unspoken in our presence
Something has been bugging me lately and today, after reading this article in the Jerusalem post, I decided to blog about it.
Anti-semitism runs deep and, I believe, a good deal deeper and wider than many Jews are aware for the simple reason that, those who hold negative stereotypes and opinions of Jews often do not express those sentiments in the presence of their Jewish acquaintances. That would be too Un-PC of them.
With my blond hair and gaelic name people don't usually take me for being Jewish and so more times than I can count I've been privy to hearing what people _really_ think about Jews if the topic of conversation veers onto the Middle East, the Holocaust, major holiday seasons, or someone just decides to throw in a conversational little comment about how someone tried to "Jew me down" or similar remark. These instances usually occurred with acquaintances whom I knew only peripherally. They were sometimes accompanied by an aside, "well I wouldn't say that if (name of another Jewish acquaintance) were here, but you know what I mean..."
Oh, do I now?
My response to these situations has varied from ignoring it and deciding to have little contact with the speaker(s) if possible, to quietly stating "you do know that I am Jewish, don't you?" --(Can you hear the moment of dead silence that usually brings on before the embarrassed backtracking begins?),-- to really being confrontational. And a whole range in between.
None of those responses brings satisfactory or effective results. Nobody's opinion really gets changed. They might just be a bit more careful about being PC outwardly.
Last year though an instance occurred that really hit home. And really hurt. And has really made me mad, though not necessarily at the specific people (well, mad at them too) but at the inexplicableness of it. Where does this prejudice come from?
And I've been stewing on it for months now. Because these people who were harboring really negative stereotypes and opinions of Jews were not acquaintances. They were very close friends.