It is time for me to get off my chest that which I find to be the most annoying and frustrating thing I have to face on a regular basis. That is people’s misunderstanding of the differences between race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion. Specifically, I’d like to start out by making a personal crusade against people who insist on calling me “Half-Jewish.”
People seem to think that since I am of the Jewish persuasion, and I have an Italian surname, that I am “half-Jewish.” Let’s get something straight; Judaism is a religion. You either believe it or you don’t. In point of fact, the Christian bible is made up of the old testament (the entire Judaic bible) and the new testament. Thus, a CHRISTIAN is half Jewish! Based on my interpreted “half-Judaism,” what would that make me? 3/4 Jewish? I don’t think that someone else should be using mathematics to gauge MY religious convictions. In fact, when someone says, “You’re half Italian, and half-Jewish” I want to kick them in the face. You’re taking two things that have nothing to do with each other and making them mutually exclusive. It’s like me telling someone, “You’re half-white, and half-human.” Ridiculous! I have Italian ancestry through my father, but I am not “half-italian” because I am not half of an italian citizen (or even a whole one.) That doesn’t even cover the fact that there were, are, and always will be JEWS LIVING IN ITALY! People born and raised there that can trace their lineage through GENERATIONS of Jews BORN AND RAISED IN ITALY!! What kind of last name do you expect someone from Italy to have? GOLDSTEIN? Did you not see “Life is beautiful?” What was the main character’s nationality? Italian! What was his religion? Judaism! The only commonality that religion and nationality share is that they both fall under the category of ethnicity. But think of it this way – there are millions of Jews in Russia. But you don’t think of them as being half-Russian and half-Jewish! WHY THE HELL NOT??!! Judaism is MY religion, and shame on you for telling me otherwise!
The problem is that there is not a significant population of Jews in Italy – only about 30,000 of the 50,000,000 people who live there, or roughly one-twentieth of a percent, are Jewish. As such, most of the Italian immigrants followed the major religion of Italy – Christianity. Most of the Italians that people meet are therefore Christian, and because of that, people assume that ALL Italians are Christian, or that you cannot be Jewish AND Italian. This demonstrates what I’ve always said, that the average American is an ignorant idiot who cannot see beyond his or her own experiences. They think that a Jewish person must have a “Jewish name.” In truth, there really is no such thing as a Jewish name. But let’s assume that there is such thing as a “Jewish Name.” A “Jewish” entity is someone or something that can go to synagogue, pray to G_d, participate in cultural events, and uphold the basic tenets of the religion. CAN A NAME DO THIS? I mean, the last time I went to synagogue, I saw lots of people. No names. I mean I saw names there, but they were kind of sitting there dormant on plaques, bulletin boards, and in the prayer books. They didn’t parttake in anything. They looked kind of lifeless. No praying. No singing. Didn’t even say Shalom to me. Furthermore, the ONLY thing that can be Jewish is A PERSON. Gentiles, get this straight: Nobody speaks Jewish! “I have Gentile friends who say “I can’t speak Jewish.” Really? Neither can I! Neither can anyone in Israel!! Some Jewish (and non-Jewish!) people can speak Hebrew. Some can speak Yiddish. Others speak the native language of their country… like Russian or Polish or Italian…. Or ENGLISH!! Does anyone speak Christian? No, so why would anyone speak Jewish?
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take some common names attributed to Jews and let me tell you why they aren’t “Jewish names” (other than the aforementioned reason) Goldberg – Not a “Jewish” name. Goldberg is a name that originated in Germany. “berg” means “mountain” in German. Many Germans who immigrated to the US named Goldberg were Jews. THAT DOESN’T MAKE GOLDBERG A JEWISH NAME! Ditto Stein, Schwartz, Silver, Hilgenbaum, and Weinstein. In fact, ANY name can be attributed to another country. Gene Simmons of Kiss was born Chaim Whitz in Haifa, Israel. Chaim is a hebrew name. Whitz? That could be of German or Austrian origin. Remember, Modern-day Israel (not the biblical land of Israel or the “people Israel”) has only existed these 54 years. Where were Jews before they were in Israel? In Spain, Germany, Africa (yes, Africa), Poland, Russia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Italy…. With the small exception of some severely anti-semetic nations in the middle east, you name the country, I guarantee you can find some Jews there. And they’re STILL THERE! So while there really isn’t such a thing as a Jewish name, there are certainly Hebrew names. But remember, Hebrew, besides being a word that is synonymous with “Jew,” is a language, not a country. People speak Hebrew. They don’t live in Hebrew. One final note on this – Jewish is not a nationality. It is a religion. Some people don’t understand this because both religion and nationality are ethnic categories. It is true that Judaism is a culture, but every religion has its own culture. That doesn’t make it a nationality. There is no country called Jew. There is a country called Israel, but as I said before, it is only 54 years old. Judaism is the world’s oldest religion. You do the math!
Let me get something else off my chest. If someone makes degrading comments about someone of Polish ancestry, that does not make this person a racist. THAT IS BECAUSE POLISH IS NOT A RACE! There are only three races of people on this planet: Caucasoids, Negroids, and Mongoloids. Racism means that you believe your race to be superior to other races, or when you put down a person of another race, you believe theirs to be inferior. Hence, if a White person from Macedonia makes a degrading statement about a White person from Poland, it’s not racism. How could someone believe someone else’s race to be inferior to their own when both people are of the same race? They’re from different nations. That means they have different nationalities. Nationality is a type of ethnicity. The degrading statements would therefore be ETHNIST statements, not racist ones. The only racist remarks that a White person could make are against Blacks and what we’ve come to call “Asians” (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) because those are the only people in the world that are not of the same race as Whites. There’s a movement to classify Hispanic as a race. I’d actually support this movement because I think having a fourth race would be cool. But until that happens (and good luck with that) 97% of all Hispanics are Caucasoids. And speaking of “Asians,” here’s another name for people that is not quite specific enough. It’s true that China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, etc. are all on the continent of Asia, so these people classify themselves as “Asians” by race. But Russia is in Asia, too. So is Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and much of the middle east. Most of the people living it Russia are white, but they’re also Asian by geographical classification. Asian is therefore not the proper name for a race. It’s a nifty continent to be from… but not a race.
