black, I’m not sure which is popular now…I am sorry I don’t think I can do this”, or “I am not really into hip hop”, and my personal favorite, “I think mixed babies are cute, but this isn’t what I am looking for”. :)…Memories… The only time that was slightly more annoying was my “Jdate experience”. It was August, 2005 and I will never forget it. I sent out the usual winks, “are you looking for a serious relationship?”. Want to know the first reply I got? “NOT FROM A BLACK GUY…THIS IS A JEWISH DATING SITE!!!”. :)…Memories… I personally don’t deal with the communities anymore and I have long since left religion, however, I am not surprised that nothing has changed. It reminds me of that saying, “We will take your women, but stay away from ours”. Even if you specify in your information that you are only looking for Black Jewish Women, well…the masses will still find a way to keep you from happiness. The mantra, “You are a Black Man (Notice I said Black Man and not Jewish Black Man…because we all know you are not to even be remotely accepted with your evil Mandingo ways…)…you are not meant to be happy” is still constant in the Jewish Communities.

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      1. well since the jewish community is notoriously insular, the only time ive noticed any change take place is when its been forced to b/c the community been embarrassed into it, i.e., when the “mainstream” “outside world” is informed of it [see: get scandals, herpes infecting mohels, and sexually molesting rabbis].

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      1. Side note about you “just not getting it”…it’s about the same as asking a christian person to understand what it is like being Jewish…it just isn’t ever going to happen. Ultimately ma’am, some things really are just a “Black Thing”. As a white person of the 1930s through the 1970s may not “get it” as to why we “colored folks” would like to be treated equally, I am sure that this situation isn’t much different in the sense that some people will always make excuses for their ignorance. It’s much harder to actually open your eyes to discrimination (especially when you are comfortable and warm under the protection of “privilege” just for your skin color). Thanks for trying though.

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  10. Oh I’ll say it, You should have said to them that your family has followed the religion of your slave masters since the antebellum! That might have shut them up.

    As for dating sits: A) sorry you have to deal with dating in the Jewish world. I sure am glad I met my husband on creepy Myspace! 😀 And B) good thing he came attached with a great nerdo Jewish name, so when I go to Israel, they’ll think I’m actually one of them. Funny how appearances can be so deceiving, isn’t it?

    blackwomenpleaselisten, I love your words but not all people don’t get it…I usually hope that Jews WILL get it more than non-Jews, being there is at least some sense of a-ton-of-people-dislike-both-groups shared there. *sigh* Maybe not.

    What’s funny too is that I feel like Jewish women love black men and Jewish men love black women…am I missing something here!? They need to stop denying it…

    And I don’t want to move to Jewcy cuz I just can’t keep up. :\

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    1. Actually, “Jewish Men and Women do not love Black Men and Women”…They love Jews. And what is most unfortunate about it, is being Jewish and hearing a comment like that. Because that same misconception that “Jew=white” is what causes the issue in the first place.

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  11. Can single individuals make a difference in situations like this? I guess that is what I want to know. Does the behavior of single individuals change things. Short of an expose on the culture as a whole, how does this change? Granted, being low in the power structure myself more or less says that my “support” might hurt more than it helps. Weird how that happens. Yeah, that CONVERT over there… she accepts the black Jew.. but what does she know anyway. Trust me, I agree that my situation is far easier than that of a JOC or a COC, but converts are often marginalized too, so I wonder at the impact. I’ve often thought about starting our own communities.

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      1. ok 🙂 here’s my plan:

        Communuty acceptance of people of all kinds, JOC, COC, converts, people who are single by choice, people who are childless by choice, people who are disabled, or generally different, and all the others too as long as they behave. Maybe we could start to deal with the mostly un-talked about issues of sexual orientation.

        A man or woman in our community would be appreciated for values like kindness, intellect, generosity, faith, and knowledge instead of appearance, lineage, or ethnicity. Someone with wit, intellect, and bravery (like our blog host) would be considered an amazing catch regardless of skin color. Jews of color from other communities could walk into our community and attract attention only because they were visitors, not because of what they looked like. We’d leave questions of “who is Jewish” to our community leaders, and accept people who come in our doors without having to tear apart their Jewishness.

