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Date: 2017-05-23 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
But actually I think the whole emphasis on faith in these kinds of contexts is very largely because of Christian dominance of the interfaith scene, combined with nervousness around using religion-based adjectives or noun labels for people.

Yup. I tend to think of it as partly a protestantism thing, but I have less experience of inter-"faith" discussion from a non-Christian perspective than you do.

It's a slight simplification but I think that probably is true for the Yiddish equivalent, Yid; for people speaking English that's at best a reclaimed slur, and for many really quite a strong insult.

I wouldn't have dreamt of using Yid for anything even when I was at my most close association with a Jewish community; my (Jewish) then-partner did, but only in casual conversation with people around the same age.

And of course I don't want to define my Jewishness in terms of why people hate me, but in a world where that hatred exists, I'm uncomfortable with being pushed into saying I'm a member of the Jewish faith, or that I'm from a Jewish background, because neither of those covers the whole story, though in my particular case both of them happen to be true.

I tend to think of it as a sort of Venn diagram, where "Jewish" can refer to being part of the religious community or to the cultural community or to nebulous ideas around 'background' or a few other things, and there is considerable overlap, but not everyone is necessarily a member of all of the rings. So discrimination on the grounds of any of these aspects of Jewishness is wrong, but of course one doesn't have to conform to all of the aspects of Jewishness to be Jewish.

I also tend to think that unless the person describing themselves as Jewish voluntarily discloses what they mean by that, or it's directly relevant to the conversation or some practical matter (e.g. kashrut, Shabbat), which aspects of Jewishness apply to that particular person is really none of my business.

I know I'm far from unique in uncomfortably defaulting to "white other".

I also do this. I'm white, but I'm not British, even if one of my grandparents and a few of my great-great-grandparents were. I'm never sure how helpful it is, but there really isn't another option that fits. I'm definitely foreign, but also definitely "not that kind of foreigner" according to most xenophobes and racists.
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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