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August 23, 2010

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sifter

The Black Forest region in Germany is called Shvartzen Vald. (forgive me if spelling is off.) While it can be used in a derogatory manner, there is nothing inherently racist about using 'shvartz'.

"Cushi' is slang, but it does not equate to the hate-filled 'nigger'. I have plenty of Israeli friends who can tell you that.

Shmarya

You pick and choose the terms for your convenience, not accuracy.…I, for one, am done being abused during a conversation.

To restate the facts (as opposed to your fantasies):

1. Cushi/m is the most derogatory slur for black people in Modern Israeli Hebrew.

2. Lior freely chose to use it and freely chose not to modify it.

3. You have no factual or logical answer to those two points.

4. Therefore you resort to claiming I have abused you.

You can write all the long rambling comments you want, but they do not and will not change the facts.

D2

"Please.

As I noted previously, Lior did nothing to mute his slur, and he chose to use a term that is highly derogatory.

To say that a man who made no effort to mute his slur would have made an effort if given the choice ridiculous.

To say he meant to say jungle bunny music instead of N-Word music is even more ridiculous.

And to contend that jungle bunny music is somehow less offensive than N-Word music is more than ridiculous – it is insane."

You pick and choose the terms for your convenience, not accuracy. It is then easy to frame the point to your way of thinking. How about, negro, darkie, shvartza, etc. far less potent terms, yet very likely. When someone in the US says shvartza, do they really mean nigger, and are they interchangeable? Of course not. But let the people of the net see what they think.

I, for one, am done being abused during a conversation. I can get that at home. :)

Shmarya

"To argue that Lior would have chosen a less derogatory term if one had been available is, frankly, ridiculous."
Without some logic, details, reasons, or, well, anything substantial, this is just invective. I think it is exactly the point, because it is your interpretation of his words we are examining.

Please.

As I noted previously, Lior did nothing to mute his slur, and he chose to use a term that is highly derogatory.

To say that a man who made no effort to mute his slur would have made an effort if given the choice ridiculous.

To say he meant to say jungle bunny music instead of N-Word music is even more ridiculous.

And to contend that jungle bunny music is somehow less offensive than N-Word music is more than ridiculous – it is insane.

D2

"I don't know whether to laugh or cry."
Perhaps just make your point?

"Kike is worse than money grubber because money grubber is not specific to Jews. But the N-Word, jungle bunnie, darkie, spade, coon, etc., are specific to black people. So your entire argument is faulty."

Being a litte literal, aren't we? Ok then, replace for 'jewbag' (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jewbag). Now please let me know what you think about the argument as I have completely revitalized it :)

"Cushi is extremely derogatory in Modern Hebrew – just ask any Ethiopian Jew."
Well, I have and again did ask. First, the Rabbi was not speaking about Jews, but presumably about black non-Jewish rappers. That said, my associates agree it is not the same thing, though they certainly feel the slight. In one case though we agree it is worse: When it is a Jew using it against another Jew, as one would hope the relationship would further deter the racism. When it does not, it hurts more for the relationship that could have been.

"Modern Hebrew doesn't have a wide variety of derogatory words for blacks – yet."
As Israel tends to rip off the best (and worst) of the west, I'm putting my money on nigger, so we're (sadly for us all) in complete agreement on this point.

"To argue that Lior would have chosen a less derogatory term if one had been available is, frankly, ridiculous."
Without some logic, details, reasons, or, well, anything substantial, this is just invective. I think it is exactly the point, because it is your interpretation of his words we are examining.

Scenario: If we asked the Rabbi about using nigger in the translation instead of cushim and explained the impression it has to Western English speakerz and he said "God forbid, I would never do that. I was being somewhat mean, and believe I am right that they are not, as a culture, good people (or whatever his almost undoubtedly racist reason is), so do not regret using the word cushim, but I would never have said something so overwhelmingly loaded with negative connotation." I would accept that. I infer you would not, and would insist it be translated as you do, irrespective of his intentions or statements. If I'm right, I understand your position that the word cushim axiomatically translates to nigger, and you (presumably) mine that it does not. If not, I would appreciate you letting me know how you would interpret that scenario differently.

