I Hate this word and so I Let a Man Write It on My Face

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I  want to write Schvartze on your face and then take a picture.

I was stunned and not stunned. This is what I was here for. It had to come down to this. I was sitting with photographer Steve Rosenfield, creator of the What I be Project. Steve offers people the opportunity to express their insecurities, by writing them on their faces. After a discussion about myself, Steve and I decided we would write Shvartze (yiddish/german for black) on my face.

Shvartze isn’t Yiddish for Black. Shvartze is Yiddish for Nigger

Being a Jew with a black father, living  in Crown Heights is a strange experience. There is always a strong undercurrent of racism. Jews and Blacks (the shvartzes to use the unfortunate local parlance) have always had tension between them.

Since moving to Crown Heights, I’ve heard the word flow like blessings. It drips out of the mouths of young and old alike. It can be stunning sometimes. You’ll be moving along just fine and then the “S-bomb” will come along and just ruin your day, or at the very least your hour and minute. It’s never nice when it’s said. No one ever says “I had a man do my taxes. He’s shvartze.” Nor do they say “my son is playing with the  boys next door, they’re shvartze.”  It’s always “a shvartze stole my bike;” or “if the shvartzes welfare why shouldn’t we.”  So, this common excuse that shvartze merely means black doesn’t play well with me.

It’s hard to feel like as strong person when it seems like one word can bring your whole world crashing around you. The hardest part is I’ve lost the ability to feel anger about it. The prejudice is so systemic that I can’t fault anybody. It’s a part of who they are. And at the end of the day, I can only feel anger at myself. It’s a hell of an Achilles heel, this simple two-syllable word.

And I would be lying if I said the prejudice only came from the Jewish side.  As a matter of fact, I’ve experienced public anti-Semitism from total strangers like I never even thought existed anymore.  Just as I was working up the nerve to write this post, I went to the store. There was a middle-aged man there complaining about the price of a bottle of whatever. As he left the store, he looked back and said to the clerk (who was Asian) “we aren’t ALL Jewish.”

There have been a few more incidents like this over my tenure in Brooklyn, but I won’t bore you with them. I have no interest in being  an ambassador or a bridge between the two peoples. I am not my race. I am who I want to be. I am a chossid. I ride my bike. I take pictures. I am also black and Jewish; and I’m proud of both of those things, but I am not defined by these external qualities.

So, when Steve Rosenfield asked me to do this. It took a few minutes for me to reconcile myself with it, but I did it and now you know why.

About Ben Faulding

Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island. I found my way to Judaism during my twenties. I'm currently a direct care worker for adults with special needs and I live in Crown Heights.
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128 Responses to I Hate this word and so I Let a Man Write It on My Face

  1. A M says:

    I hate this word too. It drives em nuts when I hear people using it. The funny thing is when I saw the picture at first glance, I was very confused. You looked Mizrachi or Arab to me and I was wondering, why does this Middle Eastern looking guy have that awful word written on his forehead?!? It wasn’t until I was reading the article and scrutinized closely that I was even able to see someone half black.

  2. Moe Ginsburg says:

    “Shvartze isn’t Yiddish for Black. Shvartze is Yiddish for Nigger”.

    Really? How else do you say “black” in Yiddish? There is no other way. “Shvartze” is literally the Yiddish word for the color black. If you want to say your car is black in Yiddish, there’s no other way to say it than to say a shvartze car. If you want to say “I love all blacks and whites equally” in Yiddish, there’s no way to say it without calling blacks shvartzes. It is the word for the color. Just like “vas” is white and “roit” is red.

    • avi says:

      you are trying to sound smart but you missed the point!!

    • Arielle says:

      It’s not the word, it’s how it’s used!
      I could say the same thing about “nigger” – it’s just a slang form of “negro” which is just Spanish for “black”! What’s wrong with that?
      As long as Shvartze is used as a term to dehumanize anyone with dark skin, it will continue to be offensive to dark skinned people, Jew and non-Jew alike.

      • John Salter says:

        Kudos to the commenters. Any Jew who’s been in that milieu knows that when people say that they are NOT referring to a color.

      • Milhouse says:

        “Nigger” in the USA has been an offensive term for well over a century. It was not used as a synonym for “negro”, but only as a term of offense. However in the rest of the English-speaking world it was a synonym for “negro”, and there was nothing wrong with using it. When Agatha Christie wrote Ten Little Niggers she was not being racist, and nor was Joseph Conrad when he wrote The Nigger of the Narcissus. Only in the last 30 years or so has the term fallen out of favor outside the USA, probably under the influence of American TV and movies.

        Shvartzer is and remains a straight translation of “black”, with all the connotations that “black” has in English. It can mean the color, it can mean a person whose skin is that color, it can mean illegal, it can mean melancholy, it can mean secret, and probably a few other things. One of the things it can be used for is to give offense, but the only way to tell that usage from all others is context and tone of voice.

    • matt says:

      Just like “kike” is just a word that means “circle,” and has never been used to hurt anybody, right?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kike

      • Milhouse says:

        “Kike” does not and had never meant “circle”, or anything but “Jew”. It doesn’t mean anything at all in Yiddish, Hebrew, or any other language I know. The Yiddish word for “circle” is “kykle”, not “kike”. And calling a person “circle” is not offensive, it’s just weird. Unless it’s a reference to the person’s weight…

      • Milhouse says:

        PS: In English, calling someone a “square” is mildly insulting, but calling someone “well-rounded” is complimentary! In Yiddish people are not called by shapes; it’s neither insulting nor complimentary but meaningless. However, if you decide, as a personal quirk, to call people shapes in Yiddish, and you happen to live in an English-speaking country, do not ever call a woman “square” :-)

      • Elizabeth says:

        Actually, “kaykl” means circle and the perjorative for Jew came from that word.

      • Milhouse says:

        Elizabeth, what difference does it make where it came from? The fact is that “kike” does not mean circle, “kykle” does. Calling someone a circle is not offensive, just weird.

      • Elizabeth says:

        I think you’ve been so busy defending using this word to many posters here that you might be getting us mixed up – I KNOW kaykl means circle, I speak Yiddish. The k-word comes from kaykl. I say yidn for Jews and might call you a yid (I call myself a yidne) BUT when a non-Jew uses the word, it’s meant as a slur. Shvarts is an adjective for black. ShvartsE is a noun and is also used as a slur.

        BUT HERE IS THE REAL ISSUE: If you learn that something you do hurts people, why would you continue to do it?

