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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000059.txt from 2005/04

From: Joseph Wakeling <joseph.wakeling@-----.net>
Subj: Re: [kl] Prokofiev's Overture (was: Concert Announcement)
Date: Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:26:25 -0400

sarah elbaz wrote:

> Be carful people not to fall into the trap of Nazi terminology.
> Its the same as using the terms - 1/4 Jew or half Jew- such thing
> doesn't exsists.
> Same with Yid - it only means Jew - the Nazis gave it many other
> meanings but we shouldn't let them win.
> Use Yid and Jew as much as you want - its ok.

Hi Sarah,

In principle I absolutely agree with you. The trouble is that, as Leila
has noted, "yid" in English-speaking countries has a history of being
used almost exclusively as a term of abuse, and this history long
predates the Nazis. I don't know why this is so; probably it's partly
because "yid", as opposed to Jew, is a foreign word in English and
therefore can automatically be used to label someone as "other" or "not
us". I imagine it also has something to do with turning a minority's
"self-image" into a negative term as an effective way of abusing them
just for being who they are---in the same way as some in the West today
have used the phrase "*Allahu* *Akhbar*" to collectively abuse Muslims
(something that I recall happening on one occasion on this email list).

So while I'm all for trying to take the words back from the bigots, it's
a term I'm uncomfortable with using myself, and I imagine it's for the
same reason that the English publishers of Prokofiev's work were also
uncomfortable.

My father will never wear a black shirt because of the association with
the Fascist movement in Britain. For me, it's no big deal because
that's distant history to me, and I happen to look good in black. I'll
look forward to the day when kids of mine can use "Yid" because it's a
beautiful word, and not have to worry about past connotations. :-)

-- Joe

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