Shmarya

Kushiim is not nigger. AN can consult with all the goyisher editors in the world.

It's derogatory like, in Hebrew, "blondi" is used for pale people.

You are either an inveterate liar or a fool.

Baffled

Kushiim is not nigger. AN can consult with all the goyisher editors in the world.

It's derogatory like, in Hebrew, "blondi" is used for pale people.

I'm baffled--why does this blog and its fans dabble in crude incitement that anyone with knowledge of modern Hebrew knows is bs?

Reaching for the N-word to get hits is pathetic.

Unless you're Michael Richards, then it's just

COMEDY MAGIC!!!!!!!

Shmarya

In my opinion, most of what allows nigger to be so bad is that it is non-specific. Coon, for example, has specific meaning(s). Just like kike has the potential to be much worst than money-grubber because it's only limited to what people put on it, not a formal definition of the words.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Kike is worse than money grubber because money grubber is not specific to Jews.

But the N-Word, jungle bunnie, darkie, spade, coon, etc., are specific to black people.

So your entire argument is faulty.

The question is, if cushi meant to him what nigger means to us, would he have used it? They do not have the level of negativity or impact in their respective cultures, though they are both negative

Please.

Cushi is extremely derogatory in Modern Hebrew – just ask any Ethiopian Jew.

Modern Hebrew doesn't have a wide variety of derogatory words for blacks – yet.

To argue that Lior would have chosen a less derogatory term if one had been available is, frankly, ridiculous.

What matters is that Lior chose to use a highly derogatory term for blacks, and the best translation of that term in American English is the N-Word.

D2

Shmarya,

"Spook, spade, coon, jungle bunny, etc., are only less offensive because they are less well known and less used."
I disagree, and so does my understanding of common usage and scholarship, not to mention common sense (my opinion of it). Frequency is an element, but not (in my opinion) in the way you use it. I won't go into this point again unless you specifically request as we clearly agree to disagree.

"Their level of offense has nothing to do with their particular origins or etymology anymore than the N-Word's offensiveness has anything to do with its origins or etymology."
I agree there is something to this, but not on all levels. In the general intent of these terms I agree; there is a non-specific negative meaning. In the specific however, it is not true. In my opinion, most of what allows nigger to be so bad is that it is non-specific. Coon, for example, has specific meaning(s). Just like kike has the potential to be much worst than money-grubber because it's only limited to what people put on it, not a formal definition of the words.

"Past those very obvious facts, Lior's use of cushim was the worst derogatory term for blacks in Modern Hebrew."
Yes, you keep saying this, and I keep saying that does not mean they map. The top of a scale which goes to ten does not match the top of a scale which goes to one thousand. I won't go into this point again unless you specifically request as we clearly agree to disagree.

"To convey that, the proper English translation is the N-Word."
The way I see it, you are saying that the top of any two scales of similar measure MUST match up, just to point out that they are each at their respective end. But that, again, equates ten with one thousand. I won't go into this point again unless you specifically request as we clearly agree to disagree.

"Because, you see, Lior did not seek a less inflammatory term and he did not in any way minimize his use of the term cushim."
Again, it seems he chose a negative word. I assume he did so on purpose. The question is, if cushi meant to him what nigger means to us, would he have used it? They do not have the level of negativity or impact in their respective cultures, though they are both negative, and I will even cede you the point that they have the same general meaning and intent. Nigger, though, goes to eleven (points if you get the reference). I won't go into this point again unless you specifically request as we clearly agree to disagree.

"But that is another inconvenient fact you choose not to understand."
D'oh! You almost made it to the end without attacking me personally.

I did not 'choose' to not understand it. I understand it differently than you.

I disagree with you. I believe I'm correct. But, I respect your opinion. Even if I may think you are being obstinate and contrary (and I have no way of knowing this, just a possibility) I will not say that about you. Similarly, though I could be "choose[ing] not to understand", I would hope you could do me the courtesy of considering my arguments rather than my self.

Anyhow, it's been interesting. I hope this is food for thought for others, as it has been for me.

I hope good things come from you.

D2

A Nuran,

"D2, your position is defensible and worth further discussion. I don't happen to agree with it, but it's not one which can be casually dismissed."