    • Yoni says:

      This applies to anyone saying shvartze is just “black one” in Yiddish: You are correct. You are also correct in saying that Shvartze is the only way to refer to a black person in Yiddish (or German). Leaving aside the discussion of context completely, what you’re saying can only apply if the rest of the sentence is said in Yiddish. if Shvartze is the only yiddish word in a sentence then you are being disingenuous by proclaiming it’s not used in a pejorative manner.

    • Tom says:

      You apparently didn’t read the whole thing: “So, this common excuse that shvartze merely means black doesn’t play well with me.”

      You only had time to skim, but enough time to leave a long reply? Dunce.

  3. Chaim Shmuly says:

    I really hate to burst anyones bubble, but “shvartze” does NOT mean the N word, at all! “Shvart” = black, “Shvartze” = the black one. That goes on the color of my pants, my friendly black neighbor or the color of my dirty hands after painting a wall black. I think that YOU are bringing up unnecessary racism with this post.

    • Sruly. says:

      Nice try. His point that the word has deeply racist connotations in its contemporary Yiddish usage stands. I certainly encountered the word dropped daily in almost exclusively racist contexts growing up in Boro Park and receiving a Chasidish and Yeshivish education. Props to author of this post for reclaiming the dignity he deserves as a person and a Tzelem Elokim, and spreading the knowledge of the destructive power of this insidious term.

    • Nigger just means black says:

      Nigger is a noun in the English language. The word originated as a neutral term referring to black people, as a variation of the Spanish/Portuguese noun negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger (“color black”).[1] Often used disparagingly, by the mid 20th century, particularly in the United States, it suggested that its target is extremely unsophisticated. Its usage had become unambiguously pejorative, a common ethnic slur usually directed at blacks of Sub-Saharan African descent.

      • miriam says:

        yeah it does but who uses words correctly when referring to a person.It has always had negative connotations in the community.Are you excusing calling someone a shvartze? Did I miss something or is it common for us all to be referred to by our color? In America Ive also never heard someone called a nigger and it meant something neutral or positive.Stop fooling yourself.

      • A. Nuran says:

        Not just towards Africans. In the UK South Asians are often called niggers. In the US the term has been expanded. In parts of the upper Midwest Native Americans are “timber niggers”. During the first Persian Gulf Live Fire Exercise Arabs were “sand niggers”. And for much of the 19th century Irish Americans were “white niggers”.

        And yidden shouldn’t be so quick with the smug. I am White because of WHEN I was born, not the color of my skin. When my parents were growing up they weren’t White precisely because they were Jews.

    • Rotti says:

      That makes no sense. He was referring to the intent of the word. I would say you are the most guilty of all for thinking that when you or anyone says the word “Shvartze” his or her intent means the color of your pants.

      • chaim says:

        Rotti,

        You obviously do not speak Yiddish, or at least not fluently, since when we use the word shvartze we certainly do use it in reffernce to the color of pants, cars or anything else. I would NEVER use the N word or any other deragetory word about ANY people, yet shvartze is in my venaculour as is vays, roit, broin, green etc.

    • Rotti says:

      Chaim,

      Did you take from my comment that I thought Shvartze was only meant toward black people? I do speak a good amount of Yiddish and know i have heard the word thrown out in a discriminatory way. I do not think he would have an issue if you used it to talk about your fucking pants.

  4. Lib says:

    words that come out of people’s mouths
    are more a reflection of who they are
    than of who you are.
    you don’t need a mirror to see your true reflection.

    • orthorim says:

      +1

      It helps to see that having a strong reaction to this perceived insult is only perpetuating the insult. You buy into the story that you are ……. (whatever somebody is putting on you).

      It’s the most powerful realization that not only are you not that, the emotions that come up in you when you hear it are not yours either; they’re given to you from the outside world. Watch those emotions rise and fall; don’t resist them. Once you are able to do that you will find that this huge problem that you had before has dissolved into nothingness.

  5. Matty says:

    You’re missing the point, Mr. Ginsburg. It’s not the word itself that is the problem, but the way it’s used in the author’s community as an expression of the racism that is endemic there. It may literally mean black, but it’s used to mean the n-word. As someone who grew up in an ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn as well, my experience mirrors his.

    • Yona Avraham says:

      Yes!This is the problem,but it seems that many refuse to see it like it is in reality!I am an African American Jew who has lived in Israel 15 years.All Blacks in Israel have to fight against the word Cushi.It’s a Biblical word that refers to the Black people of Cush,which is modern day Ethiopia.The people are called Cushim,but for as long as I’ve been in Israel,it has the connotation of the n-word.When children holler it to you,you never feel like they are simply saying you are Black.Hebrew has another word for the color Black and that is what we prefer to be called.

      • Milhouse says:

        There is nothing wrong with Cushi and you have no right to prevent anyone from using it. If you feel offended by a normal word, then fine, feel offended. The language cannot change because of your feelings.

    • A. Nuran says:

      And “kike” just means “little circle”. But try calling someone who refers to Black people as “Shvarzes” that and see how he takes it.

      • Milhouse says:

        No, “kike” does not mean “little circle”, in any language. It doesn’t mean anything at all in Yiddish or Hebrew; in English it has no meaning except an insulting synonym for “Jew”.

      • walterwart says:

        According to the etymology dictionaries it “comes from” kykle or little circle. Or did you think Jews were special and had a slur made up for them with no antecedents?

  6. Shua says:

    ….and yet another dummy with a guilty conscious who likes to spread the notion that the word shvartze is racist. Not only are you incredibly stupid, YOU ARE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE IF SOMEONE EVER GETS HURT BECAUSE THEY USED THE WORD SHVARTZE. Live with that you moron. If i use the word shvartze on the train, and some liberal minded fellow who read your stupidity hears me and calls me out as a racist, then you are responsible for that. And if every time a jew uses the word shvartze a non-jew judges him unfavorably, causing a chilul hashem, YOU are responsible for that. So great. You shared your feelings, you imaginations of guilt. You are liberated. And just as stupid.
    Yes, a black DID steal my bike, and a gang of blacks DID play the knockout game on my friend. I am not racist for saying they were black, there is no better way to say it. Period the end. They were shvartzes. And guess what.. my friend employs shvatzes in the company he owns. Suprise! and guess what? The current president is a shvartze! Whoop dee doo! unless you are blind and missed it. Shvartze is a color. Go be a stupid race baiter someplace safer and not make life miserable for the rest of us. You are a dumbass, a liar, and a danger to people everywhere. all so you could get some clicks. Crawl away and hide

    • Elya G says:

      Wow that’s a lot of pent up anger!!!!!

