Thursday, December 29, 2022

Crisis at Christmas Dinner Avoided By E@L SingTFU Even Though He Was In The Right

One discussion that almost triggered an incident at the in-law's Crisis, E@L means Christmas, Dinner  was when he questioned someone's characterisation of Jews as a "race". (Heaven knows what conversation led to this issue coming up.)

Culture, people, an ethno-religious community, maybe, but no more a distinct "race" than Han Chinese are, among the greater characterisation of Asians as "Mongoloid". Except a convenient short-cut in conversation to classify and make generalisations about a certain person you disagree with, dislike or like. (Such as when a relative said of the philosopher Peter Singer, when E@L was trying to bring of the topic of our country's commitment to foreign aid , "Oh, that Jew!" as if his religious heritage (he is an atheist - case in point) invalidated any argument Singer or E@L might have proposed about the inadequacies of the then current government under Little Johnny Howard.)

Of course he didn't say any of this, but pulled back from the suprisingly heated spontaneous disagreement, before someone threw a tea-towel at him (cf: the Great Tea-Towel Incident of Christmas Dinner, 2009. It was all Robert Crumb's fault!).

Of course, one might argue, if Jewishness are defined as just a religious conviction (separate from its cultural heritage, as has been, say, Irish Catholicism) and not a "race" (and why not the Irish Catholic race?), how can anti-semitism be called racism*? And do those who have converted to Judaism count? Jews are Jewish because they are adherents of Judaism, whereas a Jew who isn't an adherent is of course... not???

E@L is getting confused. This racism: ethnicity: religion thing is hard to untangle, specifically about this particular religion which has been vilified and persecuted for so long...  No wonder people who disagree with him are wrong. There are so many ways to be wrong it's hard for them to avoid it. 

Although some (racists/bigots/traditionalists/) would say he is Catholic by maternal "blood" and 12 years of failed indoctrination, E@L is a complete and utter atheist (emphasing enough, hopefully). He is certainly not a Catholic by his own determination. He is not religious, superstitious, fidelitious, not even agnostic, metaphysical, spooky spiritual, pious, deity desirous, ritual devoted, soulful (except when playing guitar), scared of any heaven or hell, punishment, or post-life judgement, but he is brimstone resistant and scientific method insistent. 

Sorry, Coldplay, he can't see how the stars are shining for him. A good deal of them probably don't exist now anyway (depending upon what you call "now").

But yeah, nah, let's get back to where we once belonged: on topic.


E@L had recently read "Constantine's Sword - The [Christian] Church and The Jews" and in it James Carroll indicated that the "blood", i.e. what might be called genetic, line of anti-semitism probably got its kick-start in the Spanish Inquisition, when converted Jews were persecuted in a second wave of torture and land, money and possession appropriation. This was because they were, all of a sudden, when Torquemada needed more cash, after all, Jewish "by blood", and they probably could not help but follow Judaism in their cellars at night despite their professed conversion and their protestations [ha ha] to be Catholic.

Of course this "Jewish Blood" argument hit Disgusting Full Steam Ahead with Nazis and the Shoah (the Holocaust), when you were Jewish back to at least one of your grandparents, and this sort of determination is still thought valid by many, including many Jews themselves, E@L's dining companions, and even by the SCOTUS apparently, as revealed when Justice Scalia criticized the court’s understanding of race as "a matter of blood". 

Hmm, yet isn't the Conversion Of The Jews the goal of Christianity, for only then can Jesus return to mop up this mess? So-oo, by Christian logic, once a person has renounced Judaism and converted to Christianity, they are no longer Jewish! Unless they are rich and in medieval Spain.

Holding two beliefs that are counter to each other, isn't that genius, or hypocrisy, or something?


Genetically, there is one race: homo sapiens, and within that, some DNA divergences for hair and skin colour, etc. The UN has identified about 5000 ethnic groups with broadly similar cultural heritage (but maybe not appearance!). Not races! We all share the same 22 main set of chromosomes, with 1 extra set for entertainment purposes (sex, in case you don't get E@L's sense of humour.). 

General definitions that divide humans are still held widely; e.g. Negroid, Causasian, Mongoloid, and Australoid, but race is really only a social construct that allows difficult topics to be brought up at dinner parties, and do any of these classification help in any way (except maybe medical risk assessment**) other than to provide ways to more easily divide Us from Them?

And everyone else who disagrees with


* with what should we replace the inaccurate and flawed term "racism" in the law statutes?
*e.g. Sub-Saharan Africans and sickle cell anaemia, Ashkenazi Jews and thalassaemia.

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