        We would focus on what is really important, a love for Judaism and Torah. We’d be able to disagree and explore ideas and challenge the norms without being accused of being “not orthodox”. We wouldn’t be afraid to expose the bad parts of our community and any other one because we’d know that Judaism doesn’t need our “protection” and that the Torah can speak for itself. We’d agree to talk first, and accuse later. And, we’d make a goal to get past the things that divide us and focus on our common values. We’d learn to listen to one another.

        We’d get that woman in NYC to be our first “rabba”. 😉 And she would help us figure out where women belong in the whole picture of Orthodoxy.

        Yeah, I know. You don’t need to tell me I being naive, and unrealistic, and simplistic, and a thousand other things. But, if I am going to create an imaginary community, I’m gonna go all out.

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    1. LOL…you said “COC”…sorry, I couldn’t help myself. As far as suffering as a convert…well, yes, you guys suffer big time. However, during our more difficult times as Blacks in America there was a thing called “Passing for white”. Well, luckily, if your skin is white and if you change your name to something more “Ashkenaz”, then you will be just fine. We, however, are unable to disguise our Black Faces.

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      1. I used converts of color (COC)… to acknowledge the reality that being a convert of color is harder than just being a convert. “Passing” as a convert is definitely easier when your skin is white. I won’t argue with you at all. There is no doubt this is easier. It works in public, and in casual situations, and there is no doubt that is nice. But, its actually pretty hard to hide being a convert in all but the most casual situations, and there is always the risk you will be found out because you can’t play Jewish geography, or you don’t understand certain cultural cues. Again, this is not about trying to say my experience is like yours. It ain’t. I agree. I still want a community where we all feel welcome, and, for that matter, where hiding being a convert wasn’t needed. I hate the idea that you felt the need to leave your faith because of the crappy way people treated you.

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      2. Oh did you mean passing as a convert is easier? I thought you just meant passing as Jewish/white in general.

        In any case, I think you are right Eve, and brave. Being a convert, which shouldn’t even be embarrassing but is no ones business nonetheless, is pretty obvious to most onlookers. You know, I think converts could learn those cultural cues, at least some of them to get by sometimes but I don’t even think we all want to! I mean, hell it just isn’t me to use those silly words, so I’m not about to start. Yes it makes it quite obvious, but nothing about me doesn’t. Especially this loud ass mouth I have. :\

        I don’t know if you were referring to yourself with the ‘leaving the fold’ sentiment or to blackwomen, but its SUCH a sad truth, isn’t it? What do we do about it because I think its pretty darn tough.

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  12. Errrmm I see what you mean, BlackWomenpls…etc. But I personally disagree. Of course they usually want to marry Jews, from a religious point. But I have had a lot of experience with Jews being ATTRACTED to blacks, whether they were Jewish or not. Of course many would only BE with black Jews, and I’ve heard on more than one occasion the unfortunate fact that they’re aren’t more around. I know that’s not the prevailing idea, believe me, 99% of them are racist assholes, if you ask me. But you can’t tell us what we think is sexy! Maybe its more of a secret, idk.

    You are right, however, that the misconception that Jew=white is a huge problem. But if I disagreed with you on that, would I be here? Really? And for your passing comment, seriously F^$&K THAT! Don’t even dream of passing. Black is beautiful, don’t ever let me hear you say otherwise.

    Eve, I love your socialist ideas. Its called a Kibbutz, lets do it! 😀

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    1. 1. I don’t remember informing anyone that I would “Pass for white”. I personally only “Pass for Black” nor am I an “advocate of interracial dating or marriage” for my personal preferences (if other people want to do it, then it is their lives and their choice, just not mine). Which is a completely different subject of finding Black Jews to marry when I was still practicing Judaism. I find it easier that I don’t have a religion to find a partner. As far as “White Jews” wanting to marry us “Jewish Exotic Colored Folk”, Blacks have been objectified since before Sarah Baartman ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ7mmMe4klQ ). Ultimately, the world likes to see us as oversexed exotic beings, but to be honest, there is no “Love” there. No they do not “Love” us.