    • Sruly. says:

      Hey guess what, words, those pesky things that clearly annoy you so, can actually take on the characteristics of their common usage, even if the word itself originally had a benign and simple meaning. Your implicit attempt to ignore these facts and impose your own singular definition of the word is ignorant of both social history and the basic rules of linguistics.

      You are right though, in that shvartze is a color, one that has taken on a singularly loaded context in this country, founded as it was by a great many people whose system of life was undergirded by the principle that men and women (but mostly men) of one color were superior to others, and had the right to subjugate those of “lesser” colors at will. This evil system of thought still bears many poisoned and strange fruits today, and you calling someone who has suffered doubly the insults of race and religious baiting and abuse a liar and other names I won’t repeat is shameful to say the least. I can’t think of anything more disgraceful to God’s name.

    • Betsy Dobrick says:

      Almost feel sorry for you, but can’t as you’re so wrong in your self-righteousness.

    • Tom says:

      Thank you, Shua, for underling the whole point of the article. Your rant is disgraceful.

    • LioritH says:

      In the Torah you are not to cause pain to your fellow man EVEN if it was not your intention.

      You would know this if you study the Torah. This fellow Jew is in pain. It may or may not be the intention of those who use the word to cause him and other Jews of color pain, the reasoning does not matter. There is no rationalizing.

      Please study the Torah to help you let go of that anger. You would know that anger is the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination).

      Love your fellow Jew!

      • Milhouse says:

        Really? Where is that written in the Torah? Where does the Torah say that people get to make up new things to take offense at, and then they get to dictate to everyone else what language to use? In which se’if of shulchon oruch is that written?

  7. Vill Visen says:

    Shvartze is Nigger when Jews is Kike. It all depends on the context, my bobby used to tell me “when you go to the bank, make sure you get the Shvartze teller he is the kindest” now tell me where the nigger is in this. I would shift the blame on the Crown Heights Chasidim, they are very well known for converting people into their religion but once in there isn’t a great support system for the BTs! which leads people like you feeling on edge.

  8. Elisheva says:

    Shvetza is used in a derogatory sense. People who speak yiddish tend in general to put others who are different than them down. Weather shvartaa, shaigetz, goy, baal teshuva, gair I’ve heard all of these words used to differentiate the subject as being less than the speaker and the listener. IF you don’t like it change it through your choices.

  9. Ben says:

    Apparently the word has been used too many times as an insult for it to NOT have that connotation. Racism IS unnecessary… that doesn’t mean it’s not real.

  10. Yael says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve always been jarred by the status quo racism of the word, “Shvartze”. Even as a kid. “it just means ‘Black'” is such a cop out. If the word has to be justified, it shouldn’t be used.

  11. Ephraim says:

    Shvartze does mean the color black. I’m sorry that you’re surrounded by people who use it as a derogatory term, but they don’t have a monopoly on this word. Racists may take any word and turn it into hate, but that’s not the way that the majority thinks. Personally, I had a shvartze roommate a few years ago, and I often described him with this word. Not surprisingly, the only Jews who took it amiss were those who didn’t have a comprehensive understanding of Yiddish. I would encourage you to study Yiddish literary texts, and improve your knowledge of this rich language before publicly making a narr out of yourself!

    • Sruly. says:

      How is he making a narr out of himself? You may have existed in a situation wherein the word had no loaded meaning. You yourself may feel and intend zero in the way of racial animus when you use the term, but that’s just not generally the case in the 718. Thus the author is justified in making his case as such, since everyone from Brooklyn whether they’ll admit it or not knows the word is often used this way, and because, well, he experienced it.

    • Jessica says:

      Why didn’t you call your roommate by his name? I know I wouldn’t like to be referred to as “my Jew roommate”,..and yes, I’m Jewish and remember my dear grandmother using the word shvartze.. ..I loved her but it doesn’t make it right

  12. Shua says:

    funny you should mention it, my black gay friend just wrote an article about how the word “Jew” is racist, because every time he hears it or reads it online its always about a conspiracy and a a racist and an apartheid occupier. Must be “Jew” is an ugly racist term!!! Let’s band together and put an end to its use!!!!!

    • So I’m curious. What do you think of the expression “He jewed me down?”

      • Noa says:

        Can you post a link to that article ?

      • Milhouse says:

        The use of “jew” as a verb is obviously offensive, because of its meaning, not because of some magic property of the word itself. We say “Jew” all the time, just as we say “shvartzer”.

        And its meaning is offensive only because, unlike most stereotypes, it’s untrue. Yes, Jews have an eye for a bargain, and there’s nothing wrong with saying so; but Jews are not, as a rule, dishonest, and that’s why it’s wrong to say they are. If it were true, then those Jews who were not dishonest would have to accept that it was fair to use it in that way.

  13. csbarrocas says:

    I’m sorry that you had the negative experiences you describe. In my experience the word shvartze is usually used in a derogatory way. (Jewish people are rarely if ever referred to as shvartzes). I don’t allow my children to use that word.

    • Milhouse says:

      What a stupid remark. Jewish people rarely are black. When they are, they are sometimes referred to in that way.

    • Betsy Dobrick says:

      agree…just don’t use it…

      • Betsy Dobrick says:

        My reply was posted to the wrong comment. More Jews are black than ever and will continue that trend, this whole subject is abhorrent and to see such a cavalier response from you, Milhouse, that is what is stupid. You are unaware.

      • Milhouse says:

        On the contrary, I am very aware. And one thing I’m aware of is the insidious undermining of our Jewish culture by outside influences and principles. It needs to be emphasised: Racism is not an aveira. There are 365 aveiros in the Torah, and racism is not one of them. Nobody has the right to turn it into one. A person who keeps all the mitzvos but is openly racist is a tzadik; a person who scrupulously avoids racism, and keeps 612 mitzvos, but deliberately wears shatnez or carries on Shabbos, is a rosho.

        That said, racism is stupid; it’s a denial of reality. But over-sensitivity to racism, seeing it where it doesn’t exist, or pretending that race is never relevant and that all distinctions on the basis of race are wrong, is also stupid and a denial of reality.

        The reality is that race is relevant in some contexts and not in others; it often serves as a useful proxy for information that is not easily available, but as more and better information about a person becomes available race quickly loses its utility. Racism, actual racism, means ignoring that new information and continuing to rely on race even when it contradicts what one has learned about a person.

      • eyammer@gmail.com says:

        Racism is an aveira.

        It is at the very least onaat devarim, it is also a violation of Dan lechaf zechut. It is lashon harah. It is rechilut, it is a violation of v’ahavta le’reiacha kamocha, it also disregards kavod haberiot.

        So I guess you are right. Racism isn’t an aveira…it’s 6 aveiras.

