Sunday, December 18, 2005

If There Were a Jewish History Month

Tonight on 60 Minutes, Morgan Freeman said he thought Black History Month was "ridiculous." He said, "I don't want a Black History Month. Black history is American history." He essentially said the way to end racism is to stop calling attention to racial divides.

He also asked Mike Wallace, who's Jewish, when Jewish History Month is. When Wallace said there wasn't one, Freeman said, "You want one?"

As a white man, I am not crazy enough to wade into the debate over whether or not there should be a Black History Month. But I will say that I respect Morgan Freeman's talent and intellect more than you can imagine, and I respect anyone who has the courage and integrity to challenge the mainstream armed only with logic.

As a Jew, however, I feel qualified to answer Morgan Freeman's question: Hell, no. I don't want a Jewish History Month. I can't speak for anyone else, but I would find it patronizing in the extreme.

If there were TV public service announcements where someone came on camera and solemnly said, "You know, it was Jews who invented electron microscopes, Polaroid cameras, and flexible straws." I would want to add the sound of Crank Yankers' Special Ed going "Yayyyyy!"

If there is someone out there who doesn't like Jews because they're Jews, knowing we invented lasik isn't going to turn them around. And if there are Jewish children who need an annual month of media attention to feel proud of their heritage, they have bigger problems.

So that's my answer, and my answer only, about a hypothetical month for my people. Your mileage, as always, may vary.

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