Monday, September 26, 2005

Dismal Discrimination

I went to a local kosher ice cream shop where they have many Hispanics working behind the counter. There were a few customers around, and a frum guy walks in and yells, "Hey, Amigo-sleepin' today?" He took it well and responded, "A little bit," and the frum guy proceeds with his racist remarks, "Get me an iced coffee, mucho grande! The most grande ya got!" Now, you can look at this two ways, you be impressed that the guy is being friendly and everything like that. He's not mumbling, "large iced coffee." Or you can see his outright racism and disrespect. Don't get me wrong. I'm not all obssessed with the whole racism thing , but the fact that he was shouting grammatical errors showed me that he wasn't a Spanish speaker trying to communicate. I doubt he said thank you. I simply don't understand why people think they are being cool, or funny, calling this guy "Amigo," or worse, "Pedro," (when it's not his name) how would they feel if I shouted, "Hey Jew! Hey Hebe! Abraham! Moses!" Why is it fair for them to discriminate?

Then I walk out. Directly across from the door, SMACK in the middle of the bus stop, is an Infiniti SUV with the windows wide open. What kind of selfishness is that? If you need to block a bus stop, which once in a while IS necessary, or you're screwed and you have no coffee for the day, at least move up to the front of the bus stop so the bus can pull over!
Do you own the streets, buddy?? Walk an extra 5 steps-it won't kill you.

Anyway, that's not even the point, I know you're all gonna say, "Would you think the same way if he drove a broken-down Chevy?" Probably, because when I walked out and saw the Inifniti, it all cam together somehow.

Other people seem to think this is okay. They refer to their cleaning help as "Goytes," which I find to be very demeaning. Call her your "Cleaning Lady," or even "housekeeper" which seems kind of archaic nowadays, like in a Shakespeare play or something. I don't know...I think some people fail to remember that they are human beings as we are, and trying to overwork them or to take away their remaining pride is a terrible thing to do. Am I saying they hold the highest position in the employment chain? Obviously not, but they deserve respect as a human. As far as I have seen, this is not a very common practice--I hope.

As it is before Rosh Hashana, I also have to relate the positive. I know some people who always give their cleaning ladies lunch every day, and treat them like people. I doubt they refer to them as "goytes." It's a very hard line not to cross, because if you treat them too well, they'll feel like they don't have to work, but if you treat them like crap, you are making their job harder and less pleasant, and making a Chillul Hashem.


At 9/26/2005 10:57 PM, Blogger Lost said...

I know which store you're referring to.. and IT IS a huge chillul hashem. Some Jews are just plain embarrassing. Even more unfortunate, we don't exactly get away unscathed.. we have plenty of cheap, close minded,nasty Jew jokes to remind us that wat goes around.. And those ladies in the caf deserve our utmost respect.. they have to deal with all the boys trying to flirt with them.. Michelle! DUDE! LUNCH! where have you gone my blogbuddy?

At 9/27/2005 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta disagree with you on this one, Michelle. I don't think it's the biggest deal if the guy used some Spanish. I don't mind if some stranger comes over to me and says Shalom. As long as it's not impolitely, I think it's just an attempt at being friendly.

At 9/27/2005 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Michelle. On one hand, the yeshivos try to teach that we are the chosen people, and thus, are superior to the rest of the nations. That said, it doesn't give us a right to be arrogant. A non-Jew is still a tzelem Elokim, and thus, deserving of basic human dignity.

I am reminded of the story in Reb Yaakov, when the day after he died, an African American nurse who lived nearby was crying. When asked why, she said that the rabbi had always greeted her with a good morning whenever passing by. What a kiddush Hashem! Obviously, Reb Yaakov didn't have the attitude, "She's a goyte, I can treat her like crap."

You can be friendly to a Spanish worker without acting like an idiot.

At 9/27/2005 1:23 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Goyiter, cleaning lady, cleaning human being, wotever you want to call it.. I am it in my family.. and nobody even makes me lunch..

Hasta la vista amigos y amigas..

At 9/27/2005 2:52 PM, Blogger Elster said...

Question: You seem to find ALOT wrong with the Jewish community of which you are a part. Any POSITIVES to take into Rosh Hashana?

At 9/27/2005 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree with lost about "what goes around comes around." I find it amazing how some Jews are so quick to say racist comments about blacks, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups. But when someone says a comment that might be anti-semitic, these people cry bloody murder.

