Since many of us are going to synagogue more in the next couple of weeks than we do all year…I figured I’d dispense a little advice.
Dear White Jews,
We don’t all look alike. Yes, I know you remember seeing that one black woman at shul three months ago. Or that Latino guy in the black hat…or the Asian lady and her kids at the local kosher grocery story. But I am not that person. I know, I know you don’t expect there to be more than one of us. That’s why we’re trying to spread the word…there are more of us than you think.
Now, I know your comment isn’t ill-intentioned, maybe you truly thought I was someone else because we actually physically favor each other. I do often and understandably get mistaken for my sister. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt….that is until I realize who they think I am. I’ve been called names of people 10 years younger, 20 years older, 30 lbs lighter and 100 lbs heavier. Fine, “black don’t crack” as they sometimes say, it’s hard to distinguish ages and sometimes someone looks much younger than they are…and maybe you aren’t a good judge of weight. But seriously…if I rock a sheital and tichels they are rocking an afro and clearly uncovered hair…or he wears a striemel to my kipa sruga or they’re barely tan to my chocolate complexion….I’m rolling my eyes.
I get it, I do. Let me be honest, I have a hard time telling blondes apart. I guess I’ve never been surrounded by enough that it’s become easy for me to distinguish them. However, I don’t walk up to every blonde girl and assume they’re that blonde girl I met that one time when I went to shul in Boro Park.
I’m not saying don’t be friendly. I’m not even saying to not approach someone you may have met before, I’m just saying it might be better to try something innocuous like “Have we met, I think you look familiar?”
Oh …and while we’re at it, no we don’t all know each other. But that’s for another day….
Love, Jews of Color