a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Jewish Nose

Posted on: May 16, 2016

Today as I was exiting my commuter bus in Tacoma I noticed a woman who read Jewish to me. She was a white woman with her hair covered. She wore a skirt that reached her mid-calf and opaque tights and flats. The neckline of her shirt covered her collar and the sleeves reached her wrists. It was her clothing, rather than her skin color, that pegged her as Jewish to me.

So I approached her.

“This may be weird and invasive, but are you, by chance, Jewish?”
Her: “No, but I guess I have a nose like a Jew.”
Me: “Umm, I was just thinking of your covered hair and longer skirt, but. Okay, have a good day!”

I walked away quickly pretending to text someone and as I got to the parking garage I realized that was clutching my Magen David. I realized that I never encountered such micro-antiSemitism.

Racism? Sure.

Homophobia? My 28th birthday.

Sexism? Life?

But, I realized that I hadn’t had anti Semitism directed (indirectly) at me before. I presume the woman didn’t think I was Jewish, because if she thought I was she wouldn’t have responded as such, right? I’m used to being an invisible Jew in Jewish spaces, but to my memory this is the first time that a person felt comfortable saying something bigoted to me about Jewish people because they presumed I wasn’t “one of them.”

It feels uneasy and a bit unsafe.

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