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      1. Cord, what I meant and he meant is that if you are a convert who is white, no one can really tell by looking at you so you can “pass” in the Jewish community as long as you don’t open your mouth. He was not saying HE could pass for white. He was drawing an analogy between light-skinned African Americans in the pre-civil rights days, who could be treated as white because they looked white. In other words, the white convert can hide his status because he looks just like other Jews. I will add, however, that even white converts with unusual features… very blond hair, blue eyes, red hair don’t “pass” well either. Even though there are blond/red haired, blue-eyed Jews who are not converts, they still stand out in most communities.

        😉

        Converts of color, however, can never ever hide their status. Firstly, everyone assumes that anyone of color IS a convert, even if they are not. If they are, they get subjected to all the abuse of being a convert combined with all the abuse of being a person of color. So, its really a no-win situation. Being a white convert is easier.

        And, being a JOC who is a born Jew means you get all the racism of being a person of color, combined with the fact that everyone always relentlessly questions you about your Jewish status. So, you get treated as a convert even if you aren’t. Either way the picture isn’t pretty.

        People leave religion for all kinds of reasons. I just hate when the horrible behavior of others is the reason. And I hate that the religion I chose is filled with this kind of thing.

        I’m not ashamed of being a convert. The issue with all of this is expecting to be treated with respect, and not subjected to the disgusting behavior of others. The fact that I can walk into a Jewish gathering and “look like Jew” prevents me from having to answer all the nasty, intrusive, rude questions that often follow when people know you are a convert. Unfortunately, JOC, converts or otherwise, don’t have that luxury.

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      2. Well sorry then, you mentioned something about how people previously could ‘pass’ but now you can’t (“However, during our more difficult times as Blacks in America there was a thing called “Passing for white”. Well, luckily, if your skin is white and if you change your name to something more “Ashkenaz”, then you will be just fine. We, however, are unable to disguise our Black Faces.”)

        Anyway, I have to respect your choice there and also partly agree with you. Unfortunately, much of the intermixing I’ve seen (usually with the very religious) IS just for sex with non-Jewish black women, and there is a history of exploitation, I would never deny that, and it still occurs today. Actually, it occurs with men as well, as a rich white woman can go to Barbados and rent a “beach boy”. I do not approve of using ANYONE as a commodity, so there I agree. Plus I know history as well, at least the interesting bits, and that is a common damaging stereotype. But if I must say so, that’s not how I see people of color myself. I like to think I’m a little better educated than that. (Try to give me a little credit.) However, I personally think that real love can happen across almost any lines, and so if a couple truly does love each other, well I think that’s rad.

        Hey at least your not so militant to be anti-Semitic lol…

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      3. I see Eve, as an analogy. Thanks.

        Well, I personally am ashamed of being Jewish and/or a convert. I hate the racism I see and I’m white. It must be pretty bad hu? And what else is funny is that so many Jews DO look that way! Yet I guess there is a hesitancy. I guess I don’t look it but Ich komme aus Deutschland. Oh well, another thing to hate on.

        Oh and in case it needs saying, I want to say to BlackWomenPleaseListen, I am glad you are outraged. Seriously. I think you should be and have every right. I would wonder if you didn’t, and in fact, because I know that feeling exists it bothers me when people are silent. It makes it pretty hard to talk about when the other person doesn’t want to, and I can understand reasons for being hesitant too. But I just want you to know that I’m not disagreeing with you for the most part, just have some things to add/different perspective. I enjoy actually engaging in these conversations, even if they are not always so pretty…

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  13. First off, Cordula, I find it interesting that when you make a comment you see it as an “observation/opinion”, yet when I make a comment about things that are wrong I am somehow “Militant”? Wow…that’s not a double standard at all. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be anti-semitic because I am Jewish (By Birth…just FYI). And I find it rather interesting that you would assume “Black Male pointing out what is wrong = Militant Anti-Semite”. I suppose under that view I should assume “White Female pointing agreeing = Racist white woman stuck in a community she doesn’t understand so is reaching out to whoever will listen to include us “Militant Colored Folk”. This is not the time or place for this and it is not appreciated.

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  14. Lol I KNOW that, I’m saying as a joke because militant people tend to be Anti-semitic. But because of our status we are not (being jewish). Guess it was an off kilter joke, its hard to convey the right sentiments online, plus my odd sense of humor. I think I’m probably more militant that you..? Sorry it didn’t come off that way.

