Friday, April 20, 2007
And you know we have horns....
Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is now running for president of these United States, addressed the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) this Monday.

"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money," Thompson told RAC. "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that. I enjoy that."

After finishing his speech, one of his handlers may have been just the slightest bit mortified by his comments. Somebody made him go back on stage to apologize. This is what he came up with:

"I just want to clarify something because I didn't (by) any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things. What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that
and if anybody took what I said wrong, I apologize. I may have mischaracterized it. You are very successful. I applaud you for that."

Oh my god. Seriously. This is a presidential candidate people. This is not Der Sturmer propaganda or even Don Imus.

It's so odd. Being raised Jewish and living in Los Angeles, it really wasn't until college that I realized there were places in this country that you could grow up having never met a Jew. Today, even, some people, when talking about Christmas or Easter, will stop in their tracks and remind themselves, whispering, "Oh right, you're Jewish." Like saying she has cancer.

We're not all good with money, just like not all Asians are good at math and not all black people can dance.

We don't all have hooked noses, we don't all have curly hair, we're not all Caucasian, we don't all have overbearing mothers, Jewish women are not all materialistic whiners. I can't believe I need to point this out. But there it is.


Stumble It!


Blogger Uccellina said...

This exchange is copied from my friend Kristen's blog:

Yesterday evening, I tutored one student who is reading Night for her 9th grade English class. She is only 1/2 Korean but her English is not great (her father is an American in the military and speaks Korean; she grew up mostly on random South Pacific islands speaking a sort of Korean-English hybrid, and moved to the States four years ago).

[. . . snip . . .] when I asked her if she had any basic questions about the book she looked down and blushed.

"Why Jews?" she said.

"Oh," I said, "I suppose there's no real answer to that question. Historically, the Jewish in Europe have had a pretty rough time of it, always being blamed for things they had no control over. They were just one of the favorite minority scapegoats and Hitler took advantage of that."

She nodded and then spoke more quietly. "But, um. How are they different from Germans?"

"Oh, well, in some cases they were Germans."

Then, more quietly still. "Okay. Um, I don't know what Jewish people are. And everyone else in my class seems to know."

[. . . snip . . .]

She goes to church so she knows the Bible and the idea of a Messiah and all of that and she knew of the Israelites from the Bible and about Moses and David. She just didn't really know the word "Jewish" or that Jews still existed. She seemed to understand at least the basics. Problem was the inevitable, "But I still don't get why Hitler was so mad at the Jews" question came up. I don't know either, sweetie.

Blogger Fluffycat said...

Oh I am not surprised that idiot said that, but it is totally ridiculous.

I'm with you on the living in LA and not understanding how people could not know Jews. Sadly, in San Jose where I live now, there are almost no Jews. I've had a lot of those weird experiences with those people who say, "Oh you are Jewish! We know someone Jewish." Um, yes, we are all part of the secret club.

Blogger goodmamajama said...

I hope this doesn't come off as prejudice, but I will say it regardless:

Dumb Asses can be total dumb asses.

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