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Old 08-19-2005, 11:22 AM   #31
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Originally posted by XHendrix24


Well, the question "how did they know they were Jewish?" is pretty irrelevant in the first place, because the couple was, indeed, Jewish.

Also, I don't think I'm being stereotypical by inferring that a large amount of the people with Jewish ethnicity have large noses and the like. I'm not saying that all Jewish people have big noses, I'm just inferring that it's a coomon trait. A large amount of Irish people have red hair, so I often connect red hair with being of Irish descent. Does that mean that I'm somehow perpetuating steroetypes by doing so?
Like I said, the waitress assumed- the fact that they really are Jewish is irrelevant to the discussion of what is and what isn't appropriate. Perhaps I'm just very sensitive about people saying "big noses'' regarding Jewish people, just personally I find it unnecessary and that we should move away from talking about people that way. You'd have to ask Jewish people here and elsewhere if they're offended by that. It's just my personal sensibility, I don't mean to personally attack you for it.

I am certainly not assuming anything about you, I want to make that clear.
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Old 08-19-2005, 11:22 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

If she knew their name prior to seating them, then why not put 'the Steins' on the ticket?
Ah, my mistake. In hindsight, I heavily doubt that she would have known the names of the couple before seating them. So she must have just been going on how they looked.

And I still don't see how appearing Jewish would be particularly offensive to anyone. Especially since the people were Jewish and you're arguing hypotheticals that I don't think are particularly relevant to the subject at hand in the first place.
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Old 08-19-2005, 11:23 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by XHendrix24


Well, the question "how did they know they were Jewish?" is pretty irrelevant in the first place, because the couple was, indeed, Jewish.

Also, I don't think I'm being stereotypical by inferring that a large amount of the people with Jewish ethnicity have large noses and the like. I'm not saying that all Jewish people have big noses, I'm just inferring that it's a coomon trait. A large amount of Irish people have red hair, so I often connect red hair with being of Irish descent. Does that mean that I'm somehow perpetuating steroetypes by doing so?
My God you're missing the point by a mile.

Red hair is just a hair color, and yes red hair is usually connected to Irish descent. Hair color, skin color etc can be used to connect people with certain ethnicities.

But to use the term 'big nose' to connect someone with an ethnicity is just wrong. The term 'big nose' is implying that somehow their nose is bigger than "normal". So you're calling them out as having abnormalities and using those to connect them with their ethnicity.
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Old 08-19-2005, 11:25 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


But to use the term 'big nose' to connect someone with an ethnicity is just wrong. The term 'big nose' is implying that somehow their nose is bigger than "normal". So you're calling them out as having abnormalities and using those to connect them with their ethnicity.
I have to agree w/ that, as usual you explained it much better than I can.

How is it different from saying African Americans have certain physical characteristics, that is usually considered rather racist, is it not?
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Old 08-19-2005, 11:29 AM   #35
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Every time I visit FYM, I seem to lose a few IQ points.
I don't know about IQ points, but I'm sure a few of my brain cells quit in protest at some of the threads here. (This comment is not directed specifically at this thread, just a general observation.)
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Old 08-19-2005, 11:55 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


My God you're missing the point by a mile.
Thanks for the condescending tone there. I knew something was missing from this discussion thusfar.

Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Red hair is just a hair color, and yes red hair is usually connected to Irish descent. Hair color, skin color etc can be used to connect people with certain ethnicities.

But to use the term 'big nose' to connect someone with an ethnicity is just wrong. The term 'big nose' is implying that somehow their nose is bigger than "normal". So you're calling them out as having abnormalities and using those to connect them with their ethnicity.
Alright then, forget hair color or skin color then. Say I had really hairy arms, and someone identified that as an Italian trait. The term "hairy arms" would imply that my arms were hairier than a "normal" man's arms. Or maybe someone noticing that my hair can get a bit oily at times might let on the fact that I'm of Italian descent. That would, of course, be implying that my "greasy hair" is greasier than that of a "normal" man.

And I don't find any of that offensive. Just because people tend to be a bit different doesn't make them somehow inferior. I don't think that implying someone has a "big nose" or "hairy arms" is a negative trait (or an "abnormality," as you put it). I think of them as identifying traits. (Unless they're obviously being intended as offensive - "you greasy Italian," "you big-nosed Jew," "you big-lipped darkie," etc.)

But, as I believe this thread has proved, it all comes down to offense being a relative thing.

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I am certainly not assuming anything about you, I want to make that clear.
Thank you. I appreciate that.
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Old 08-19-2005, 12:50 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by XHendrix24


Thanks for the condescending tone there. I knew something was missing from this discussion thusfar.
I wasn't trying to be condescending it was just that you kept talking around the subject.