    I had high hopes for this conversation. Yes I’m just a racist white girl. Aren’t we all. Like I said, I appreciate your anger, you have every right and I agree…but try to find any other ‘white girl’ who does. Glad you don’t lump us all into one category either. I’m sorry this conversation turned out this way, I guess you can’t give people the benefit of the doubt… Just remember Stokely, when you kick all the white people out of your organizations, they tend to fail. You’ve said your not really an intergrationist and I am. I can understand how we differ. But I was very interested in talking to you.

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  15. i believe we’ve definitely entered the “not so pretty” portion of the evening. lol. calm down folks we’re all on the same side here…

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  16. You think? Hey well I guess this is what my professors mean about tackling the ugly parts of life EVERY SINGLE DAY in a quest for social justice. I think I try to jump the gun and believe that others realize my good intentions which of course is naive of me. I like to talk about the things that are ‘taboo’ and set people off, because that anger is real and needs to be addressed (I guess to me sometimes too…) What really sucks is that no one will every really know how the other feels and that works both ways.

    You know what? And this is going to sound just as inflammatory as everything else I say: I like having my ‘white privilage’ and I wish I had more of it. Because that is all I have, and so far I’m having a pretty hard fricken time convincing the world to listen to the truth and other people’s perspectives. I feel powerless in a world that doesn’t care about the pain of others and hard enough as it is to tell them that, I can’t even tell people that I give a shit and have them believe me.

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    1. It’s pretty obvious that you are happy to have your “white privilege”. But, in a realm where we don’t have any privilege…your stereotyped-comments based off of your skewed views only pushes more negativity via “I’m white, and you are not…but I struggle so hard telling everyone about how you JOCs struggle”. Sorry, but that sort of skewed vision tends to fall on deaf ears.

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    2. Cordula, I am quite sure you will feel attacked by the latest comments you got on this comment of yours. So I just want to tell you that I think it is brave that you decided to be open and honest here about actually liking your “white privilege.” It would be much easier not to mention that, especially in these waters, and for some reason you chose to share that anyway.

      I am sure most people deep down appreciate when there is something about their lives that makes things easier for them. If you were to ignore other people’s suffering as a result of your “privilege,” that would be selfish but to feel happy you don’t have to suffer, at least in that way, but at the same time to care about others, I think is very respectable.

      I hope you don’t let hurtful attackers get to you too much. I myself don’t allow attacking comments on my blog. I am sorry they are allowed here. 😦 This will probably not be conducive to productive discussion.

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      1. to reply, i “allow” them here b/c no real progress, discussion, or solution will ever realistically be gained if only the happy happy joy comments are allowed to be shown. how will ppl know whats really out there? what the conflicts and hurdles actually are? the mindsets they are either up against or trying to work with? will things always be pretty that way, oh most definitely not. but at least everyone will have a realistic picture of what is being brought to the table and what needs to be worked with/on.

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  17. Oh come on. You know what I meant by that. White people get away with stuff and get treated in a way others don’t, and when they deny this privilege its actually pretty offensive to everyone else that they can’t see it. I mean that when people work together more is achieved, and it happens to be that white people (unfortunately) get treated better and people listen to them more sometimes. (Especially because they are seen to not have an agenda regarding minority rights, think civil rights activists who were white, WHY do that? Because they care!!) THEREFORE I wish I was some high powered lawyer, or MAN that could change policy and have people follow more just ways of acting. I know you don’t see me as that, but I’m telling you how I am.

    I understand you are pissed, but you are misunderstanding me a lot. This country was based on the exploitation of minorities and STILL IS to this day. But I also think that these groups would have a hell of a harder time going against the dominant structure alone. I’m not saying they shouldn’t try, I’m saying that when they have some members on the ‘majority’ side on their team, it doesn’t hurt.

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  18. Also, fact is fact, this is what I look like. I can’t change it. I can be embarrassed about being white, or I can try to do what I can. I don’t have white PRIDE if that’s what you are thinking. And I don’t fight only for the “JOC” cause, it just happens to be that’s what this blog is about.

