First time encountering racism.

I live in an overwhelmingly liberal, accepting area, and it's never been a big deal before that I'm Jewish and that I'm proud of that fact. I talk about jew school and jew group and jew camp with my friends and they just see it as something I love and connect to.

One of my good friends is also jewish, but isn't as involved in it as I am; however, her mom really wants her to be. So I invited her to a youth group event on saturday, which is going to be tons of fun. She ended up inviting her friend along, who she said was half-jewish.

Well, something came and neither of them could go; but the friend, G, told me that her friend, A, was actually not jewish, and A had made G lie to me so that she could go to the event. (Our group has pretty strict rules about having people in the program that I don't necessarily agree with. You have to either have someone in your family that is Jewish, no matter how far back, you have to have converted, or you have to be in the process of converting.)

A is an ass, not to mention completely unfair to G in general. So A starts going off at G today that it's stupid to be proud of being Jewish. That Jews are all racist. (The irony of that statement....) and all these other things that make me cringe just thinking about it. G obviously got fed up and left.

My reaction when she told me about all of this was: "Being proud of your religion isn't a Jewish thing, it's a RELIGIOUS thing. If you believe in it, you're probably going to be proud of it. And are synagogues racist now too, since only Jews go there?"

To think that I've gone all this time without ever encountering racism before now is pretty amazing and it makes me even more thankful to live in the Bay Area; but I am completely shocked at it and the fact that A actually had the gall to make those sorts of statements.

I probably sound so sheltered in this post, and I guess sort of am. I know I should listen to what A said; she's an idiot (this isn't the first time something like this has happened with her). But this hurt a lot more than I expected it to.
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Well first off I've lived in Maryland, D.C., New York, and Oklahoma. It's all the same. Just because you live in a liberal area doesn't change anything. I was hated because I liked being Catholic when I was your age. I lived in the most liberal areas in our country and people still treated me like crap. People in Oklahoma are freaked by Catholics too. Not everyone all the time but I got bad reactions from all kinds of people.

My point is it doesn't matter where you live there will be stupid people, and this girl is stupid. It's good you embrace your religion, don't let people make you feel bad. Enjoy the fact that you have that in your life and ignore stupid people who try to drag you down b/c of it. It's her loss that she's stupid.
I grew up in a smaller city that is very safe and socially liberal. However, I had the misfortune of hanging out in middle school with a very troubled girl, "Anne," who became a neo-Nazi in eighth grade. It's extremely likely that she was mentally ill, addicted to drugs, abused by her parents, or all three. She frequently claimed that her father gave her drugs, but I don't know whether that's true.

Anne started out pretty normal, but said stranger and stranger things. Years later, I realized that she kept retelling scenes from American History X, claiming that they had happened to her cousins. When it became clear that Anne was fascinated by the Nazis, I avoided her completely. Her behavior eventually became pretty volatile and erratic. However, one of my friends, who was Black, felt compelled to be "nice" to everyone (ie, let people take advantage of her). My friend continued to hang out with Anne, and was called the n-word for her troubles.

Anne was expelled one or two days later, for reasons that were kept secret by the school's staff.



Hropkey, I'm really sorry you went through that. From what you wrote, it sounds like A is very immature and spiteful. I'm also Jewish, and I wouldn't want to excuse anti-Semitism. However, I can't help but wonder if perhaps A wasn't being truly anti-Semitic, but just wanted to act persecuted or engage in "sour grapes" complaining. Do you think that's possible?
Friend "A" sounds jealous of the relationships you have formed. In some ways, she also screaming out for help.
I dont mean to belittle what you went through, but racism? This is about religion, not race, no?
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I wonder if this is A's first time not being welcome at something because of her religion or faith or race or whatever. It's probably never ocurred to her to even consider that side of things (like why you would need a race or faith-specific organization) before and her reaction, having not given it much thought, was to be defensive and a jerk. Add feeling rejected or excluded to someone who is already kind of an ass and there ya go.

I'm not defending her, just saying that as she hasn't given it much thought she pulled the ol' "why is it ok to have BET, we can't have WET" argument because she's never bothered to think about things like inclusion v. exclusion - she's had the luxury of always being part of the bigger group.

But yeah, jerk.
Was going to say something similar to what Burt said.
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I also think that A was hurt at being excluded and lashed out. Definitely a jerk, though.