I think I'm tearing up. A cordial response in this blog.

I agree it's not simple.

One thing I do think is that, regardless of whether one of us is right, there's a lot to be said for picking your battles. (begs the question what I'm doing arguing on a blog!) That one, at least from where I am at this point in my life, is not going to get me to drop RATM, SOAD, Metallica or Beethoven anytime soon. Not even for MBD or YBC. At the very least they need to add more letters to their acronyms.

I think of it as you are what you eat. You can eat, bad, good, a combination, too much, too little, at the wrong times, etc. Once I start laying off the weekly BBQ and/or Le Marais I can start to worry about some of the more subtle elements like more calcium and C, than just reducing calories and transfats. Thus, I imagine our discussion would be of greater significance in more ratified company.

Cheers, and thanks much for a very pleasant response!

heychey

I love all types of music, from issac stern too chopin, to the grateful dead, to techno, not so much jungle, that feels oppressive to me that is. Where music defiles the environment with what is spoken in the music, I agree with the Rabbi, but we must remember winton marselles, miles davis, and you probably have never heard of little johnny jones and the swanee quartet. But i think the Rabbi was listening to rap music that was degrading to the life around us. Put some headphones on and turn it up. Respect for others. Oh yeah you must not forget my years with a belly dancing band. Get rythm, when you get the blues, go on get rythm, johnny cash. I would consider yanni music, but not my style. I like to dance, I love to dance and praise GOD.

Shmarya

Spook, spade, coon, jungle bunny, etc., are only less offensive because they are less well known and less used.

Their level of offense has nothing to do with their particular origins or etymology anymore than the N-Word's offensiveness has anything to do with its origins or etymology.

Past those very obvious facts, Lior's use of cushim was the worst derogatory term for blacks in Modern Hebrew.

To convey that, the proper English translation is the N-Word.

Because, you see, Lior did not seek a less inflammatory term and he did not in any way minimize his use of the term cushim.

But that is another inconvenient fact you choose not to understand.

D2

Shmarya,

"Are you insane?"
Whether I am or not, your ad hominum attack is counter-productive to the dialogue, though if it makes you feel better...yet I will say it would make 'me' feel better if you would refrain, at least within our conversation.

"Do you think usage of jungle bunny and spade and darkie have increased or remained constant?"
No, I believe they have been in decline, as I imagine you do. What I do think is that 1) our society has become more polarized, so it's all or nothing leaving only neutral or nuclear.
2) By corollary, racial arguments have become more generalized (by analogy, in most places in the US I believe people only know two negative things about Jews, that they own the banks/media, and are perpetrating atrocities on the Palestinians. Still, I would not say that 'kike' and 'money grubber', are the same. Would you?)
3) They have also become more taboo and thus decreased in usage (or vice versa), yet are still not equal to, or have the same meaning as, nigger. What they do have is the common attribute of casting baseless and unjust aspersion on a group. It's ironic that nigger is more egregious, yet it's totally due to context and inference, not the actual meaning of the word, unlike 'coon, for example. Same thing as with Yid, Kike, slope, WOP, etc.

"Past that, the N-Word originally meant dark skinned people. It was not pejorative. But, over time, it became a racial slur."
Agreed, that's what I've said, and restated, from the beginning.

"In the same way, darkie, jungle bunny, and the like do not have separate meanings or connotations."
Of course they do, they just have the same goal and effect. Please, look them up in a dictionary. I did and it they all same the same thing, as do the scholarly works. That is, in essence, that they are all derogatory to blacks, but to a greater or lesser extent relative to one another, and depending on what they specifically refer to.

They are all derogatory terms for black people with the same definition as the N-Word."
Does 'coon have the same definition as watermelon eater, cotton picker, darkie, or or jigaboo? While they all have the same intent (i.e., as above, to cast aspersion on black people because of their race), they may do so related to specific attributes or different degrees.

Feel free (duh, obviously :)) to look it up in urban dictionary, dictionary.com, or in Google scholar for more academic works. It's what I did.

