According to some people being Jewish now means that I’m no longer Hispanic (I’ve gotten this one from Jews and non-Jewish Latinos alike) and according to some people being Hispanic means I can never really be Jewish (I’ve gotten this one mostly from Jews).
Some people surveying my situation have noted that as a Jewminicana, I fit in nowhere because I make both the Jews and Dominicans–and even some of the Dominican Jews–of the world uncomfortable (not to mention everyone else).
After all, it is rare that I can walk away from a Spanish conversation with a non-Jewish Latino without being told that converting means I’ll go to hell for giving up Jesus. They’ll even add outright that I’m no longer Hispanic. Hispanics, like Israelis, seem to be known for their ability to cut right past the BS and be blunt and almost too forthright.
At least, MOST of the Jews I tell I’ve converted won’t tell me to my face that they don’t think I’m REALLY Jewish. Some have, of course. But hey, some Jews of color have even said I don’t qualify as a Jew of color because I’m not black or brown enough. Well, check out my Los Angeles tan, people, because those brown-skinded roots underneath my olive-skinned veneer are officially showing.
But it is often when I presume that being a Jewminicana means I fit in everywhere or at least “somewhere in-between” that someone points out that my identity gives them a headache or can’t exist in a reality outside my afro-covered head. Still, last time I check (hold on, let me pinch myself again), I exist. And I’m not even the only Jewminicana…or as my cousin lovingly noted when I pointed out I wasn’t the only Dominican Jew: “I thought you were like a rare white panda! But there are MORE of you?!”
In MaNishtana’s response to the media flurry (is that the right word or have I got weather on the brain as I try to cope with the fact that my snowboots will never see the light of day here in Los Angeles?) surround Yoseph Robinson’s death, blogger MaNishtana catches us up on meeting with the NYPD as the King of NYC black Jews, being featured in the NY Times and what he has learned these past few weeks.
“It’s really amazing to me that I forgot for a second there that as much as I rant and blog about how some Jews need to get off their high racist horse and realize that we’re Jews just like them, that I still need to remember to tell some Black folk to stop looking down their antisemitic noses and realize we’re Black just like THEM, too.”
PLEASE read more at his blog post: “Gangs of Jew York.”