Quote:
Originally posted by XHendrix24


But, as I believe this thread has proved, it all comes down to offense being a relative thing.


Well yes offense is a relative thing, I mean you can call me anything in the book and I probably won't get offended but you talk about my friend and that's another story.

But you also have to look at context. And in context relating big noses with Jewish people, big lips with black people, etc have been used in racial and ethnic slurs and caricatures throughout history.

What it comes down to is I'm not going to label someone the 'the Jew couple' because I happen to see two people walk in with big noses. I know lot of people that have what you would probably consider a big nose that aren't Jewish and come to think of it my closest Jewish friends don't have anything close to a big nose.

White, black, male, female, short, tall, etc these are obvious labels. But I'm not going to label someone the stoner couple just because they wear Grateful Dead T-shirts, I'm not going to label someone the Fundie couple because I notice they're wearing a cross and they choose not to drink with dinner; because these are assumptions based on appearances. And my momma taught me that appearances can be decieving. I may be right with the assumptions above, but I could be horribly wrong. They may just like GD music but have never touched a joint in their life and the other couple could possibly more liberal than I and just didn't feel like having a drink with dinner that night.

It's just common courtesy not to reduce people down to appearances.
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Old 08-19-2005, 01:13 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
It's just common courtesy not to reduce people down to appearances.
That I can pretty much agree on. The waitress in question could of probably used some other way to identify the people, that's true. And it's simply not polite to refer to someone purely by their ethnicity, so in that sense, the waitress erred.

However, considering the circumstances, I think it's fairly obvious that the waitress did not label them 'the Jew couple' with malicious intent, which is why I don't see it as such a big deal. Was it sort of rude to refer to them as 'the Jew couple'? Yes, it probably could of been interpreted that way by some people. But I don't think that it was 'discrimination' or 'hatred', and I don't think that it warranted an article in a publication. That's where my problem with the article lies. I think it's unnecessarily being shown as a bigger deal than it actually is.
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:06 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by XHendrix24


However, considering the circumstances, I think it's fairly obvious that the waitress did not label them 'the Jew couple' with malicious intent, which is why I don't see it as such a big deal.
I have to disagree with that, I don't think there's anything obvious. This could have easily been a matter of inconsiderate labeling or she really could have a problem with Jewish people, we don't know either way.


Quote:
Originally posted by XHendrix24

and I don't think that it warranted an article in a publication. That's where my problem with the article lies. I think it's unnecessarily being shown as a bigger deal than it actually is.
I think it warranted an article because honestly she should have removed the label on their ticket, the woman is a moron. Discrimination, who knows? I could see where the couple saw it that way. I mean if I got a ticket like that, and no one else has ever gotten a ticket like that, I'd be like WTF? I've never heard of anyone recieving a label on their ticket, so when one does come up and it separates you like this, it will make you wonder...
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:19 PM   #40
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All I want to know is why the restaurant doesn't just adopt the incredibly simple policy of having numbers for its tables so the waiting staff aren't compelled to devise inventive names for their customers.
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:42 PM   #41
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the racial politics of waiting is interesting ... i've never been a waiter, but my best friend has, and there are code words for ethnic "groups" who don't have good tipping reputations, namely African-Americans and Europeans. (am not advocating such a stereotype; just saying that it exists)

Europeans are known as "tourists" and African-Americans are known as "Canadians."

just tossing that out there ... might there be some connections?
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:49 PM   #42
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My guess is that Mr. Stein was wearing a yarmulke or kipah.

I think the bottom line regarding this incident is that allowing waitstaff to fill in their own, off-the-cuff descriptions of customers rather than using table numbers to designate bills is an absurdly stupid policy to begin with, and a customer service nightmare waiting to happen. To that extent, I find it hard to feel sorry for the restaurant owners. Regarding the waitress, IF she was fired solely because of this incident, then there may have been some unjust scapegoating involved--but none of us know enough to reach that conclusion.

If this had happened to me, I would probably have asked for the manager and simply explained the above, rather than heading to the Attorney General's office to file racial slur charges.

Quote:
Originally posted by XHendrix24
If someone mistakenly identified me as of Hispanic descent (I'm fairly tan and have brown hair - I'm actually Italian/Irish), I wouldn't be offended, I'd just correct them and then forget about it.
The difference is that, clearly, you feel you have nothing to fear from being singled out as Hispanic.

