"Jewish" Terms

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade September 2001

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"Jewish" Terms What comes to mind when someone we know uses the terms Kyke, J.A.P., or Heime? What about when the use the phrase " That's Jewish "? I can tell you from experience I never thought to say " Hey, don't use those terms!" Well, not until a few months ago. Where I grew up, people would say those all the time, like it was second nature. I never thought that it would be the same as someone calling me a nigger, or any other African-American ethnic slur someone could toss at me. Then again, many of us (not all), don't think that way. Our society is just strange like that, but why? Honestly, I wouldn't know where to start, but as a minority in America, dating Jewish person, I could only tell you what she and I see.

Let's start with two derogatory terms that are often said or used to descibe Jewish people and their meanings.

First off, lets start with the word "Kyke". A Kyke is a person of Jewish ancestory, or of Jewish faith. I have never heard anyone use this term anywhere, except on T.V. I'd like to think the people I hang out with are smarter and better than that. The people who use this on T.V. are 95% of the time Nazi's and other kinds of white supremacist. Second, we come to the phrase "That's Jewish" or "You're a Jew". I have heard these terms used on numerous occasions and as much as I hate to admit it, I've used them more than once. To my knowledge, when someone says "That's Jewish", it means that the object, or situation is stupid or cheap. In other words, I've never heard it used in a good or uplifting way. When someone says " You're a Jew", it usually means you're an idiot, unless you really are a Jewish person. I don't know how or why these two sayings became ways of hurting someone feelings, but ever since I realized that I was offending someone by saying them, I stopped. I started using these when I was in 8th grade, my friends used to give a another friend of mine creapo because he was Jewish. We weren't doing as a way of puttin him down, we were doing it cause it sounded funnny to us and it was fun to mess with him about something. By the time I was in 10th garde, I looked back on my 8th grade year and realized that we shouldn't have said those things, joking or not joking. It's still offensive.

A few other terms I research on the net were J.A.P., Heime, and Wandering Jew. J.A.P. stands for Jewish American Princess. I couldn't really find much background on this term, but it also sounds and is spelled like Jap, a word used to offend people Japanese background. Heime (pronounced Hi-me), is a person of Jewish descent. So, basically it's kind of like call a Chinese person a Chink, or a Mexican a Wetback. The last term I found and I'm still trying to figure out how one would use this is, Wandering Jew. If I was Jewish I'd probably laugh at this the same way when someone calls me Colored or Darkie. It just sounds childish, if you ask me. The definition of this term is, a lost or aimless person if Jewish faith or a confused Jew.

The reason why I chose to do these terms not because my girlfriend is Jewish, but because nobody really talks about the Jews unitl we hear of the Holocaust. I figured this would be a good way of informing people of other words they shouldn't say. So many people seem to have such animosity toward them and forget that they're people too. This isn't even a skin color issue like it is for me, but just a religious thing. Why? There are white people in this world who will give a Jewish person a job, until they find out that they're Jewish. I'd get shut down just because the way I look. I'm somewhat prepared for that, but most Jews are white too. They lose jobs over faith? Isn't that just alittle strange? I think so.

What I've learned from my research is that there are even more things out there that you shouldn't say to certain people. It's really hard to bite your tounge when you're angry, but if you have knowledge of these terms(not just the Jewish ones) and focus on keeping deragetory terms out of our everday vocabulary, we won't hurt anybody. Well, not verbally. Sometimes we feel the need to lash out, it's human nature, but we still need to watch what we say and do. One thing I always remember is, the hate you out out will ALWAYS comeback to you.