Thank you everyone for all your thoughtful replies.
Chani- I was just going to post about the very thing you wrote about. I asked my next door neighbor, a nice frum lady who happens to have a son whose kallah (bride) is a person of color (not that this fact makes her the authority on the kashrus of the term), if she felt that the use of "shvartze" is racist. She said she uses the word herself as if she were saying "black person" in English, but that it depends on the context. If a person is saying something rude about a black person using that term, well, of course, it becomes a slur.
I guess this is why I have become unsure of how to react. The term in question is used in a neutral context, and even in a positive one regularly. The perception that the term is a slur, coupled with the instances of truly derogatory use of the term (which, unfortunately, also happens
), however have tainted the word, resulting in the uncomfortable feeling I get from it. I probably don't even notice many of the times people use the word, because it is so neutral. I once heard that my neighborhood is "the most integrated in NYC (in the US?)" (no, I don't have a legit source for this). Jews and people of color live side by side, there being black people on all of the most Jewish blocks, and vice versa. The two races, or however else we'd like to explain this, have quite different lifestyles (Most people would probably think their lifestyle is quite different from Chasidic Jews), and it isn't always a smooth ride. Overall, relations are friendly-- I think.
Perhaps I should tell others not to "taint" the beautiful Yiddish language (we can't have perfectly good words becoming slurs, can we?) when I hear the term used in a way that obviously conveys derision, and forget it otherwise? I have already "taken a stand" with a few people in my community when I was newer here, not intending to argue about it, but I suppose my "stand" put people on the defensive. It always blew up into a big deal. It's just so contextual... just about everyone in my community I've asked agrees with Chani and doesn't take issue with it.Maybe I should forget the *WORDS* and respond to people's *ATTITUDE*!
Well, thank you for allowing me to think by typing my feelings.
|Amy, not to worry - Shvigger means mother in law, no derogatory intonations.
Does dh like your mother? Maybe it is a slur. :LOL :LOL
JK, I'm sure your Mum is great!