A little consistency is in order here.

At 9/27/2005 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree with lost about "what goes around comes around." I find it amazing how some Jews are so quick to say racist comments about blacks, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups. But when someone says a comment that might be anti-semitic, these people cry bloody murder.

A little consistency is in order here.

At 9/27/2005 4:43 PM, Blogger ClooJew said...

I don't think it's so much racism as snobism.

Either way, lulei demsitafina, it's a chillul Hashem.

At 9/28/2005 1:53 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

Well written!
Chillul H'ashem is one of the biggest problems if you ask me!
I remember a time when bus drivers just knew the Jews paid without need to check, nowadays after the arabs the Jews are the first ones that need to be checked and it's not because of antismitism.

At 9/28/2005 7:19 AM, Blogger fsgsf said...

Great blog!!!


NJ from NJ

At 9/29/2005 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle-looking forward to the post extoling the virtues of our nation. I want to see some mi kiamcha yisroel! Let's talk about all the chessed etc. Thanks!

At 10/01/2005 9:21 PM, Blogger Josh said...

Having a "goyte" - It sounds like being a non-Jewish woman is a job, you know, like,"Oh, what do you do?" "Me, I'm a cleaning lady, what do you do?" Oh, me, I'm a Goyte." As if being born non-Jewish is obviously a profession, working for the Chosen People. It doesn't sound like such a stretch to go from there to mistreating them.

But don't forget that there are plenty of people to whom their household workers are part of the family. I know one family that has had the same family work for them for two generations. They pay for housing, food, and schooling for the worker's family, and of course invite them to all family occasions.

At 10/16/2005 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

reb dovid

Michelle- you are right on target. I find it very disturbing to hear racist remarks from bnei torah. I think it may stem from a general disregard for the non-Jewish world at large. Yeshivos so often stress the importance and specialness of Klal Yisroel, that it is easy to relegate the 4+ billion Gentiles on this planet to second-class status. It reminds me of the joke about the young man who leaves the small town and goes to live in Berlin. When he returns home several years later, his father asks him all about the big city: "How many Jews are there in Berlin?" The son answers, "Two hundred thousand." "So many," responds the father, "And how many Gentiles?" "Three million," answers the son, to which the incredulous father responds "Three million! What do they need so many goyim for?"

Obviously, the Creator of the world saw fit to populate it with 'so many' non-Jews for a reason. It is their world as much as our world, they also have a relationship with the Creator of that world, and they too possess a tzelem elokim.

Anonymous- Since you requested a mi k'amcha yisroel post--
One evening my wife and I were standing next to our car (a large van) in the parking lot of a large mall, when a young man wearing a yarmulka came over to us, and asked us if we lived in T-- (a nearby town with a sizable frum population). When we told him that we did, he asked us if we could do him a favor. He had bought a large appliance for his father, but couldn't fit it into his small car. Would we mind bringing it to his father's house? We agreed, and a few minutes later the expensive appliance was loaded in our van, and off we went, with his father's address in hand. We didn't know this young man, and he didn't know us. But he was quite willing to trust us with this valuable package, simply because we were (frum) Jews. When we delivered the appliance, the father was flabergasted- no so much that his son would entrust it to strangers, but that his son would have 'imposed' on strangers.

That incident made my day. For weeks afterward, I kept thinking "Mi K'Amcha Yisrael"!

At 1/09/2006 9:34 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

That guy sounds so rude! I worked with someone this summer who was always talking about her mother's "goyte." I thought that was incredibly rude. She's a person too! When we had a cleaning lady(before she quit on us & we discovered that we could do the job ourselves) she was almost part of the family. She was jewish & my parents always invited her for the Purim seuda & other things. She loved my younger siblings almost as much as we did. I always get mad when I hear the goyte thing. One of my friends refered to her cleaning lady/housekeeper as the "cleaning girl." I thought that was a bit weird, especially when I found out that she was an older, married woman.

At 4/25/2006 8:26 AM, Blogger JBL the first said...

To "Elster" why be indirect isn't she right about this thing and many more. About the ALOT you said she finds wrong in the etc. Take in mind there are a couple of billion more things she is positive about cuz she didn't comment about them. News doesn't tell you about the 94% employment, but about the 6% unemployment. That's just the way it is....


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