“To My Best Friend, I wanted to tell you about my experience of racism. As a Jewish person gr…”

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To My Best Friend, I wanted to tell you about my experience of racism. As a Jewish person growing up, I was harassed many times by the cruel country boys in my High School. You may say to yourself, "How is this racism if you are white?" This is something that took many years to come to grips with myself. Judaism is a religion, but to be Jewish, if you are born Jewish, describes both your religion and ethnic group. I do consider myself white, but I definitely have the facial features typically associated with Jewish people. Point is, they saw my face, and saw my last name, and they knew. It was so shocking, and unexpected, to be treated this way. Of course, I knew of the Nazis and the Holocaust, but I had thought that that discrimination of the Jews was something that had ended many years ago. Yet, here I was, the first day of 9th grade, redneck boys snickering, making hateful comments, gas chamber jokes, and more. It really helped hive me empathy for others, particularly people of color, who had to suffer through racism. It didn't matter that I had white skin. It didn't even matter that my family went to a Christian church. The fact was, I was ethnically Jewish, and that made me a target. In fact, the fact that I had white skin was even worse in their eyes, like I was a fake, or trying to play a trick. Just another "sneak Jew." It made me feel less than, and also afraid. These boys had confederate flags on their trucks and were blatant in their racial views, even in front of the teacher. However, it also made me strong. I vowed that I would never treat anyone like that, regardless of their race, gender, or sexuality. Today, I am proud of my Jewish heritage, and I always speak up against racism and other forms of discrimination when I see it. I love you, just the way you are.

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