I tend to agree with CGNYC. If you are part of the majority group that makes the rules, a lot of this never even occurs to you, and when it does, the first reaction is often a defensive one.


FYI, not only Jews go to synagogue. I don't know about orthodox, because I have not been to many, but I have been to some hardcore conservative ones, and everyone was welcome. I can see why you disagree with the rules your group has. It would be nice if it were more inclusive. On the other hand, I can see that people want to discuss issues that they may not be comfortable discussing with anyone except othe r Jews.
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It sounds like ignorance on her part. LIke what another poster said, she is used to being a part of the larger group and has never given much thought to any of this. She feels rejected.
Since you're saying "youth" group, I'm inclined to think you are all kids. If that's the case, not all is lost with this girl. She's young and ignorant. I don't mean ignorant in a degrading way, but ignorant as in "not knowing."
I think there's hope to patch things up with her, explain your side, and work it out. She isn't necessarily a racist (or religion-ist) because of this. I hope this makes sense.
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[quote=curlygirlyme;861779]Well first off I've lived in Maryland, D.C., New York, and Oklahoma. It's all the same. Just because you live in a liberal area doesn't change anything. I was hated because I liked being Catholic when I was your age. I lived in the most liberal areas in our country and people still treated me like crap. People in Oklahoma are freaked by Catholics too. Not everyone all the time but I got bad reactions from all kinds of people.

My point is it doesn't matter where you live there will be stupid people, and this girl is stupid. It's good you embrace your religion, don't let people make you feel bad. Enjoy the fact that you have that in your life and ignore stupid people who try to drag you down b/c of it. It's her loss that she's stupid.[/q
I understand the point you are making, but it's all a matter of perspective, I suppose. I have lived in Oklahoma for 13 years & before that I lived in SW MO. I haven't met anyone who is freaked out by catholics. I'm not saying that there are some people who react poorly to a Catholic, but I wouldn't apply that statement to the majority of the state's population.

Really, I'm not trying to be confrontational, but just wanted to let you know that I'm sorry that you obviously had a bad experience.
I think A was probably jealous - probably of some bond she perceived between you and G that she couldn't have.

OTOH - I don't necessarily agree with "pride" in one's religion. Religion, your relationship with whatever diety you choose, is a private, personal matter and to me the very nature of pride contradicts this idea. I think what you probably mean is that you are proud of your heritage (heritage is more closely tied to religion in Judaism than it is in Christianity due to the various denominations and nationalities associated with Christianity) and I applaud you for that. Just be careful not to mix those two up.
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hmph, she must be white.
[quote=amandaleah;863408]
Well first off I've lived in Maryland, D.C., New York, and Oklahoma. It's all the same. Just because you live in a liberal area doesn't change anything. I was hated because I liked being Catholic when I was your age. I lived in the most liberal areas in our country and people still treated me like crap. People in Oklahoma are freaked by Catholics too. Not everyone all the time but I got bad reactions from all kinds of people.

My point is it doesn't matter where you live there will be stupid people, and this girl is stupid. It's good you embrace your religion, don't let people make you feel bad. Enjoy the fact that you have that in your life and ignore stupid people who try to drag you down b/c of it. It's her loss that she's stupid.[/q
I understand the point you are making, but it's all a matter of perspective, I suppose. I have lived in Oklahoma for 13 years & before that I lived in SW MO. I haven't met anyone who is freaked out by catholics. I'm not saying that there are some people who react poorly to a Catholic, but I wouldn't apply that statement to the majority of the state's population.

Really, I'm not trying to be confrontational, but just wanted to let you know that I'm sorry that you obviously had a bad experience.
Originally Posted by curlygirlyme


I didn't say every single person in Oklahoma, but when the topic comes up here I get a ton of negative feedback. Baptist here seem to have (not all) something against Catholics. I have no idea what it is, but after many odd confrontations one ending in a Baptist woman yelling at me for being Catholic, it’s hard to draw a different conclusion. My point was that while Maryland, D.C., and New York are liberal and Oklahoma is conservative that it's possible to have problems anywhere, b/c stupid people exist everywhere. Not everyone is like this obviously, but I feel people who are offended by someone else’s personal religious choice (as long as they don’t infringe on someone else’s right to believe whatever they choose) and try to tear them down for it are stupid.

Last edited by curlygirlyme; 02-01-2009 at 10:40 PM.

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