Don’t call me a JAP

I was raised Jewish and went to a private school with other Jewish kids for a good part of my childhood. When I moved to a new area and started going to public school the idea of prejudice became much more real to me. I wasn’t bullied because I was Jewish or anything but little comments here and there brought an understanding to me I suppose I had to learn eventually.

In class once we had to go around the room and think of different things that reminded us of the dessert. I had to think of something besides what everyone else had already said so I said “Passover.” I remember getting horrible looks all day and being called a few names. I was also called a JAP (Jewish American Princess) at least once.

It wasn’t until I stayed up one night to watch what I think was an HBO documentary of some kind about hate gangs that it really hit me. I remember sitting on the floor right in front of the television in awe of something I was still so naïve about. I remember distinctly when they showed the skinheads and how they said they hated the blacks and the Jews. Then they interviewed a black hate group who said they hated the whites and the Jews. I started crying because I couldn’t understand why everyone hated me 🙁

I’ve now drifted from all religion but Judaism will always be a part of me. I mean there is a reason I got my Hebrew name Chayah tattooed on me, inside I will always be Jewish. I really cherish a lot of the memories of learning Hebrew, studying for my Bat Mitzvah, learning about the Holocaust and just getting to be a part of it all. I’m very proud of being Jewish and I think it is a big part of the person I am today.

4 Comments

  1. sharlet

    April 7, 2006 at 8:19 am

    It sucks. I blame propaganda. Only education and good parenting can change things, but what happens if the parents and teachers are racist too?

  2. Robin

    April 7, 2006 at 8:20 am

    Sadly that is why it will continue on 🙁

  3. heather(anne)

    April 7, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    I had to deal with a lot of that crap (and I still am). Not because of my race or religion, but because in high school I fell in love with a half black guy and I had his baby. I lost a lot of “friends” and most of my family turned their back on me. I’m still amazed at how common hate really is. Most of my co-workers tell me their husbands are very racist. They just shrug it off like it’s no big deal.

    I’m doing my best to teach my mixed race child not to judge others based on race, religion or sexual preference.

  4. Robin

    April 7, 2006 at 12:27 pm

    Heather – Wow, I can’t imagine…it must have been hard on you. I don’t deal well with ignorant/racist/prejudiced people.

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