"Cushi is the definitive anti-black racial slur in Modern Hebrew."
I can only say, beyond referring to what I wrote above, that the latest posting by " Mr. Apikoros" states it well:

"As Israel doesn't have a huge black population like the United States, and blacks were never enslaved in post-1948 Israel (they were in Biblical Israel), there isn't quite the racial resentment on both sides that there is here. Therefore, there wouldn't be as many derogatory terms for blacks as there are in American (and British) English.

So while it may be true that "nigger" would translate into "Kushi" in modern Hebrew, so would far less derogatory slurs like "spook" and "spade." Note that Archie Bunker (not the guy who used the name here who was actually far more racist than the TV character) called blacks "spooks" and "8-balls" but never, ever "nigger.""

As I mentioned before, showed in the SNL clip, and others have said, nigger is essentially the worst word you can use as a black racist epithet in the US. That does not mean the worst black racist epithet in other countries/cultures must therefore map to it. That flies in the face of any social or historical context. While it is possible in some places that they do match up (say, southern vs. northern US, US and South Africa, England perhaps, etc.) cushi (even as I hear you saying "Cushim is Modern Hebrew's derogatory term for black people.") is not the same as nigger, and he would not have used nigger.

Just to be clear, semantics of language aside, I'm in no way speaking to the Rabbi's comments. Just that, based on what I know of what he was saying, his audience, and who he is, it's just not a fit.

heychey

To Failed Messiah..... i know the day of the Messiahs' RETURN. I have been given the UNDERSTANDING of GOD'S LAW. God sent the MESSIAH the FIRST time to tell the people of the LAW how to LIVE WITH EACH OTHER. Now, presently, they have used law to bind man into corruption, or lawlessness, against his fellow man for propfit? It is callled "filthy lucre". islam was created by the combining of old and new testament- at that time they were stories passed orally- then written. They listen not to the MESSIAHS' words, even though they recognize HIS GLORY. Sharia law as well as talmudic law have been created by men(FACT) and their interpretation of GODS' LAW (FACT). Both oppress and justify their stance with their obedience faith and belief of GODS' LAWS. Unfortunately for some, we must always turn to the TORAH which in turn leads us to GODS' MESSIAH. LOVE one another for time is very short. give to those in need, but not for those who want because you can never fulfill anothers wants and desires. So, what has been done is that they(you) have "legalized" your wants and desires and have killed others for that right. My question to you is, with your LOVE of GOD and LOVE of GODS' LAWS, why would you own or be a partner to industries which are against everything you believe that GOD IS and STANDS FOR? We must look at Leviticus and understand you were once in bondage in egypt to mans laws which allowed you to be treated poorly, and GOD heard yor cries. Praise GOD. All the LAW is in THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS- LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOU HEART SOUL MIND AND STRENGTH, and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. By DOING SO you will fulfill all the other LAWS GOD asks/commands you to do. iF I LOVE MY NEIGHBOR I WON'T COVET. IF I LOVE MY NEIGHBOR ,I WON'T STEAL. IF I LOVE MY NEIGHBOR, I WON'T MURDER. Do you hear the words while you read them? HEAR, God first ask you to be PRIEST to the World, but you said NO(Samuel), and now look at the representation of PRIESTHOOD in the WORLD. OY. Do you see the sorrow around you. Your streets are lined with walls and fences, there is no trust in one another. You have walk away from your blessing by hurting your neighbor. These are reapings of your harvest. The judgement you judge is not a righteous judgement, the reason for the unrighteousness is your righteousness lies in your relationship and how you adhear to the standards that a man ,(Rabbi), that tells YOU the ways of GOD. So if the Rabbi teaches me things that are against God how would you know unless SOMEONE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE LAW OF GOD. How many time do I have to walk across the street when the light is green to make me a "GOOD PERSON"? How many times do i have to cross the street, when the light is red, to make me a bad person. Law does not have the ability to make one good or bad. Law is there to lead us to health and happiness, not to follow after burdens and judgements. God instructed you how to flourish in the TORAH. Thank GOD! Man, on the other hand, with the talmud has led you into where you are at today. Look at the book of the Prophets, they telkl you that you have not kept Gods' Laws. Why do you think you suffer so? You may follow every halacha ever spoken or written, but that does not make you a 'GOOD" person. Laws can not make one good or bad. Isaiah- all my righteouness is filthy rags. Only GOD IS GOOD. Look what you do to each other, that should be enough witness for yourselves. Take the Blessings of God and bless other with that Blessing. The Prophet Joel wrote aout the signs on the earth and in the heavens. The MESSIAH WILL BE HERE WITHIN TWO YEARS. This is FACTUAL KNOWLEDGE. How can I understand the LAW, GODS" LAW, if i have never been taught it? The "rauch" gave it to me, why me?, i have no idea. I do tell you the truth when i say that THE MESSIAH WILL BE HERE WITHIN TWO YEARS.Peace to you, you are beautiful people. Prepare yourselves. BRIDESMAIDS

