So In Order To Be A Liberal, I Have To Stop Being A Jew?

So In Order To Be A Liberal, I Have To Stop Being A Jew?

The events at the Chicago Dyke March just proved it.
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I’ve always been ever so slightly frightened of being Jewish in public. I’m not ashamed of my heritage – in fact, I’m proud of it – but even so, I’ve never felt comfortable wearing my Star of David or t-shirts with Hebrew writing on them or any sort of marker that might identify me as being anything other than Christian. I’ve been able to convince myself that it’s fair because I can never truly know someone else’s intentions, because I can’t predict the way they might react to me if they realized that I’m not like them, but it’s always struck me as sort of cowardly. Then came the events at the Chicago Dyke March, and all my fears were suddenly justified.

The Chicago Dyke March, one of many Pride events this past month, was problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least among them being that they seemed to have no interest in including actual lesbians in their festivities. But the march and its organizers earned everlasting notoriety when they and their fellows confronted three Jewish marchers, harassed them for upwards of two hours about their views on the existence of Israel, and finally ejected them from the march. The reason behind their actions? The three marchers were carrying a rainbow flag emblazoned with a Star of David.

Since the event, and the resulting outcry from Jewish communities, the march organizers have claimed that the marchers were “Zionists,” and that they were therefore correct to throw them out. Meanwhile, Jewish LGBTQ+ women are having to confront once again what most of us have already known: The left wing of American politics doesn’t accept us any more than the right does. They’re just a little better at pretending.

The fact that the organizers questioned the Jewish marchers for hours about their views on Israel speaks to the fact that Jewish people have at best a conditional acceptance on the left wing. I’ve experienced it myself. Whether or not I’m welcome in a liberal or leftist space depends on how strongly I disavow Israel – in short, my acceptance depends on whether or not liberal and leftist Gentiles see me as a Good Jew™. Leftists and liberals see no problem in demanding this purity test from me and other Jewish people, but they would never demand the same from a Muslim man or woman, despite the fact that majority-Islamic countries commit some of the worst human rights violations on the planet.

Leftists, such as the ones at the Chicago Dyke March, have an extremely narrow view of what constitutes oppression. To them, oppression is perpetrated by people with white skin against people with nonwhite skin – and that’s it. There’s no room for nuance, and there’s certainly no room for understanding that despite our skin color, white Jewish people have never been considered white by the people who want to hurt us, and often, the people who want to hurt us are not white. Leftists paint the Israel/Palestine conflict as an apartheid, a race war, when it’s in fact nothing less than the result of a war that the Arab world started – and lost – more than 70 years ago.

Leftists are similarly convinced that their actions toward Jewish people are completely justified, and will defer any accusation of anti-Semitism with the phrase “I’m not anti-Semitic, I’m just anti-Zionist." The debate about whether anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism has been going on within the Jewish community for years, and it’s not for Gentiles to decide what constitutes anti-Semitism. Jewish people are often accused of crying anti-Semitism whenever something happens that they don’t like, and that makes most of us hesitant to call out anti-Semitism when we experience it. But unfortunately, anti-Semitism is like pornography. You know it when you see it, and on the left, I and other Jewish people have been seeing it for our entire lives.

All of this is academic, because what the organizers of the Chicago Dyke March did to the Jewish women they harassed is far worse: They forced them to choose which of their identities mattered most. In order to be accepted at the march, Jewish women were expected to categorically reject their Judaism. In order to be accepted, they were asked to assimilate. And when they refused, they were thrown out.

I shouldn’t have to demonstrate myself to be a Good Jew™ in order to be accepted in leftist spaces. I shouldn’t have to renounce my Judaism to participate in events that acknowledge my LGBTQ+ identity. And my identity shouldn’t make anyone feel unsafe. If people on the left are willing to double down on the idea that Jewish identities are inherently problematic, I think it’s time we acknowledge that the problem isn’t with Jewish people. It’s with everyone else.

Over this past year, I’ve been seeing anti-Semitism everywhere I turn. I see it in my supervisor at work, who made a series of anti-Semitic comments about my appearance, my behavior, and my brother’s mathematical ability after I let slip that I was Jewish. I see it in my college professors, who repeatedly traffic in anti-Semitic stereotypes and refuse to acknowledge their behavior. I see it in the student activists at my college who attempt to strip safe spaces away from their fellow Jewish students. I’m tired, and I’m scared. But I’m not going to let my fear stop me. I’m going to start wearing my Star of David and my shirts with Hebrew writing. I’m going to be proud of my identity, and I’m going to risk the consequences.

I’m still afraid. But I won’t let that stop me.

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Stierch // Wikimedia Commons

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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If You Think Belly Dancing Is Sexual, You're Missing The Whole Point

Believe it or not, exposed stomachs aren't inherently sexual.

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What we know as belly dancing here in America started in the middle east as a way for mothers to teach their daughters how to isolate certain muscles that they would use in childbirth, thus making the process an easier one when it was their time to go through it.

This cultural dance began with mothers teaching daughters behind closed doors where men weren't allowed to watch. It's possible that this fact helped cause some of the negative stigmas behind it by people who do not know its true origin.

Long story short (because I'm not looking to place false facts in this article), belly dancing moved over to America after a while and it wasn't necessarily accepted at first. Today, there is a multitude of belly dancing styles, including belly dance fusion which combines more traditional dancing with modern takes on it by blending multiple cultures or dancing styles.

You're probably wondering why a white girl such as myself is trying to educate you on something that clearly isn't a part of my own culture. Well, for those of you who don't know (or who couldn't recognize me from the cover photo), I belly dance at my university as part of an extracurricular club.

This club is easily one that I am most passionate about. I joined the club in my first semester as a freshman and have stuck with it for the past six semesters, and plan to stick with it for my last two. I came into the club with little previous dance experience and no previous belly dance experience, much like almost everyone else I've seen come and go.

I've heard of professors at my school who said they wouldn't go to our shows because it "made him uncomfortable." Why? Because our stomachs are out and we're moving our hips? That doesn't make our dancing inherently sexual.

We have a rule within our club that if any of us go out to parties, we cannot use belly dancing moves to try to woo guys or girls. Because guess what? That's not the point of belly dancing.

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