    You can continue to be angry at views you think are there but they aren’t. I’m also not saying I’m totally right, but I am trying to tell you how I am. If I offend you, tell me. I can make mistakes. I am here to listen. But also don’t put words in my mouth or slant me with an agenda that I clearly don’t have. I can’t make you believe me, but I’d at least like to learn.

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    1. In a realm of “Religious Racial Profiling” and a subject of such negativity, struggle, and suffering… “I like my white privilege…it is all I have” is not only offensive, but as I said will continue to fall on deaf ears. As Deena (who enjoys such privilege herself) doesn’t understand how offensive it is, and you don’t it strikes a chord for the cultural differences and view points due to a lack of extreme discrimination that JOCs receive. When you not only say such things considering what the we as a people suffer, but what our children will suffer, and to be treated as less than human by your own people you are ultimately expressing a view point that says, “Yeah, you guys suffer and so will your children and so on…but all I have is my white privilege so it’s hard out there for us if that is all we have”. Sorry, but in a world of Have-Nothings…the “privileged and proud” aren’t going to make a difference, but only offend those who are given nothing. You might have been close to alright if you hadn’t made yourself out to be some victim by saying, “It’s all I have”. Like Bill Gates saying, “This billion dollar empire is all I have…treat me like you treat the poor, the starving hungry masses who cannot even eat”. Sorry, not buying it and no longer listening.

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      1. I hear what you are thinking but that’s not how its meant. I assumed you were educated (shouldn’t make assumptions….) but the term “white privilege” is something used BY minorities to describe what white people have that they don’t. (google it) But white people don’t realize they have it, such as not being followed in a store, being pulled over or searched at airports “randomly”, fair trials etc. You are correct in the way that it means life is easier for people who are white and get by without problems. BUT people who ACKNOWLEDGE their white privilege are saying THIS IS MESSED UP!!!! Don’t you know white people who think life for minorities must be so easy!? That they exaggerate their problems and no one is racist? WE disagree with that! We are saying, WE GET that its not fair! AND we don’t like it! I’m not saying ‘white is right’, what I am saying is that racist people don’t listen to minorities they don’t like, right? That makes sense. BUT if they listen to people who ARE white, and try to tell them what they are doing/saying that is wrong or offensive, then they could help change the situation.

        Look, a professor of mine (who happens to be black) was talking about Obama and apologizing for the slave trade. We all agreed that if HE does it, being black, people will assume that’s his agenda and he will be attacked for it. BUT if BUSH said it, wow, a lot of republicans might listen. That would have been great. Unfortunately, Obama does not hold the right wingers attention for many issues.

        You are misunderstanding my tone. I never meant to sound like a victim, I’m saying if I have it, I’m going to use it FOR GOOD!! Get it? And its not PRIDE like I said either. Bill Gates uses millions to help set up clinics, sent medication, water, education etc to poor countries, some in Africa. He’s not asking to be treated like the poor and neither am I (happens to be I am poor, different story) BUT for him to at least give a shit ENOUGH to send money is honorable. He’s not saying he understands their suffering, clearly he doesn’t. AND NEITHER DID I. But if he NEVER will understand it, AT LEAST he can send what he has: money! I don’t have that either, but if some racist will listen to me, because I’m white, and I tell them they have white privilege, that others don’t, that they get more equal access to housing, loans, jobs, don’t get questioned on religious status, don’t be assumed to be criminals and get more fair trials etc, don’t you think that’s something we should enlighten them on?? If white senators called for an end to the genocides of the world don’t you think people would DO something as they have more power than us on the street? We obviously have different ideals, but not as much as you think. You think I’m trying to tell white people how awesome they are, when I’m only trying to bring people together. Like I said, if I’m doing something wrong, instead of saying I’m wrong, tell me what to do right.

        BTW “midget” isn’t exactly PC.