Speaking of races, the popular term for a black person is no longer Black. It’s African American. Why did we change it? For some reason, we perceived that the word Black was being used Pejoratively. Newsflash – there is nothing denigrating or derogatory about being called Black. It’s what they prefer to be called. Let me say that again. Black people prefer to be called Black. Apparently, as society has been moving forward, people have been becoming more enlightened, and it has become increasingly uncool to be racist. Despite that fact, Blacks have been mistreated thorughout the history of this nation, and as a result, they have a systemic disadvantage when it comes to education, careers, etc. Enter the PC movement. The leaders of the PC movement decided that the best way to neutralize this disadvantage would be to stop calling Black people Black and start calling them African American!? That doesn’t help! That only makes things more confusing! What was the rationale behind this? Institutionalized Racism is still as much a factor today as it was when the whole PC thing started. So, in changing the name, What we’ve done is we’ve taken a perfectly legitimate and specific name for a race, and we’ve replaced that name with one that is confusing, vague, and completely incorrect – all in order to spare a race of people some perceived “hurt feelings” due to calling them something that they PREFERRED TO BE CALLED IN THE FIRST PLACE! It is completely incorrect to call a Black Person “African-American!” The biggest problem with this term is that we’re using ethnic categories to describe a race. When you do that, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes and cause confusion. For instance, Charlize Theron, a white woman, is from South Africa. If she were to apply for, and be granted, US citizenship, she would technically be African American. Anyone from Africa who becomes a US citizen is African American, but that doesn’t tell you if they’re Black or White. It just tells you where they were either naturalized or given citizenship. Conversely, a person could be Black with no citizenship in a country in either location. Rob and Fab from Milli Vanilli were Black, born in Germany, and never had US citizenship. They were Black Germans, not African Americans. Yet, due to the whole PC movement, you would be inclined to refer to Rob & Fab as African Americans, even though they were citizens of Germany, not the US. None of this even takes into account that Africa and America are not countries. They’re continents. And rather large ones.
If you still don’t get it, imagine if South Africa had its own PC movement, and in doing so, they classified all White citizens as “European Africans” because the term White was starting to be perceived as being derogatory. If you’re a white citizen of the US visiting the country, and they called you a “European African,” wouldn’t you say, “you’re a fucking twit?!”
That brings me to my next issue – People in this country referring to themselves as “Americans.” I’m proud to be an American! I live in America. Sure you do. But could you be any more vague? I’d like everyone to know that I am proud to be an inhabitant of the Milky-Way Galaxy. Because you know, our galaxy kicks ass. Look at all these goddam planets!! Now you may ask, “What the hell are you talking about?” I’m talking about the fact that this country is not called “America.” It’s The United States of America! You may think that to be a mere technicality and awfully nit picky, and it would be if America was a country. It’s not! It’s a continent!! In fact, America is TWO continents! There’s North America, and South America, which makes up the ENTIRE HABITABLE WESTERN HEMISPHERE! Argentina and Brazil are on the Continent of South America. That makes Argentine people and Brasileiros Americans too! And although they don’t want to admit it, Canadians are ALSO Americans! Canada can be found on the continent of North America, that makes Canadians Americans, end of story, shut your pie-hole. Just because we have the word “America” in our country’s name does not mean that *we* should get to be the ones who use the demonym “American.” What’s so special about us that we get to pretend that the moniker should apply uniquely to us? Everyone in this hemisphere is American, unless you’re a penguin living in Antarctica. It seems awfully presumptious to me that *WE* should be called “America” with all the different countries that live in a continent called America. Don’t argue with me, get yourself a globe and sit and spin on it!
And with that little America tirade, I will close this by explaining your nationality to you. If you were born here, you are a citizen of the United states. Your nationality is United States of American. (That’s awkward to say. We should call ourselves “Americkish.”) A lot of people seem to identify not with their true nationality, but their ANCESTRY – but they refer to themselves by their ancestry as if it is their actual nationality, which it is NOT. In other words, my great grandfather on my Mother’s side was born in Austria. That does not make me any part Austrian, because I MYSELF was not born there, nor did I move there and go through the process of becoming a national of Austria. It means that part of my HERITAGE (1/8, exactly) comes from Austria. So, if your great granddaddy came over from Italy in 1890, settled in Brooklyn, where you, your father, and grandfather were born, you are NOT Italian! You have Italian ancestry. You have Italian heritage. You have Italian national background. But YOU ARE NOT ITALIAN. I see these douches with the necklaces & shirts that say “100% Italian.” I wanna say, “How about 0% Italian, and 100% schmuck?!” Your nationality is defined as any country in which you were either born into citizenship, or have obtained citizenship. You are therefore NOT Italian-American, either, unless YOU were born in Italy, and then emigrated to the United States. You need citizenship in both countries to apply that title to yourself properly. Got that? If you were born here, then you move to and obtain citizenship in Italy, THEN you’re Italian! So instead of trying to identify with things that you’re not, realize what you are, and be proud of that. Me? I’m a Jewish national of the United States with Italian and Eastern-European ancestry, and anyone who tries to tell me differently can suck my Kosher Italian sausage.