Saturday, October 30, 2004


What a sleepy Saturday. I made a few calls to Colorado this morning, then had lunch. I'm on political overload, can't take much more of it. I'm looking forward to a nice, lovely dinner with my wife. Indian food.

I was at lunch today with a friend of mine, and I was running her through the CA ballot propositions. At the mention of my advising her to vote "no" on one of them, the parents of a family sitting next to us looked over and started clapping their hands. I was kind of happy about it, you know - the people are listening approvingly....! My friend, however, was not so pleased, she thought it was a rude intrusion. I suppose she's right in one sense - it's a bit rude to listen in on other people's conversations. On the other hand, it's politics, I can't expect people to stay silent. On the whole, I empathized with them and was debating that issue with my friend.

Well - as it happens I was listening in on their conversation, and one of their little girls, who looked about six, was referring to her Russian heritage, and queried whether that made her "Asian" (due to the fact that the majority of the land mass of Russia is located in Asia). And she's six! Well, the mom was having none of it - she said "You're NOT Asian". The girl valiantly protested (she is a Caucasian and Jewish) and reminded her mom that Russia is indeed, in Asia. The mom was insistent - "That doesn't matter, you're NOT Asian, you're Russian. Your ethnicity is Russian Jew".

I'm a Jew of Russian descent; I was really taken aback not by the content of the mom's words - the girl is, after all, classified as a Russian Jew by conventional wisdom - but what appeared to be the panic and vitriol in her voice. I was really offended. So what if the girl thinks she's Asian? It's not like a pit is going to open up under her feet and swallow her up....!! To top it off, my friend is Vietnamese - and all the while I'm wondering what she thought. Ironically enough, true to her etiquette, she had missed the whole thing (I told her about it later).

Strange. I wanted to butt in and tell the mom to get a grip, but found that the bounds of etiquette were holding be back.....


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