Shmarya

Cushi would have great difficulty even beginning to match the baggage Nigger has. In fact, Dr. Kennedy seems to argue (I've only perused scholarly reviews, reviews on Amazon, and passages from the book), that it is the definitive racial slur. A far cry from Cushi.

D2, your position is defensible and worth further discussion. I don't happen to agree with it, but it's not one which can be casually dismissed.

Cushi is the definitive anti-black racial slur in Modern Hebrew.

A. Nuran

D2, your position is defensible and worth further discussion. I don't happen to agree with it, but it's not one which can be casually dismissed.

Mr. Apikoros

As Israel doesn't have a huge black population like the United States, and blacks were never enslaved in post-1948 Israel (they were in Biblical Israel), there isn't quite the racial resentment on both sides that there is here. Therefore, there wouldn't be as many derogatory terms for blacks as there are in American (and British) English.

So while it may be true that "nigger" would translate into "Kushi" in modern Hebrew, so would far less derogatory slurs like "spook" and "spade." Note that Archie Bunker (not the guy who used the name here who was actually far more racist than the TV character) called blacks "spooks" and "8-balls" but never, ever "nigger."

Guillermo DaGoy

Sorry for my grammatical errors on my previous post. Too busy sometimes.

I did want to commend Shmarya for allowing someone to call him a "kike" and not ban him. Another ugly perjorative on an otherwise gorgeous day.

Shmarya

So you agree they're milder. That means they're not all the same, as you had suggested.

I said their MEANINGS are the same.

But the N-Word is universally known while the others are not.

S.

So you agree they're milder. That means they're not all the same, as you had suggested.

Also, I'm not sure 20 years old have the necessary experience and education to make the definitive judgments on language, although of course the way they use words will be definitive in determining how precisely 20 year olds uunderstand and use words.

Shmarya

It's interesting too as you've been arguing that all slurs against blacks mean the same thing, yet here you are saying that darkie and the like are milder too the point that to claim that's what he said is covering it up.

They are milder because, for the most part, they are no longer used and are not recognized by the average person as slurs unless viewed in context.

If you stopped the average 20 year old white American and asked him or her for a derogatory word for black people, I'll bet you close to 100% would say the N-Word.

If you asked them for a second derogatory term for black people, many would not be able to name one.

Shmarya

I did not refer to the word, you did. I referred to your generalizations, for which I gave examples to show that a) not all negative words for blacks mean the same thing, and b) the more popular the word, the less taboo it is. Nigger, for example… has actually decreased in usage amongst whites.

Are you insane?

Do you think usage of jungle bunny and spade and darkie have increased or remained constant?

Past that, the N-Word originally meant dark skinned people. It was not pejorative. But, over time, it became a racial slur.

In the same way, darkie, jungle bunny, and the like do not have separate meanings or connotations. They are all derogatory terms for black people with the same definition as the N-Word.

D2

I agree with S., and apparently so does Dr. Randall Kennedy in his book Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word. http://www.amazon.com/Nigger-Strange-Career-Troublesome-Word/dp/0375713719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282762560&sr=8-1-spell

Cushi would have great difficulty even beginning to match the baggage Nigger has. In fact, Dr. Kennedy seems to argue (I've only perused scholarly reviews, reviews on Amazon, and passages from the book), that it is the definitive racial slur. A far cry from Cushi.

S.

>To say that Lior meant jungle bunny or darkie is to cover up Lior's intent.

Not really. What idiot would think it's okay to talk about jungle-bunny music?

It's just a question of accuracy and not sensationalizing.

