Race Fail

My parents love the show Survivor and record it and watch it together.  I happened to be in the living room when they were watching last week’s episode, where one player, the lone black man, accused another, a white man, of being racist.  My parents were both appalled at this man’s use of the “race card.”

I was appalled at their used of that phrase. I hate that term.  I hate that white people willfully ignore and/or remain ignorant of the subtle and blatant experiences afforded to us by our white privilege while invalidating the everyday situations POC face.  I do not know what the white player was thinking or feeling when he called the black player crazy.  It may have been a euphemism, like when black men were(/are) called “boys.”  Or it may have been that the black player’s argument made no sense to the white player and his behavior defending it was interpreted to be illogical and wildly aggressive, aka crazy.

But, I never hear people talking about women pulling the “sex card,” or religious minorities pulling the “faith card.”  I explained to my parents why I do not think we should use this term, and I think they’re still chewing on the arguments I made to them.  That is all I can ask for at this point.

And then I get in my inbox today an email from the leader of a “support group” for Bay Area converts.  She wanted us to read and share our thoughts on the latest post of a blogger I’ve come to respect and admire, cross posted onto a popular Jewish site.  Email obscures tone and intent more so than face-to-face conversation, but I was pretty sure I read between the lines (like any good instructor, this leader sometimes employs the Socratic method of instruction) and understood her frustration with the piece.  The way the piece is presented on the site can lead to multiple interpretations of the title, one reinforcing stereotypes JOCs (Jews of Color) routinely encounter.  I wish this Jewish site would be more socially responsible and not provide additional opportunities for white people to read malintent into the words and actions of POC.

And I wish I could live one day without so much race fail.    I hope making that statement doesn’t put me in the same category as the people who say they wish they could get cancer so they could lose weight.

Manic Monday

I haven’t been posting on this site like I used to. It’s not that Judaism has become any less important to me, or that I am bored or over it. Nothing could be further from the truth–I find myself needing it now more than ever.

I have a lot going on in my life right now. My sister is getting married and we’re planning her bridal shower. While a joyous occassion, planning for it sucks a lot of the anticipated joy out of it.

I broke the heart of a good man, and already find mine becoming ensarled with another’s. He’s smart and has a dry, wry sense of humor. He’s questions me and pushs back when I make quick judgments. He’s a great listener, complements my own nerdiness. And he doesn’t have a problem with my conversion.

My home was broken into in January.  Our stolen gun was recovered in the home of a gang member in March. And now my car is being targeted for vandalism, in what we can only assume is an effort to intimidate us. I’m struggling to seek justice and not vengeance, to maintain mercy instead of rage, to remain logical instead of accusatory and suspicious. We feel really trapped, walking the line between mustering the courage to stand up to this terrorism in our own home and avoiding further provocation. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.

I am also struggling to find a Hebrew name to adopt–I knew it was hard to name a pet or to name a baby, but naming yourself is really hard, too.  You’re an adult so you like the way some names sound, but you hate the meaning.  Or you love the sound and the meaning, but aren’t sure if it fits you.  And as much as you like the meaning of the name for you now, your connection to its letters and sounds and meanings may not fit you for the rest of your life.  Added to all this, I do not know the connotations certain names carry in Israel.  Like, forgive me if this is your name, but most Nancy’s seem to be the mean girls on the playgrounds.  Who wants to name themselves that?!  I thought this would be the easiest part o f conversion because I love names and etymologty, and it’s turning into one of the most difficult!