      • Milhouse says:

        Eyammer, you are wrong. Better learn a Jewish word before paskening halochos. Racism is not an aveira at all. It is none of the laundry list of things you mention. (Beside which, most of the items you list only apply to a fellow yid.)

      • eyammer@gmail.com says:

        MILHOUSE

        Saying that word if, hurting someone is certainly all of the things I mentioned, especially if they are a yid. The author of this article is a yid. Moreover Kavod Habriyot applies to all people.

        I guess that if we are talking about yidden then there is lo tisneh et achicha bilvavecha, as well as the value taught in messechet avot -do not judge another until you stand in his shoes.

        Looking to the Torah to justify hurting others is chilul hashem of the highest order as well as motzi shem ra on our holy Torah.

      • Milhouse says:

        Eyammer, just because a person chooses to be offended by something does not give him the right to control other people’s speech. The word is not objectively offensive, and that is all that matters. This whole exercise in victimhood is truly offensive; it’s a game where whoever screams and protests the loudest wins, and all decent people should refuse to play it.

        Racism means treating someone unfairly, just because of who they are. It does not mean acknowledging the fact of racial differences, or making rational initial assumptions based on someone’s appearance. There is nothing wrong with that, and the attempt to turn it into a moral offense is part of a deliberate attempt to undermine our culture and our country (see Antonio Gramsci). We must not give it sanction.

  14. Any descriptive word can be made negative/hostile, depending on the tone in which it’s used. Yes, “shvartze” means “black,” and the word “black” itself can be used in a bigoted way, depending on context and tone, as can the word, “Jew,” “Christian,” “men,” “women,” and just about any other descriptor you can think of. If the author’s predominant exposure to the word is of it being said in a hostile tone, then his feelings are completely understandable, and making ad hominem attacks on him only serves to make you look like a racist. Also, given that this is a Yiddish word, if a person is speaking in Yiddish, then it may well be innocently used; however, if a person is speaking in English, and then switches to Yiddish to use the word, “shvartze,” I think the probability of racist undertones is much greater. I mean, if you’re speaking English, and you just want to say, “black,” well, why not just say, “black”?

  15. Milhouse says:

    Shvartze isn’t Yiddish for Black. Shvartze is Yiddish for Nigger

    That’s just bullshit.

    No one ever says “I had a man do my taxes. He’s shvartze.” Nor do they say “my son is playing with the boys next door, they’re shvartze.”

    The man who does my taxes is a yid. Isn’t yours? How many shvartze accountants are there, and how many yiddishe ones? And sorry, I wouldn’t want my son playing with shkotzim, no matter what color they were. If they were Jewish I’d be fine with it, but that doesn’t happen very often.

    What you seem to have a problem facing is that it is a fact that many black people, people who bear a superficial resemblance to your relatives, are dangerous criminals, of whom anybody, including you, should be wary. When you see a stranger in the street, and know nothing at all about them, then skin color is very relevant to deciding how careful you should be around them. Only a suicidally insane person ignores color when making such an assessment. A white stranger can also be a criminal, but the likelihood is overwhelmingly lower, so the initial wariness should be dialed down several orders of magnitude.

    Even liberals do it, they just feel guilty about it because they’ve brainwashed themselves with this false and perverted ideology that there’s something wrong with it. Well, guess what, there isn’t, and calling it “racism” won’t change that. I reserve the word “racism” for other things, things that are actually wrong, but if you insist that this is “racism” then I will tell you flat out that in that case there is nothing wrong with racism. You cannot turn right into wrong just by giving it a bad label. And recognizing reality is right, the greatest right there can possibly be.

    Think of it this way: suppose your identical twin happens to be a notorious gangster. You know you are not him and are nothing like him; but nobody else does, unless they know you well enough to tell the difference between you and him. Anyone who sees you should be scared! And they should teach their children to be scared. Not doing so would be child endangerment. Is that wrong? Of course not. It’s just reality. If you must blame someone, blame the criminal.

    But none of this has to do with the Yiddish word “shvartz”, which simply means black. (Actually if you overhear a casual conversation among Jews, and happen to catch the word “shvartz” without any context, it’s more likely they’re talking about money than a person!)

  16. Chaya says:

    As someone who has minimal background in Yiddish language and literature, I’m nevertheless aware that “shvartse” is not necessarily a derogation in itself. Still, I cannot help but agree that with its usage comes a derogatory attitude. I have no regard for political correctness, and I am not usually moved moved by liberal arguments. I’m also not blind to the tangible racism that blacks in Crown Heights impose on their Jewish counterparts (a phenomenon completely foreign to me, as growing up in a middle class neighborhood outside of Crown Heights, nobody cared if you’re white, black, or purple.) Yet, I cringe when I hear this word. There is simply such an injustice in categorizing an individual, whether he stole a bike or is a nice bank teller, by virtue of a characteristic he has no control over. It’s like saying, “Horrible driver, must be a woman” or even “She’s so sweet, just like a woman.” Although I might not feel exactly as does the author of this blog, especially considering that I don’t have a black parent, I very much feel much of what he expresses as someone who is receptive and sensitive to issues regarding the denigration of an individual’s or a community’s humanity. I hope the author is aware of the fact that both the positive and negative comments are after all, a validation of his perspective which implies that he pinpointed an important issue within the Crown Heights community – one that includes both Jews and blacks, and one that includes Jewish blacks as well. And guess what? It is also a community of which the next generation of doctors will be more black than Jewish. Will you say, “Oh, he just saved his life, must be a shvartse doctor” as you say today about a Jewish doctor? If not, perhaps it’s time to question the context of your usage of “shvartse.”

    • Milhouse says:

      There is simply such an injustice in categorizing an individual by virtue of a characteristic he has no control over.

      Why? What’s unjust about it? It’s perfectly normal, and how humans have spoken without any shame for thousands of years. By calling it unjust you have put the lie to your claim that you “have no regard for political correctness, and I am not usually moved moved by liberal arguments”. The idea that there is something wrong with referring to a person’s accidental characteristics is unique to the very far fringe of radical leftist propaganda taught by American academics in the last few decades.

      It’s like saying, “Horrible driver, must be a woman”

      If women were, on average, significantly worse drivers than men, then that would be a logical thing to say.

      or even “She’s so sweet, just like a woman.”

      What’s wrong with this? See, only a radical advocate of “political correctness” would find anything wrong with this.

      It is also a community of which the next generation of doctors will be more black than Jewish

      What on earth makes you suppose that?

