What it means, to "Jew"

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Is it surprising that today, the word “Jew” is still thrown around to describe something much like the word “idiot” would be used? Sadly, it’s not. The negative connotation of the word “Jew” is typically what most people use it for today, because that is how the word is used in pop culture. Though the word Jew was not always equivalent to the word “stupid”, that is what its most recent definition is. But why is “Jew” the most common religious name to be used as an insult? It has not always been that way, so why did “Jew” end up becoming a slur?
“Yid” is the Yiddish word for “Jew”. Though it used to be considered an ethnic slur, today it is a word to refer to a Jewish person in a positive way. Yid is a word of praise to Jews currently, saying how upstanding and religious that person was. “Yid” went from a negative connotation to a positive one, a complete opposite direction of what the word “Jew” in English did, though technically the English version was more neutral at first rather than positive.
However, due to today’s technology and entertainment, the word “Jew” is typically used as an insult to someone else. TV shows like Family Guy and South Park contribute it to running jokes in the series; in Family Guy all these supposedly great guys are Jewish and turn out to be not exactly what was expected, and in South Park it’s just an insult to a character in the show that’s Jewish. Although these shows use it in a satirical way, the people watching use the term “Jew” as an insult more often than a joking manner.
History has also made the word “Jew” a negative one; being one around the 1930s in Europe meant that you were an unwanted race, and better off exterminated. During the September 11th attack on the Twin Towers in New York, one of the reasons the terrorists flew into the two buildings was because Jewish people worked there. And even way back in history, Jews have been kicked out of what they believed was their promised land multiple times, and have not been accepted into other societies simply because they did not believe the same things of the region’s religion. The stereotypes of being greedy gave the Jews a bad reputation, after all, no one would entrust something of importance to a greedy, self-centered person. The Jewish people have been persecuted throughout time and have been given negative attributes to describe them, which is why now it’s used as an insult.
And despite people’s different views on religion, Jews are actually no different than any other person. They’re all human, they all live, they all have a word that classifies them based on what they believe or where they’re from. As a group, someone can’t say that because one Jew that they know is greedy and hordes all his money away means that every single Jew is exactly the same. That also doesn’t mean that all Jews are the Yiddish definition of the word, a kind, good-natured individual. There’s a mix of all different kinds of people in each religion, and they should not all be considered based off a single individual.
Referring to someone as a Jew should not be considered as an insult like it is now. It should just be a way to classify a person by their religious beliefs. Even though as time goes on the meaning of more words than just one changes from the multiple influences of the world, that doesn’t mean that the new meaning should just be another term to add into a person’s insult dictionary. Overall, the word Jew should only be used in the same way someone should use the word Christian: a way to describe another individual based on religion. “Yeah, that guy is a Jew; his family is celebrating Passover tonight.”





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BonifadeBlinger said...
Dec. 18, 2009 at 9:19 am
I totally agree with your post not only the term Jew is use as an insult but also as a race. Judaism is not a race it’s a religion. The term "Jew" came from the name of Jacob's fourth son, Judah, Yehudah, and was applied only to Judah's descendents; consist of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The tribes split into two kingdoms Judah with Benjamin and Levites with some prophets. Palestine’s and Ethiopians were also Jews. Just like the “Jews of Israel&rdq... (more »)
 
BonifadeBlinger said...
Dec. 18, 2009 at 9:07 am
I totally agree with your post not only the term Jew is use for an insult but also as a race. Judaism is not a race it’s a religion. The term "Jew" came from the name of Jacob's fourth son, Judah, Yehudah, and was applied only to Judah's descendents; consist of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The tribes split into two kingdoms Judah with Benjamin and Levites with some prophets. Palestine’s and Ethiopians were also Jews. Just like the “Jews of Israel&rd... (more »)
 
the_Horsegirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm
As a Jew, I found what you said extremely insulting. Though I am not very observant, I consider myself religious, as would most other Jews that I know. Judaism is not in any way meant to be a mockery to your, or anyone else's, religion or god. Please, before you belittle and insult other people religions and cultures think of how it would feel if you were them... "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," that's what the bible says, isn't it?
 
Levana This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 24, 2010 at 8:24 am
Judaism was founded before Christianity .
 
giyoreli replied...
May 20, 2016 at 10:20 pm
Yikes... someone needs to tone down the proselytizing.... Judaism is an 'ethnoreligion' so it's not a race, but an ethnicity and a religion (ethnicity differs from race, google it i'm tired of explaining). Not all Ethiopians are Jews but Ethiopian Jews exist, as do Palestinian Jews, Indian Jews, and Nigerian Jews. Jews exist everywhere, that's a result of diaspora. I absolutely agree that African and Black Jews are ignored but if you think that you can act like you're being sympathetic to Ethiop... (more »)
 
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