It's interesting too as you've been arguing that all slurs against blacks mean the same thing, yet here you are saying that darkie and the like are milder too the point that to claim that's what he said is covering it up.

D2

Shmarya,

"You are absolutely wrong. Even a cursory examination of the history of the word proves that."

I did not refer to the word, you did. I referred to your generalizations, for which I gave examples to show that a) not all negative words for blacks mean the same thing, and b) the more popular the word, the less taboo it is. Nigger, for example, while still popular in very specific form (i.e., between black people attempting to portray a certain image), has actually decreased in usage amongst whites. My point is there is a linear inverse relationship between the use of the term amongst whites and the 'taboo-ness' of the term. It used to be more acceptable to use the term. I could theorize it's disuse has been caused by the intersection of racial equality in this country with the rise of political correctness has led to the more potent negativity of the term.

I believe this clip demonstrates the various levels of negativity associated with pejoratives quite well (finally, a use for my misspent youth): http://www.hulu.com/watch/1477/saturday-night-live-word-association

Shmarya

As for the specific rabbi in question, of course no one is arguing that he didn't say anything racist. We're just questioning your decision to put the N-word in his mouth.

Cushim is Modern Hebrew's derogatory term for black people.

The most common, universal derogatory American English term for black people is the N-Word.

To say that Lior meant jungle bunny or darkie is to cover up Lior's intent.

Obviously, he was not thinking about the English translation when he uttered his slur.

But his meaning, his intent, remains. And the English language equivalent of that meaning and intent is the N-Word.

S.

As you well know, languages do not always possess exact equivalents, even though from a translation perspective it's great when they do, and it would be great if all words did have exact equivalents in every language. For example, in English there is no word to express joy at someone's misfortune, even though we all feel it. So we have to resort to using the German schadenfreude. What alternatives do we have? Well, we can use a few words to explain the concept instead of the one word. Or we can find one word that seems close, but the fact is there is no single word that is the exact equivalent, and that's why we use the German.

It doesn't follow that in Hebrew there MUST be an exact equivalent of the N-word. A translator might transliterate the N-word into Hebrew, just like we do with schadenfreude. Or he might use kushi, just because he wants it all to be Hebrew, but that doesn't mean that it is the same word. Why might there not be an equivalent in Hebrew? Perhaps it is because American culture had a unique history involving black people, slavery, discrimination, etc. which Israel did not have. Doubtlessly Israeli history and culture produced words which have no English equivalent.

From numerous literary sources we see that in the South the N-word was not considered genteel, and we find people chided for using it. Thus it could be that the roots of it being considered particularly vulgar is plain old fashioned class snobbery, but so what? The F-word comes from Anglo-Saxon, and was a perfectly legitimate word, and like many Anglo-Saxon words the way English developed, the words of prestige came from French and the Anglo-Saxon words became considered vulgar. Good old fashioned snobbery. But no one will argue that this fact means that the F-word is NOT vulgar, or that even though we have other vulgarities (eg, to screw) that they're all the same.

As for the specific rabbi in question, of course no one is arguing that he didn't say anything racist. We're just questioning your decision to put the N-word in his mouth.

Shmarya

1) They may all be derogatory, and therefore bad, but they do not all mean the same thing. Some may refer to the idea of slavery, mental inferiority, laziness, etc. Yes, they can all be grouped into categories but some are worse than others, and not because they are the most popular.…

You are absolutely wrong. Even a cursory examination of the history of the word proves that.

D2

"Derogatory English language terms for black people all mean basically the same thing.

The N-Word is the most notorious because it is the most common, not because it has some special meaning that supersedes the others.

Someone wanting to translate the N-Word to Modern Hebrew would use the word cushi."

Now that is simply not true.

1) They may all be derogatory, and therefore bad, but they do not all mean the same thing. Some may refer to the idea of slavery, mental inferiority, laziness, etc. Yes, they can all be grouped into categories but some are worse than others, and not because they are the most popular.

In fact, the idea that popularity in any way defines severity of the term is more likely the opposite of true. As a general rule the more common a term, the more accepted it becomes. Words which were once taboo, over time, become passe and new, more extreme words, have to come into use to represent the now larger idea.