      • Chaya says:

        “Yuden” doesn’t literally mean “dirty Jew” or anything of the like, yet it inspires fear and contempt, especially if spoken by a Nazi. Is that not true?
        And by the way, if you believe in Hashgacha Protis, no characteristic is accidental. My being Jewish is not accidental. I have no control over it but it hat does not imply it is accidental.
        Some rectangles are squares. In fact, I could say that most rectangles are squares. Is it logical to say, “look, a rectangle. It must be a square?”
        Either a radical advocate of political correctness or a woman who isn’t always sweet and knows there is nothing about her as a woman that makes her “sweeter” than a man.
        Take a poll in medical schools around NY. Find out who will end up practicing medicine in high poverty neighborhoods like Crown Heights.

      • Milhouse says:

        No, “yid” does not mean “dirty Jew”, and it is exactly what we call ourselves and each other! What a silly example!

        And if most rectangles were squares, and all you were told about a specific shape was that it was a rectangle, then it would be reasonable to suppose that it was probably a square.

        Even if it’s not true that women are more likely than men to be sweet, what’s wrong with saying so? At worst, it’s factually incorrect; so what? How does that make it morally wrong?

        And your poll of NY medical schools, if you really took one, is irrelevant. Our community’s doctors don’t only come from those schools.

      • Milhouse says:

        Oh, and look up “accident” in a dictionary.

      • Chaya says:

        Your logic is flawed.

        1. If I’m not in control of a particular phenomenon P, this does not imply that it is an accident. A simple example: I’m not in control of my neighbor’s action. Does that imply that if he hits you over the head with a bat, it was an “accident?”

        2. Here’s a little lesson in mathematics: There is an infinite number of rectangles, an infinite number of squares, and an infinite number of rectangles that are squares. The most I could say is that “Look, it’s a rectangle. It is a POSSIBILITY that it is a square.”

      • Milhouse says:

        Your English is flawed. As I suggested, look up “accident” in a dictionary. Skin color in humans is an accidental trait; it is not directly linked to character. You claimed that it is therefore wrong to use it to categorise people; I replied that your claim is without foundation. That’s all.

        And yes, I am well aware that most rectangles are not squares. Now reread my comment and point out where I contradicted that.

  17. Milhouse says:

    Here’s another f’rinstance: if you look like an Arab, and you go anywhere in Israel, you will get extra scrutiny, and that is right and just. It’s inconvenient for you, but you have no moral right to feel insulted or put-upon; what you may justly resent is the reality that makes it necessary, i.e. the fact that so many people who look just like you are murderers and thieves. Any attempt to shame those who give you extra scrutiny would not only be unjust to them, it would also be monstrous, because if it succeeded it would endanger everyone, including yourself.

  18. Chaya says:

    Milhouse: Tell a Sephardic Jew, a Yemenite Jew, or a black Jew that only a “suicidally insane person” would not be wary “several orders of magnitudes more” of him than of his Ashkenazi friend.

    • Milhouse says:

      There are not a lot of dangerous criminals who look like most Sefardim or Temanim. But there are many dangerous criminals who are negroes. When one encounters a stranger in the street, one must instantly form a judgment about his character from his superficial appearance. The way he is dressed plays a role in that, but so does his general appearance, including the color of his skin. If he looks like the average black American, that automatically makes it several orders of magnitude more likely that he is dangerous. And yes, only a suicidally insane person would suppress that knowledge, and not be more wary.

      Of course there may be other cues that can change this assessment drastically. But in the absence of such cues, race is a valuable cue, and it is morally perverted to teach people not to use it. If someone gets hurt because they were taught that it’s wrong to think that way, their blood is on the head of the person who taught them this.

      • IC says:

        By that logic Mr. Millhouse we should teach Jewish children to fear Jews who walk around in ‘Chassidic levush’ since almost all molesters of Chassidic kids are Chassidic Jews.

        The funny thing is the criminals from BK’s AA & Afro Caribbean community pray far more often on members of their own community than they do on Jews.

        If you are looking for social ‘cues’ to read in order to try to decipher a possible threat I respectfully suggest you try developing ‘social reading level’ beyond the fifth grade. You may be interested in the ‘The little black book of violence’ (no pun intended )by Lawrence Kane & Kris Wilder, it will do more to keep you safe than racial profiling will in 100 years.

  19. Sheila says:

    So sad to read all these “smarter than thou” comments on a personal story where this man is sharing his deep thoughts and feelings and is met with superficial and insensitive comments. Come on where is the ahavas his role for a fellow Jew?

  20. Ashes says:

    To everyone commenting about how ‘schvartze’ is just the Yiddish word for black, and we should get over it:
    Bitch is just a word for a female dog, but no one wants to be called that either.
    It’s all in the intention of the word, and even as a little kid, I knew the word ‘schvartze’ was/is derogatory. If a little kid can tell, the whole world can tell, and it’s a huge chillul hashem. You want to use it? Take off your kippah first.

    • Milhouse says:

      What a stupid comment. Of course calling someone a dog is an insult, male or female! The insult is in the meaning, not in the word! There’s nothing wrong with using “bitch” about an actual female canine, any more than there’s anything wrong in using the word “dog”. Or “horse” or “pig” about actual horses and pigs.

  21. neshama says:

    If a person spoke yiddish and not english maybe, we can let them slide, but if most of your conversation is english and u throw in shvartzeh then, there is a problem.

    Cant wait for Moshiach, a LOT of askanazim r going to have to do some serious “al chet “.

    • Milhouse says:

      We throw a lot of Yiddish and Hebrew into our conversation.

    • Mike says:

      Neshama, you are right!! People dont realize what they are doing. The reason its like the “N” word is because people speaking English switch to a Yiddish word here and there to add meaning. Using schvartze to refer to somebody when you are talking English, means you are trying to describe the person’s character or identity like when you say “Black People” and make a special facial expression, a wink, or rolling your eyes, while you are saying it.

  22. Sam Ben Asif says:

    First of all, really enjoyed reading this akh sheli, may we all see a change in ignorance really soon.

    Secondly Milhouse stop getting so effin brave with your blatant racism on here, oooh black people are more dangerous?
    Lol you sound like you got bullied by then through school, you are an idiot.

    And according to you we have a very dangerous man sitting in the whitehouse, putting his political stance and affiliations aside, but purely because he’s a Blackman!

    The word Schvartze IS derogatory, this is acknowledged worldwide, you can just watch the movie ‘infidel’ for reference, where a white Jew uses the word to describe someone and is arrested immediately.

    And may it be so all over the world, this bullshit will NOT slide

    • Betsy Dobrick says:

      Agree and no more responses to his racism. As I scroll down, this is not merely an unaware person, this is an angry bigot.

