Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Real Reason People Are Anti-Semitic?

People think it's okay to badmouth one's own ethnic tradition, but is it, conversely, acceptable to extravagantly laud an ethnic tradition of which one is not a part?

I have always thought that the real reason people are anti-Semitic is plain jealousy because the Jews are just better than other people. As a person without a single drop of Jewish blood, is it socially acceptable for me to say that?

Seriously, I was wondering yesterday whether the reason it seems to me so much more all-around awesome to be Jewish than to have any other American ethnicity is perhaps that the Jewish people (well, at least those who have retained their religious traditions) have such a clear, rich, and healthy ethnic identity.

I mean, non-Jewish white people don't seem to have anything like that--many don't even think of themselves as having "an ethnicity." To others, being white means being demonized as "the oppressor."

I'm not sure how to write this next paragraph, because I think no matter how I do it, it will be offensive to some people. So please keep in mind, this is just a tentative suggestion, not a deeply held belief of mine. But it seems like the ethnicities that I've had even limited exposure to, here in the U.S., are not altogether healthy in their self-definitions. That is, I think there are aspects of what it means to be Chinese American, or what it means to be Hispanic American, or Caucasian American, or African American that are self-destructive for both the subcultures themselves and for society in general ...

And I suppose you could say the same thing about Jewish Americans (certain expressions of Zionism come to mind ...), but Jewish Americans have a history and traditions which have been refined and shaped over many hundreds of years. The history, traditions, customs, attitudes, and beliefs which hold them (or at least, some of them) together, as a "race," are not so arbitrary as ethnic identities that came to exist only recently, here in America.

But I suppose I am biased here, because, as a Christian I do think that the Jewish religion is based on God's more-or-less direct revelation, and God's active shaping of the Jewish people--one would expect a "holy" people to be in some way superior to others ...

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