- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Trivializing a sensitive word?
After spending an hour talking about Judaism to the high school humanities class a few weeks ago, I took some questions, and one student raised an important issue; one I could tell was difficult for her to pose in public. Why did I think, she asked, that Jews have been labeled as obsessed with money?
I looked at her with my best poker-face, and asked “Will you give me a twenty for an answer?” When she meekly said no, I pretended to then disregard her and go to the next raised hand. Everyone laughed at the obvious self-mockery, and I felt that the joke had diffused the tension around us, so I could go on to speak to the subject of anti-semitism and ethnic discrimination in general.
I don’t think that anyone would be surprised or puzzled that the joke only worked because it was I who said it; if someone else had yelled out, “Do you have a twenty to give to Mr. Izraelevitz, or else he won’t answer you?” it would have been deeply offensive to me and to everyone else in the room.
The reason I share this anecdote is because the recent editorial in this newspaper presents a disingenuous display of ignorance that the context in which words are used, sometimes the exact same words, can result in humor or in deep insult.
If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.
Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.
If you are new to the award winning Los Alamos Monitor and wish to get a subscription or simply gain access to our online content then please enter your ZIP code below and continue to setup your account.