    • Milhouse says:

      Yes, Sam, black people are more likely than white people to be dangerous. A far higher proportion of black people than of white people are dangerous. Therefore, when one knows nothing about a person but his race, the fact that he is black significantly raises the chance that he is dangerous. That is a fact, which you cannot deny. Of course once one has more information about a person one can form a better and more individualized judgment, and his race quickly becomes unimportant and irrelevant. Racism consists of ignoring that, and sticking to the initial race-based assessment in the face of more reliable contrary evidence.

      And no, this has nothing to do with the president, about whom we have a lot of specific information, so we don’t need to use his race as a proxy. And in fact he is dangerous, but the reason is not because of his black father but because of the communist upbringing he got from his white mother and grandparents and their friends, black and white.

      I don’t need to watch any English movie to tell me what a Yiddish word in daily use means. Nor do I give a damn what is “acknowledged worldwide”; reality is not based on “consensus”, and does not change because of what people think. If people think the earth is flat, that does not make it flat; and if people think a word means something other than what it does, that does not change its meaning.

      • David says:

        Milhouse, I don’t know who you are but you’re extremely incisive and make good points.

        “shkotzim” means “insects” though, so you shouldn’t say it.

      • Milhouse says:

        I know exactly what “shkotzim” (or “sheigetz”) means, and only use it when the context makes it appropriate. In this case the context was the undesirability of a Jewish child playing with children who are not Jewish; thus a pejorative is called for. And “sheigetz” is the traditional term we use; did your zeideh or elter-zeideh think twice about using it? So why should you?

  23. Sherilyn says:

    The ‘s’ word is never used in a non racist context. If someone doesn’t want to risk hurting someone’s feelings, they say black. The fact that people refer to you, a fellow Jew as that, or even on your presence, even AT ALL in the twenty first century is despicable.

    • Sherilyn says:

      And let me just add, that the same people who use the word shvartze would be the same ones making comments if a black Jew went off the derech, when if this continues, I would think the small population of black Jews, which is a GREAT thing, would dwindle.

      • chaim says:

        Wow! Your comment is straight up BS, and racist against EVERYONE now. YOU decided that the same people who use Yiddish words like shvartze would also make such comments? YOU my friend are the racist.

    • chaim says:

      Sherilyn,

      You are wrong. You obviously do not speak Yiddish, or at least not well. Being that its my first language, I can tell you that you are simply stirring the pot. Secular Jews love to think that Shvartz is racist, speak Yiddish and then come back and give us your “educated: opinion.

  24. egreg says:

    If you can’t change everybody, change your perception. Reclaim the word!

    Yid in Polish means Jew and there is no othet. In Russia it means Kike. You see, it is a matter of perception, but the word is the same.

    Chassidic Jews in Crowd Heights happen to live next to Black neighbors they don’t like. Israeli Jews say stuff about Arabs – I just came from a visit. Sad to say you are hearing the tensions between two cultures. Just be happy that Chassidic Jews stop at talking and don’t beat people up.

    Do you think I like it when girls say that all guys are after one thing, and don’t give me a chance to invite them on a date because of what previous guys said or did? Or what they were told? They don’t even know me.

    This is the problem. You can’t change everybody. Embrace the word Schwartze and use it in positive ways! Show them that their Schwartze is just a point of view.

  25. meira says:

    I agree. The word is simply derogatory. Unfortunately it is so part of certain communities vocabulary. I do not use the word. If I don’t like a person, its not bassed on there color bit there actions.
    More peAce.

  26. Pingback: Since when did shvartze become a racist word?

  27. Ruth says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. It is really powerful and breaks open several important issues. I work for Be’chol Lashon and would love to be in touch with you about reprinting this. Please be in touch with me via info@bechollashon.org to connect.

  28. Fredda Finkelstein says:

    I am not trying to be racist (nor do I believe that I am), a smart ass or derogatory in any way. I have a question. If I were in a room with ten male soldiers, dressed identically, of the same height and build and say to you, “I love that man, he saved my life and I will forever be indebted to him”. Nine of the men are white and one is not. If you were to ask, “Which man are you talking about?”, how would I refer to him?

    • wsg says:

      As a man.

      By the way, did you know that 30% of “white men” have 3% black genes? If I am a a 3% black Jew, am I shvartze? The author is perhaps a 50% black Jew. At what percent is the label shvartze justified?

  29. Sandra says:

    Thank you for posting. As another Jew of color I look forward to reading more from you and connecting with you more online.

  30. rutimizrachi says:

    Wow. I think about the words they could write on my forehead. “FAT.” “TOO OLD.” “SETTLER.” My son put your post on his Facebook page. Here’s our discussion:

    David Eastman: A true tragedy that an article of this nature would have to be written about and to the Jewish community.

    Ruti Eastman: I take pride in the memory that your father and I deprogrammed you when you came home from school with words like “schvartze” and “goy.” When people say they only mean “black” and “person of another nation (other than the Jewish people),” we would say that the argument might hold up if you spoke Yiddish primarily, and if it weren’t said with the same tone used for an epithet. Thank you, David Eastman, for upholding your parents’ values.

    David Eastman: The entire time I was reading the article and the subsequent comments (some of which read: “It just means ‘black’ what’s wrong with saying that?!”), I kept thinking: Geez, am I glad my mama straightened me up early! So thank you, Ruti Eastman for giving me such values which I could then uphold.

    Can’t fix the world. Can try, one child, one post, at a time. Thank you, Zein Shver, for getting it said.

  31. yossel says:

    It’s amazing. It’s obvious that the majority of the commenters do not speak Yiddish and are not acquainted with conversational Yiddish. For me Yiddish was my first language and I speak as a native tongue. To all those who insist that Shvartze has racial connotations sorry to bust your bubble, it does not! As stated many times above it’s just the color black. Of course one can use many words and with the proper inflection make it sound negative.I know the author personally and he is obsessed with this subject and he needs to get over it.

  32. Jude says:

    l don’t care if it’s the only word for the color & the only alternative is to say the cumbersome “that color that’s the opposite of white!” If a word is insulting & upsetting to a large number of people, then even though you bear no responsibility for it being that way & it happened eons before you were even born, DON’T F’N USE IT! What is not to understand?

  33. I remember Sharpton Who’s Job is To find reason for Hate and to Fan it, He tried Convincing People that Black In Yiddish means N****R i Guess he got it into Some heads,

  34. Pingback: Recoloring My Picture of Racism | Kol B'Isha Erva

  35. anon says:

    So how many of you who are in the ” shvartz means black” camp are ok with being called a Jewboy? I mean, if you’re male and a Jew it shouldn’t bother you, right?

