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MONDAY   The Trouble with ‘Macacawitz’
What one word can tell us about the keepers of the PC faith

by Julia Gorin
[pundit/comedian] 10/23/06

In choosing to phrase her jab at Virginia Senator George Allen, whose mother is Jewish, with the term "Macacawitz," Democratic congressional candidate Al Weed's now former field organizer Meryl Ibis has with a single word encapsulated the difference between the Jewish minority and all others. For she reproached Allen for using an ethnic slur-by using an ethnic slur herself (indeed by innovating one). "Macacawitz" is testimony to the fact that Jews don't enjoy the same PC protections their fellow minorities do.

Perceived as part of the power structure, Jews are subconsciously considered by the Left, the media establishment and the other minorities as a privileged minority, and therefore not as vulnerable or in need of protected-class status. This is what makes Jews in fact the most vulnerable minority of all.

Julia Gorin

Pundit, comedian and opinionist Julia Gorin is proprietor of www.JuliaGorin.com and is a contributing editor to www.JewishWorldReview.com..[go to Gorin index]

Perhaps this is best illustrated by a point that writer Hillel Halkin made in a 2002 Commentary article titled "The Return of Anti-Semitism"—namely that hostility toward Jews has grown in direct proportion to the number of Jews killed. In contrast, sympathy for Middle Easterners-a minority in the more traditional, visible, color-coded sense—has increased in direct proportion to the number of people they've killed. It seems, the more people that Muslims kill, the less popular Jews become. This has managed to happen because Jews are the politically incorrect minority.

When other minorities—rightly or wrongly—accuse someone of being a racist, the conditioned, immediate reaction is guilt-if only for a moment—before rationality takes over. But when Jews—rightly or wrongly—accuse someone of being an anti-Semite, the immediate reaction is eye-rolling. And at least once, I've gotten a "Yeah, so?"-eliciting from me a momentary inclination to answer, "Oh, sorry-never mind. Nothing wrong with being anti-Semitic; why some of my best friends are anti-Semites!"

If one thinks about it, what other ethnic group is blamed for genocidal murders against it? What other ethnic group's back do the other minorities not have? Indeed, what other minority do the rest of the minorities help bash? And what other minority's enemies do the media help in fabricating crimes by the said minority? What other minority has placards devoted to it at pro-terrorist rallies in Boston and San Francisco, reading Death to the [fill in minority]? Finally, what other nation has been exterminated not because of some ethnic rivalry with another nation or by some conquering force, but because of an entire, diverse continent pitching in? Then, after no nation offered this ethnic group a safe harbor, such that it had to shed even more of its blood to secure one, the world decided it wanted a recall of that agreed-upon harbor.

Jews don't inspire the Left's sympathy. We are perceived to be an essentially "white" minority, and one doesn't get a warm fuzzy feeling from sticking up for white folks-and moneyed white folks at that.

Ah yes, the money. Whoever has the money has the power, right? Those rich Jews are imperturbable, above any threat. Just like rich America can solve any problem; if it's not doing so, it means its people are indifferent, greedy, or corrupt.

With money being on the minds—to the point of obsession—of working Joes, of disgruntled anti-capitalists, and of have-nots, it's the jealousies that make it more dangerous to be a member of the Jewish minority than of the have-not minorities. Even Jewish generosity to less fortunate minorities has bred contempt among the latter, the thinking being, "Boy, those Jews must really have a lot of money if they're wasting it on us. Those bastards!"

The caricature of the well-off Jew has spun off into another, increasingly oft-heard contemporary libel against Jews: that it's "risky" to contradict the "powerful" Jews: "Oh, you can't say anything against the Jews-you'll get in trouble." (Yes, God forbid you might get hit with a ton of press releases from the ADL.) These folks would find truth in the statement that in at least one way, there is more freedom of speech in the Middle East. Anyone can go over there and, without any consequences, declare publicly that Jews suck; here it's not so easy.

But Jewish "power" doesn't come from any ability, much less inclination, to threaten anyone. The notion is all the more contradictory given that, generally speaking, we're better behaved than most other minorities. And when we're offended, we mostly just whine while others kill (a distinction that the country's collective reticence during the Mohammed-cartoon controversy admitted-even if our tongues still won't).

Even on comedy stages, the new trend seems to be to casually announce "I'm not a fan of the Jew," as one Italian comic did at a recent open mic. (This declaration didn't precede or cap off any related bit; he just wanted to put that out there). The previous week another comedian had informed the audience that he didn't like Jews-but that he had a good reason: his boss is Jewish and he's an a-hole.

Is this the new "boldness?" In the current environment, people are "finally able to say what we think," as many in Europe and the Middle East have been putting it of late, particularly when expressing doubts about Holocaust numbers. Ironically, the same people whom we've heard over the years marveling at the world's silence amid the Holocaust, dismayed that the world "could have allowed" something like that to take place, are today coming to the conclusion that there can be a rational aversion to a group, and are allowing for the possibility that Jews bring the enmities on themselves, that they must have had it coming, just as they do today. And so here we are: Holocaust studies are at an all-time high at universities, as are anti-Semitic incidents, and school children go about collecting six million paper clips (or pennies, depending on the school) to get a sense of what that number looks like. What "Macacawitz" shows us is that all of these exercises will have amounted to a how-to guide.

The ironic "Macacawitz" term has reminded me of a thought I had when Mahathir Mohamad was retiring as Malaysia's prime minister in 2003 and went on about Jews controlling the world. For a moment, I actually thought: "That's kind of interesting—the anti-Jewish stuff coming from someone of the Oriental persuasion. Not something you see every day. Arabs and Europeans, yeah, but someone of Mongoloid stock? Hey, it's all about diversity! Far Easterners should get their chance too."

As George Will put it, "Celebration of tolerance is the first refuge of the intolerant."

Perhaps the biggest irony was summed up by Claremont McKenna College Professor John J. Pitney, Jr. on the Political Mavens blog: "Thanks in part to the 'macaca' episode, the Virginia Senate race remains tight. If a Republican loss there tips control of the Senate to the Democrats, then Robert Byrd will become the chamber's president pro tempore. Concern about racism would thus put a former Klansman in the line of succession to the presidency." CRO

copyright 2006 Julia Gorin





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