I am Jewish, but frequently assumed to be "Irish" because of my red hair and green eyes. If a stranger came up to me in public and demanded, "Are you Irish?" I might feel nonplussed, annoyed, or even amused. If a stranger came up to me in public and demanded, "Are you Jewish?" I would probably feel the same things, but also some fear and intimidation. Why are they zeroing in on that? How does this person feel towards Jews? Will anyone come to my defense if they start harassing me? This response may be visceral but it is not paranoid, any more than would be the same response towards someone demanding, "Are you gay?" It is not the words that "offend" (or more aptly, frighten) but the history of menace behind them.

From personal experience I can say that the more singled out you feel and the less familiar the social environment, the worse that fear is. I grew up in rural Mississippi in the '70s, and heard "Christ-killer" probably more times by the time I turned 14 than most American Jews today will hear their whole lives. It never stopped us from wearing yarmulkes or putting menorot in the window or mezuzah on the doorposts, or anything else that told the world we were Jewish. So I am not thin-skinned or lily-livered about racial slurs in the slightest. I would have to be an idiot to have no fear at all, though.
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:59 PM   #43
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Originally posted by yolland
The difference is that, clearly, you feel you have nothing to fear from being singled out as Hispanic.

I am Jewish, but frequently assumed to be "Irish" because of my red hair and green eyes. If a stranger came up to me in public and demanded, "Are you Irish?" I might feel nonplussed, annoyed, or even amused. If a stranger came up to me in public and demanded, "Are you Jewish?" I would probably feel the same things, but also some fear and intimidation. [/i]Why are they zeroing in on that? How does this person feel towards Jews? Will anyone come to my defense if they start harassing me?[/i] This response may be visceral but it is not paranoid, any more than would be the same response towards someone demanding, "Are you gay?" It is not the words that "offend" (or more aptly, frighten) but the history of menace behind them.


absolutely correct.

if someone were to come up to me in a restaurant and ask me if i were gay, i'm not 100% sure how i would respond.

there are times and there are places where it is dangerous to be jewish, or gay, or some other identity where you can generally "pass" -- but your identity, if revealed, might cause you some trouble. the person's intentions might be entirely benign, or they might be curious, or they might actually have a problem. you simply don't know, and for someone to call you out so directly, as yolland says, your defenses perk up. i felt the same way in Europe -- people would come up to me in bars and ask me if i was American. particularly given the current administration, just how do you answer? might your answer get you into, at the least, a discussion you don't want to have, or at the worst, leave you with a bloody nose and an empty wallet?

in any event, just trying to show how the phrase "jew couple" -- while i feel nearly certain it was a stupid mistake on the part of the waitress ... it is new jersey, after all -- might cause someone to take offense. when you're a member of a group that's been consistently persecuted for 5,000 years (jews) or the last remaining minority group towards which it is socially acceptable to despise (gays), such comments cannot be so easily brushed off.
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Old 08-19-2005, 03:01 PM   #44
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Originally posted by yolland
I think the bottom line regarding this incident is that allowing waitstaff to fill in their own, off-the-cuff descriptions of customers rather than using table numbers to designate bills is an absurdly stupid policy to begin with, and a customer service nightmare waiting to happen. To that extent, I find it hard to feel sorry for the restaurant owners. Regarding the waitress, IF she was fired solely because of this incident, then there may have been some unjust scapegoating involved--but none of us know enough to reach that conclusion.

If this had happened to me, I would probably have asked for the manager and simply explained the above, rather than heading to the Attorney General's office to file racial slur charges.
Well put. I agree with pretty much everything said here.

Also, I hadn't thought much about the aspect of fear concerning the term "Jew," (even though as I've said before, the waitress didn't seem to have any malicious intent). So thank you for your input on that. That's definitely another factor that could be considered. And I'm sorry to hear that you had to put up with all of those slurs. Living where I live, I'm very familiar with intolerance and name-calling (though it's not usually directed towards Jewish people). I hate hearing how people have to go through that kind of thing and I sympathize deeply.
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Old 08-19-2005, 03:13 PM   #45
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Originally posted by XHendrix24


Well put. I agree with pretty much everything said here.

Also, I hadn't thought much about the aspect of fear concerning the term "Jew," (even though as I've said before, the waitress didn't seem to have any malicious intent). So thank you for your input on that. That's definitely another factor that could be considered. And I'm sorry to hear that you had to put up with all of those slurs. Living where I live, I'm very familiar with intolerance and name-calling (though it's not usually directed towards Jewish people). I hate hearing how people have to go through that kind of thing and I sympathize deeply.


and i just want to say that i agree with both of you.

chances are, it was all a misunderstanding, and it would have been best, i think, for the couple to simply to have ignored it or to have given the waitress the benefit of the doubt (as i would like to think i would have ... if i'd had "gay couple" that might have been cute; "fag couple" would be something else).

but there is history to deal with.

sucks, that.
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