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    2. You are wrong by the way. Each Struggle that Blacks in America…heck my PARENTS endured was a product of Blacks, as a people/culture, developing our own organizations, views and methods of attacking the situation. We had a face in the world, a Black Face, a much hated, unwanted, unloved face, but a face nonetheless. This face was always there, but it was too busy looking at the ground because that is what “White America” preferred so that we wouldn’t seem “uppity”. The issue that the writer of this Blog is stating is that we do not even have a face yet. We are in the beginning stages. Therefore, we need to develop on our own…establish our own Black Jewish Culture, and even if we are hated he wants to push for recognition. That doesn’t come from “sympathetic white people who hop in someone’s plight to complain about all they have is white privilege”. It comes from a unifying of our own culture, our own people. A unifying of JOCs with a common purpose. Which is what he is trying to do. Coming in here with your pitty party BS isn’t helping. And before a culture must work with the majority it must work on developing itself. So, really, you can get all the hugs and pats on the back you need from Deena and Manishtana because that, “mean scary big black man said things that hurt your feelings because it was based on the silly things you said”, or you can suck it up, realize you made mistakes and start listening instead of assuming you know everything because you took a couple sociology courses. THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU…IT IS ABOUT WHAT WE ENDURE, ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH, STRUGGLE WITH, AND HOW WE ARE TRYING TO UNIFY AS A GROUP OF JEWS OF COLOR TO REACH A PURPOSE. Multicultural comes after the culture is established…not before it. Remember that. So, sit back and listen. Otherwise, I haven’t a problem pointing out where you are wrong.

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  19. I agree with both of you. Thank you so much for understanding. You really got it Deena, its NOT that “Oh I love being white” its that if I can use that for any way to help people, or even help myself (hey, I need to find a place to live too! :P) then I understand that that’s easier. I actually have a good deal of ‘white guilt’ (even though my ancestry is not American, we have other stuff we did in Europe…) but instead of letting it consume me, I want to work out why I feel this way, why the other person feels that way, and how to talk it out.

    I am very hurt by what he said. But I don’t blame him. I guess I came across as someone I wasn’t, because I tried to joke around and not be serious. I don’t want to look like that person (that I am not.) and the fact that someone could see me that way is really painful. I can’t just ‘not care’. That’s not who I am.

    However, I’m not really even trying to clear my own name, as that is sort of selfish. Really I feel as a person who cares about social justice, that each interaction matters and much of what needs to be done is on an individual level. No one wants to talk about race (sometimes I understand why!) Its a tough topic. But I put myself out there -and one thing I’m not is a person who is afraid to talk about the real issues. It angers me enough that I want to do something (and its not just ONE group, its wherever the chance arises. Muslim/Jews, black/white, Hispanic, homosexual etc.)

    Manishtana, I totally understand. And Thanks for letting my say my piece too, I really do appreciate it. 🙂 I would hope it gets some barriers broken, in however way and however small.

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  20. I love most when people don’t try to put words in my mouth. And when people do put words in my mouth, it makes me want to disengage from the discussion. This is actually why I’ve barely been able to get myself to participate in this discussion even though I have what to say. I feel like there is so much judgement towards me just because I’m white and it is such a turn off, very hurtful and unfair.

    Why should I feel like I need to stand up for myself. I never said anything about believing that anyone should be discriminated against. I am sure there is room for improvement but I think I am good when it comes to being open-minded and non-judgmental of different races. But I feel like here it’s assumed that we all discriminate against blacks.

    That in itself is discrimination, talking about us like that. I cannot imagine discriminating against someone who comes into a shul and you talk as if all us “white” Jews do that. I’m so nervous to post this because I feel in the line of fire but I guess I feel the need to speak my mind.

    Anyway, in honour of us white nerds, here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q42tEnt9GWg

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  21. and now that everyone’s gotten their closing arguments and final shots off, i do believe there’s nothing further to really say without becoming HEAVILY counterproductive. im cutting you all off now. the bar’s closed. lol

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  22. I hate to be janey-come-lately, but I’m compelled to respond to Cordula’s comment mischaracterizing Stokely Carmichael’s work with the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

    Up until that point in the conversation I was feeling a bit sympathetic towards you; I thought you were genuine in your effort to empathize with the discrimination experienced by Black Jews. All of that went out the window, however, when you rolled over and showed your soft underbelly of bigotry!

    Stokely Carmichael and the BPP were systematically destroyed by the destructive machinations of J.Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO, not by the absence of participation by non-black people. To claim otherwise indicates either a total willful ignorance of their history, or a complete dismissal of how the overwhelming power of the state can decimate an organization created for the self-empowerment of numerical minorities in this country.

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