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‘Jew.’ Why does the word for a person of my religion sound like a slur?

By Susan Sommercamp
The Washington Post

My first boss right out of college was terrific — ambitious, warm and open to friendly lunches outside the office.

Then one day in December, the topic turned to her plans for Christmas.

She asked where I would be celebrating the holiday, and I said, “Oh, I don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m a Jew.” She gaped.

I wasn’t expecting her response: “Why would you say something so derogatory about yourself?”

“What?”

She whispered, “You called yourself a Jew. That’s an awful word to use. It’s like saying n—–.”

“No, it’s not. I’m just saying that I’m Jewish.”

“They’re not the same. ‘Jewish’ is fine. ‘Jew’ is not. Really, I’m surprised you just said it out loud at work.”

I tried to explain that to say one is a Jew is not offensive in the slightest, but she was adamant.

To read the complete story, please click here.

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