a gay

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 29 21:25:57 UTC 2010

There might some of the "N-word" effect here--there is usually no
problem with a Jew referring to another Jew as "a Jew", but a non-Jew
saying the same thing may raise an eyebrow. There is, sort of, a
natural, if knee-jerk response, "Why do /you/ care if he's a Jew?" For
another Jew this may be attributed to filial piety, but no such
attribution can be made for a non-Jew.


On 12/29/2010 3:53 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> At 12/29/2010 12:59 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> I too have encountered people who felt that "Jew" was offensive, though they
>> couldn't say why.
> I can suggest why -- too many times calling an individual person a
> Jew has been associated with abuse, denigration, racial prejudice and
> violence.  One cannot easily, I think, curse someone using the
> adjective "Jewish; it requires some invention and a lengthier
> expression.  And I suspect referring to a group as "Jews" has less
> often been said in a racially abusive way than referring to someone
> as "a Jew".  Of course, I have no statistics, just an impression.
>> One suggested that it was because "Jewish person" was
>> "correct."  (How's that for rationalizing?)
> I would not say this, but rather "He's Jewish" or "He's a Jew."  (I
> have no problem with the latter in polite contexts; I do have a
> problem with "You Jew.")
> Joel

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