  36. Elizabeth says:

    What an extraordinary amount of desperate rationalizations for using a derogatory word. I’ve never heard “Shvartse” used with admiration. It’s not a neutral word. “Shvarts” is an acceptable adjective for black – mayne shiklekh zaynen shvarts (My shoes are black). “Shvartse”, however, is an unacceptable noun for the n-word. The real point for any vehement defenders of the word’s usage: As a Jew who is commanded to make the world a better place and not to commit the aveyra of embarassing anyone – are you willing to STOP using a word that is obviously causing someone pain? Are you utterly incapable of coming up with a substitute word, or is your vocabulary as limited as your imagination and compassion?

    • Milhouse says:

      Bull. How do you say “my black shoes”, if not “maine shvartze shich”?

      And there is no aveira in recognizing that someone is different. If they feel embarrassed by it it’s their own problem.

      You know, the more I think about this the more I realize what the underlying problem is. This entire concept that being aware of the differences between people is “wrong” is part of a much greater agenda. In fact even the concept that actual racism is some sort of aveira is part of the same agenda, which is to claim that something which all our grandparents took for granted, something that 20 and 50 and 100 and 200 years ago was considered completely normal, can suddenly become wrong. And underlying that is the idea that we know better than our ancestors. That they were ignorant and wrong, and we are better than them. Well, this idea is ANTI-TORAH. We have no right to say or to believe such a thing. We are not better than our ancestors, we are worse. Yeridas hadoros is a fundamental belief in Judaism; as time goes on, the generations go down, not up. We must look up at the past, not down. If something was good enough for our righteous ancestors then it should be good enough for us.

      And that is what bothers me about this whole push to change our society and to introduce new moral principles that our fathers and grandfathers did not dream of. I reject actual racism because it’s stupid and illogical, but not because it’s immoral. It isn’t immoral; the worst one can call an actual racist is “unsophisticated”. But when the word “racism” gets applied to actions, beliefs, or attitudes that are not stupid or illogical, but on the contrary are solidly based on statistics and common sense, then it’s not only not immoral, it’s not even wrong, and on the contrary rejecting it is stupid and illogical.

      • Shannon-Jo says:

        “Racism is generally defined as actions, practices or beliefs, or social or political systems that are based in views that see the human species to be divided into races with shared traits, abilities, or qualities, and especially the belief that races can be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to others, or that members of different races should be treated differently.”

        You say that we are worse than our grandparents. I beg to differ. In our grandparents’ day, because of the pigmentation of my skin (and its ability to withstand sun exposure for longer times without burning), the width of my hips (which makes me more capable to pushing out children and getting back to work quicker) and the belief that these and other characteristics somehow made me inferior to someone of a lighter skin tone, I’d be sold into slavery. Fast forward to today. I’m an attorney. See the difference?

        Just because certain ways were acceptable once upon a time doesn’t make them right. It is anti-Torah to disregard the fact that we are ALL created in HaShem’s image (not just fellow Yidden), and entertaining naked and gratuitous contempt for anyone created in HaShem’s image—let alone an entire category of them based on color, eye shape, gender, national origin, or what-have-you—violates the fundamental inviolate human dignity resultant from all of us having been created in this image.

        There is nothing wrong with recognizing that people are different (I personally prefer taller men to shorter ones and squared rimmed glasses tend to look better on rounder faces). The problem occurs when these differences are used to hurt and marginalize others—especially when we KNOW that our brother or our sister is hurting and feels marginalized—and instead of trying to heal that pain, we pretend that the infliction of said pain is okay because “thou shalt not be racist” isn’t explicitly written in the Torah.

      • Milhouse says:

        Shannon-Jo, who are these people who “generally” define it that way? Those people are wrong. Or, if they’re right, if that is the definition of racism, then there is nothing wrong with it, and every decent person should refuse to allow it to be used as an accusation.

        That we are worse than our ancestors is a fundamental belief of Judaism. You “beg to differ”? Your request is denied. You have no right to differ. This is what the Torah teaches us, therefore it is by definition true. If modern attitudes are different from those of long ago, what makes you think the modern ones are right? What makes them right?

        In our grandparents’ day, because of the pigmentation of my skin […] I’d be sold into slavery.

        That is a vicious lie. There has never been a time when people were sold into slavery because of their skin color. Never. You are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts. You have no right to make things like that up.

        The ancestors of black Americans were not enslaved because they were black! They were enslaved in Africa, where everyone was black, so how could that be the reason they were enslaved? It’s obvious that they were enslaved for the same reasons people have been throughout history, i.e. by being captured in war, or for crimes, or because their parents were poor and sold them, or they fell into poverty and had to sell themselves. It had nothing to do with their race.

        Remember that the Torah has no problem with slavery. In fact the Torah commands us to keep our slaves forever, and not to free them. לעולם בהם תעבודו.

        It is anti-Torah to disregard the fact that we are ALL created in HaShem’s image (not just fellow Yidden),

        No, Hashem’s image is the holy neshomoh that He put in us, and only in us. We say every morning that “man has no advantage over animals, for everything is meaningless, except for the pure neshomo”.

        Deliberately inflicting pain on anybody is wrong; even on an animal, how much more so on a human being. But if someone chooses to be hurt in a ploy to gain control over his fellow people, we should not enable such behavior. Playing victim does not give someone moral authority.

  37. milhouse says:

    Racism is an aveira.

    It is at the very least onaat devarim, it is also a violation of Dan lechaf zechut. It is lashon harah. It is rechilut, it is a violation of v’ahavta le’reiacha kamocha, it also disregards kavod haberiot.

    So I guess you are right. Racism isn’t an aveira…it’s 6 aveiras.

  38. a yid says:

    while shvartze can have derogatory usage at times, it is definitely not the same as “nigger”. it is extremely unfortunate that you are having these experiences. maybe better to move to israel?
    i don’t think putting the word on your forehead is wise. as you said, you are more than your ethnicity. you are a jewish person, period. i wish you the best.

