You know, I like to think of myself as immune to antisemitism. I wasn’t raised to think of myself as a jew. That came over time. And because of my background, there are jews who would think I wouldn’t qualify. And because I grew up in Oregon where other jews were scarce, I didn’t encounter much in the way of overt antisemitism as a child. Third to 7th grade when I was in private school a bit, but nothing that gave me lasting scars, old wounds that might be extra sensitive to pain.
And I still live in the PNW and Jewish communities are still relatively small, relatively invisible, and thus the antisemitism (which is, in fact, present) rarely finds overt expression. It’s not because the antisemites are fewer here or not as bad, but just because they take their hegemony for granted and don’t feel the need to flex.
This complicated (and unintentional) distancing from Judaism and jewishness results in a complicated Crip Dyke. I’m far less likely to speak about “the Jewish experience” (whatever that is) or attempt to educate others about Judaism or Jewish communities than I might be, but I’m more likely to get in the face of someone who is being overtly antisemitic. Why? Well, because as I said, I just figure that without as many scars and wounds, I’m the one with just enough jewishness but few enough weaknesses to distract the antisemites from more vulnerable targets.
I really thought that I was… well, not really immune, but someone who could take all the antisemitism short of physical violence and come away grazed. A metaphorical skinned knee or loss of wind was all I thought that antisemitism short of physical violence could inflict. Nothing I couldn’t walk off.
But third graders.
I thought I was so well armored. But this punched right through.
I’m going to go cry for a while.