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The Jewish culture, of which I am a part, is known for asking questions. The Jewish religion is about asking questions. Everything about us involves a question.
So, I have two questions for you. Are you biased? Do you have unconscious biases? Because I know I do.
I’m here today in response to an event that happened in my life last week that I posted about on social media. I’ve gotten just a deluge of comments and criticisms and questions about my experience.
I want to share that with you.
I have a lawn that is remarkably overgrown given the shelter in place. I went online and found a young guy in college who is a landscaper, lawnmower, etc.-he’s earning money to go to school.
All the comments were “He’s very reliable, he’s nice and he’s affordable.”
So, I reached out. He reached back. That’s the backstory.
He arrived, looked at my property, which is a mess, and told me his pricing.
I said, “You know, that’s not the right pricing. That is half of what you should
be charging me given what’s going on here.”
He said to me…
DRUM ROLL ….
“My mom, she’s an attorney, she told me not to give you the Jew price.”
I was stunned. I was speechless, which is rare for me.
He continued to talk. What stunned me to the 10th power about his comment was that he didn’t realize what he’d said. The look on his face was naive, innocent.
He had no idea that he had just used a racial epithet with me. So, we continued to talk and I said to him. “
”Well, you tell your mom, the attorney, that I’m Jewish.”
Nothing. Zero. Right over his head. He and I came up with an agreement and he’ll be coming back tomorrow.
I went on social media because I was speechless. What captured my attention was not the comment ‘The Jew price’. It was the comment that he had no idea had an impact on anyone.
He truly didn’t realize it was the wrong thing to say. He didn’t know that he had just insulted me. Although I wasn’t insulted, but I could have been. What do you say to that?
Now here’s what’s interesting. On my social media post, which was a written one, not a video, the people who know me well said, “Well, I’m sure you didn’t hire him. Who are you going to hire next?”
But the people who knew me really well (Call out to Patti right now) said “I know what you did. You hired him and now you’re going to coach him.” And that’s my plan.
Now, why is that?
If he had said it with contempt or maliciousness or vindictiveness, or if it came from a bad place, I would never have hired him. I would have chewed him out and sent him on his way.
But this kid had no idea that what he’d just said to me was something that his parents taught him or he learned from the culture. I don’t know. I don’t need to know where he got it from. I just know that what he said was so grossly inappropriate. So, he’s coming back tomorrow. He’s going to do my lawn, and am I going to coach him?
Yeah, we’re going to sit down and I’m going to say to him, “Bob, let me tell you what you said that you probably don’t want to say again. And if you’re thinking it, you probably want to think about where you got that thought from.”
Here’s what’s interesting. Well, the whole thing, especially in light of the protests and the demonstrations around George Floyd and the other zillion African American and Black and Brown people who are persecuted in our country today by virtue of the color of their skin. Don’t even get me started on that.
The point is that we have biases we don’t even realize we have (That’s why they’re called unconscious). Lots of them.
This kid had no idea about what he was saying. So, did I hold him responsible? I didn’t. Because he’s probably 20 so he’s not too old to learn. He is not too old. None of us are too old to learn.
I am wearing my Jewish star on this video very purposefully. The Jewish star only came to be associated with Judaism in the 16th century. They think. Nobody’s sure. Two triangles superimposed upon one another.
It’s also called the badge of Solomon which, not coincidentally, happens to be my name. It is a name of the richness of wealth, of information. King Solomon was known for being wise. I don’t think we’re related. I’m just saying.
While I was standing on my driveway talking to Bob, I thought to myself, “You have an opportunity to be in contribution to this soul in a way that you otherwise never would have. (So don’t applaud me because it just came naturally, it was instinctive to me.)
But do think about what you say, what you think. The Jew price. I got a comment on my Facebook page from somebody saying to me.” What does ‘Jew price’ mean?” And she didn’t know. And she asked. Just accolades to her.
Because if you don’t know, ask. I explained it to her. The assumption, the stereotype, is that Jewish people ask for the lowest price possible. Now, if you’re Christian we call that bartering but for some reason, and I’m sure there is a reason that I haven’t read about, Jews have this reputation for bringing down the price.
You don’t have to give it to them or us. You don’t have to do that with anybody. You don’t have to barter. You don’t have to lower your price, and you certainly don’t have to Jew anybody down.
Leave your comments below. I would love a deep thoughtful conversation with you.