  39. moonlight1021 says:

    Perhaps we should ask a different question: is the word Shvartze the issue or rather underneath it, the “real” word is goy? That is people associate black folks with being not Jewish or even white folks who “don’t look Jewish” with being not Jewish? If the issue is the skin color, then they’re trying to say Jews cannot “really” be black because the majority of Jews are not black. and if they are black, then it’s because “something happened”: whether it was intermarriage or a conversion that took place. and when it comes to conversions, we’re dealing with the entire debate about who is really a Jew and who isn’t and is the conversion legitimate or not? I think one of the lost tribes was black, there are also the Ethiopian Jews returning who are black….perhaps if we had more black Ortho Jews in the community, then the rest of klal yisroel would not find it so strange anymore….perhaps we need black Jews and Asian Jews and everyone else to speak up and say we are Jewish, here we are, not everyone is white and Ashkenazi, there is much diversity in the community. In the Holocaust too, when the Ashkenazim met the Sephardim who didn’t speak Yiddish, they thought they’re not Jewish because they didn’t speak Yiddish….The list can go on….We also need a more positive attitude towards converts also who also have a hard time if they don’t fit a certain label…and perhaps the matter is not that you’re not white enough, even if you were white completely, you would’ve still had issues if you were labeled as “not looking Jewish enough” (whatever that means). And it wouldn’t stop there, it could go on also about the shape of your noise, your accent, if the country in which you were born had enough of a Jewish community etc…. in regards to you though, if I can raise a suggestion….perhaps what makes you different is not necessarily the color of your skin. there are plenty of Jews with a darker skin color than yours….perhaps the issue may be your beard which is of dark color making you look darker so if you had less facial hair, it would help people see your face better…

  40. A courageous post and an important topic.

    Yiddish language and linguistics being my area of interest, I do feel the need to comment regarding the linguistic issues that have been brought up.

    On the one hand, the word שװאַרץ, /shvarts/, is in fact the only word for the color black in Yiddish. So there can be nothing problematic about its usage in Yiddish when not referring to people. It may be of interest to note that the traditional use of the word שװאַרצער /shvartser/ (the added -er makes it into a noun-like word) when referring to a person actually meant someone with dark-colored hair or features — as opposed to, say, a געלער /geler/, a light-haired person. The referent more often than not was Jewish. The older standard, neutral word for black-skinned person was נעגער /neger/. The word still appears, to the consternation of many students I’m sure, in one of the first chapters of the textbook College Yiddish, written in the 50s. Due to the phonetic similarity to the English racial epithet, this word has seen sharply decreased usage, at least in America. שװאַרצער /shvartser/ has to a great extent taken its place as the neutral word for black person in Yiddish. Though as in English, there are some alternatives, for example טונקל־הױטיקער /tunkl-hoytiker/, literally “dark-skinned”. אַפֿריקאַנער־אַמעריקאַנער /afrikaner-amerikaner/ is used sometimes but is not adequate when referring to black people outside America.

    The word שװאַרצער /shvartser/ is not in and of itself derogatory in Yiddish. For instance, this newspaper article (http://yiddish.forward.com/articles/172478/th-anniversary-of-the-march-on-washington/), an obviously positive retrospective on the March on Washington, uses the word שװאַרצע /shvartse/ six times. That is not to say the word cannot be pronounced with derision. But it is essentially neutral, largely equivalent to “black person” in English.

    Until now we have dealt with the usage in the Yiddish language. In English, the case is entirely different. ‘Schvartze’, the word Ben had written on his forehead, is a (Jewish) English word that was borrowed from Yiddish. However, in English, the word is primarily (if not only) used in a derogatory manner. This makes it a racial slur. Just because the word it is borrowed from and still sounds like in Yiddish is neutral does NOT make the term neutral when used in English, and no knowledge of Yiddish is necessary to understand its meaning. Words do not have an unchangeable essence — rather, they are defined by their usage. When you say ‘schvartze’ in an English sentence, you are not “switching into Yiddish” for one word. You are using a racial slur in the English language.

  41. Pingback: Back for Two Important Cross-Posts « Black, Gay and Jewish

  42. Motl says:

    So then what term would you like? אַפֿריקאנישׁ, Afrikanisch.
    The word (Schvartze) comes from German and just means black. The negativity for me comes in how its used. But that could go for any human descriptive word.

    Why do we have to describe any Jew by colour. A Jews, a Jews is a Jew.

  43. AJR says:

    Dear Zein, I really appreciate your article and the only criticism that I have is that it is WAY OVERDUE. After the process of becoming a Bal Tuvah, I was deeply saddened by the prejudice and terms that I found to be expressed by certain religious people. These types of terms are often so numbly and openly expressed in our religious world. While I have argued with and tried to explain to people about their negative use of terms like “Schvartze” and also”Goy” (for many, many year), this plea and my words are coming from a categorized “White”, (of European decent), Jewish woman. This is rather than coming from an African American Jewish man, such as yourself. So I say thank you, thank you for the picture and article and while I am so glad that you did this, this type of expression and speaking out, is WAY overdue! BTW, I have poetry that is published on this subject matter. Let me know if you would like me to send some poems to you! Sending you blessings for much success and healing in your path. -AJR

  44. Simcha says:

    Ohmagawd the frum community is in complete and total denial about how racist we all are! GUYS. If you’re Ashkenazi in America, you were deemed WHITE by the Anglo-Protestants who hustled you through Ellis Island AGES AGO. When that happened, you all entered the same glorious ethnic hierarchy our ancestors were battling for centuries in Europe with the goyim! Read up on your history, shut up and listen to the minority- weren’t ya’ll slaves in mitzrayim??

  45. Pingback: One Shocking Photo: A follow up | Zein Shver

  46. Pingback: For a black chasid, hate on both sides | Everyday Jewish Living | OU Life

  47. I still remember the time a non-Jewish friend used the expression “Jew him down”. Before I had time to say anything he got extremely embarrassed and tried to correct himself with something like “I meant chew, not Jew”. I made allowances for the fact that he probably heard it many times growing up that that it was just a slip, etc, but the fact that I remember it over 40 years later points out that the friendship was never the same after that.

    I can’t completely connect the above to the thread here except to imagine how I would feel about the S-word were I in Mr. Shver’s shoes or were I an African-American non-Jew.

    • Milhouse says:

      If he used “to jew down” in the sense of haggling, then why would any Jew take offense at it? It’s true, we Jews do like a bargain, and do try to haggle, or “handel” as we say in Yiddish. Why be upset when someone refers to that fact about us? Are you ashamed of it?! Do you want to be known as a spendthrift, who doesn’t notice the price of anything, and the whole world sees as an easy mark?!

      The offensive use of “jew” is when it’s used to mean “to cheat”. That’s offensive because it isn’t true. Jews are not thieves or cheats, we play by the rules and try our hardest to win by them.

  48. Carel van Leeuwen says:

    Dear mr Faulding, how can i make apologies to you? I can not! It shockes me to read what is happening, B-H we have seen the other side as well, some one from the Dutch Suriname people did a giur at Yeshivat Machon Meir and he is B-H respected by every one. His name Shaul Yisrael. If you are on facebook you can see him. In the mean time may you have a Gut Shabbos and less hate,

  49. eyammer@gmail.com says:

    Yeah, but the article is a Jew and using the word is speaking.

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