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Thoughts On Righteous Anger, Elitism, and Anti-Semitism

By Veronica Maria Brown-Comegys
As an African American woman I had only one target on my back, so I became a Jew. By the time the affiliation ended, I was impaled by another bull’s eye from the all-white tribe. The kill-shot was delivered in a manner unique to that group. I was a sitting duck ; my scant knowledge of their prominent participation in the Civil Rights Movement led me to think Jews were “a different type” of Caucasian. I was carried away by the customary warm welcome of “Shabbat Shalom,” “You must be new,” “Good to see you,” “Good to see you again.” When I hadn’t showed up for services in several weeks an administrator sent an email inquiring “are you okay ?” I guessed she was concerned since I was the synagogue’s “only one.” Now, I think she actually wanted to know, “Haven’t we gotten rid of you yet ?” Ultimately, the low remarks of my “betters,” left me so furious that I fantasized about rabid intruders at the shul. I imagined my “friendly enemies” overtaken by a “chickens coming home to roost” moment, and I saw myself cackling about the mayhem. After all, being told you are “inferior” will obliterate good will. Two months after I fled the congregation, my fury found scapegoats. One day, I caught myself scrutinizing the surnames of physicians in advertisements. I thought, is this one of those names that got changed at Ellis Island ? One year earlier, I would have focused on the professional’s location. Not long afterwards, I decided my superb, white, Jewish medical specialist had to go. However, the mood passed. Now, don’t brand me a hater, a racist, or even an Anti-Semite. Can’t I grieve over the assaults of white-privileged, over-educated, pretentious, Eurocentric twits ? Jewish publications are in a frenzy about alleged Anti-Semitism occurring every second of every day, all over the planet. But, lately my outrage is tempered by remembrance of, what I term, anti-Semitism-of convenience. Before my conversion, the accusation was lobbed at me after I rejected the advances of a white Jewish would-be lover. So, can’t I still desire to keep Caucasian Jews at bay ? Some of the “eternally persecuted” are bullies. 
The message that I was a “low-rent district” person among the crème de la crème was delivered repeatedly, and it seemed like several knockout punches. When I introduced myself to the new rabbi, she said, “So, are you a housewife ?” I thought, what happened to the courtesy of allowing a person to define herself ? One day she joined two other women and me at a table. She announced, “My father is a doctor.” We waited. However, without saying another word, she departed. In addition, when I told a new acquaintance I did not complete anthropology master’s degree studies, she gave me a pitying look, and said, “Yes, that is a difficult program.” Actually, my GPA was 3.5, when I terminated my education due to financial lack. Choir practice was also humbling. Like a broken record, the director rapid-fire screeched, “I was an understudy on Broadway.” On another occasion she said, “I’d feel inferior in this crowd, if I didn’t have as much education as everyone else.” One evening, I met a retired linguistics professor. When I said I wanted to find a Brazilian in order to improve my Portuguese conversation skills, he offered his elementary grammar books. I have spoken Portuguese since 1980, when I lived in Rio. That news made the academic grunt several times. A former member, who is the son of Holocaust survivors, and a professor, said, “They are not a welcoming bunch.” His synagogue is one-hundred miles away. One of my immigrant friends drives seventy miles to services. In my present mood, I think that the next time I worship, it will be in my Nigerian friend’s all-black synagogue in Paris, France. Initially, I thought the linguistics expert was “all right” because for years at every service, he requested prayer for the healing of M.M. James, a blind, black academic ; and he claimed to be a friend of Stevie Wonder. However, after I abandoned the synagogue, I wondered if James had ever been sick, or maybe he’d died, and the continued shout out was for my benefit. I testify that white Jews are “smooth.” In addition, I thought, is Professor Linguistics only close to blind African American men ? One impressive man in the tribe was Max, who was the only bona fide genius in the congregation. He is one year younger than G.d, and fought in the Six Day War in June 1967. When some men were discussing the latest challenge to Israel. Max squared his shoulders, and harrumphed, “Well, it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.” Other articles are at TUDO JOIA – Everything’s Great www.facebook.com/VeroniWrites

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