Screw for example, is probably more popular (or was at one point) than fuck, but it does not mean that screw is worse.

Finally, screw in it's colloquial usage has the same meaning as fuck, but fuck is the far 'worse' term. This is by socially accepted convention.

And once again, a more extreme term (for example, give nigger a BAD rating of 10) in one language would likely map to the most extreme term in another language even if that term has less associated negativity (cushi only having a BAD rating of 7.5).

Shmarya

The issue is not translating from English, but translating from Hebrew into English.

But the issue also is as I noted above:Derogatory English language terms for black people all mean basically the same thing.

The N-Word is the most notorious because it is the most common, not because it has some special meaning that supersedes the others.

D2

A. Nuran,

That's why religion is a poor description for Judaism. We believe (in my understanding of classic orthodoxy) that God created [the potential for] all. We are here to increase awareness of this, and observe His laws, both mundane and not. Music does not all need to be explicitly singing about God or the Torah, but I think it should reflect the underlying goals and ideals.

Where it gets less obvious (to me, at least) is where we think of things such as percussion vs. melody, tone and meaning, to understand what impact (conscious and otherwise) these elements have on us.

You may consider it unimportant. You (and I) may enjoy it, possibly even to the point of believing that the pleasure makes it worth whatever bad it brings along. I am not a posek to judge such things.

What I do believe though, is that just because someone can make something into an art does not mean it is something we should either laud or do. Torture, pornography, bombs, addictive drugs, etc. all have artistry in their creation, presentation, and usage, but that does not mean we glorify it.

Obviously a longer, and more sophisticated, discussion, and I am not suggesting that music equates with the A-bomb, but I am suggesting that music is a) perhaps even more powerful than the bomb for what it does do, and b) even the most beautiful music could, in theory, be terrible depending on its meaning, use, and impact.

To conclude, it does not always need to be about religion, but it could always be spiritual.

S.

The issue is not translating from English, but translating from Hebrew into English.

Shmarya

Unfortunately there are a number of derogatory words for black people in English. The equivalent of Kushi may well as be "Darkie" (which, in my opinion, is basically "Schvartze" and why it is indeed derogatory). There was no reason to equate it with literally the most derogatory word. You just chose to do so.

Derogatory English language terms for black people all mean basically the same thing.

The N-Word is the most notorious because it is the most common, not because it has some special meaning that supersedes the others.

Someone wanting to translate the N-Word to Modern Hebrew would use the word cushi.

S.

>It is a derogatory term for black people whose only English translation is the N-Word.

>That is why Ha'aretz translated it as a "derogatory term for black people."

That doesn't make any sense. Unfortunately there are a number of derogatory words for black people in English. The equivalent of Kushi may well as be "Darkie" (which, in my opinion, is basically "Schvartze" and why it is indeed derogatory). There was no reason to equate it with literally the most derogatory word. You just chose to do so.

Guillermo DaGoy

I'm not sure I would qualidy as one of the Rabbi's "few good goyim", but I do know thay this is website is one of my favorites.

Well done Shmarya.

Shmarya

I tuned out of this blog because of the misleading headlines a while back. While looking for news of Tropper and his cohorts (now that the summer is over in the Monsey community and he should be gone), I saw this headline.

I didn't even bother reading the article after I saw the misleading headline.…The fact that Ha'aretz calls it defamatory is meaningless except for the spin value.

Please.

In Modern Hebrew usage in Israel, Kushi/m is a derogatory word for black people.

This is a fact. It is not a secret. And it is something Lior knows very well.

Secondly, it is far more accurate for Lior to use the word Kushim than Shechorim here, because the music did in fact originate in Kush. Using the word shechorim would be saying "all blacks have rhythm" and that would be racist.

The biblical use of the term Cush refers to Ethiopia, not to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the music did N-O-T originate in Ethiopia.

Slaves were rarely taken from Ethiopia and sold in the Americas.

For the most part, slaves were taken from West Africa and Central Africa and it is their musical traditions that, combined with European music, became jazz.

Unfortunately, he missed the boat again, preferring to raise an issue that would cause indignation and embarrassment to his readers. I assume his reason for doing so is that loud senseless arguments pull more readership than articles that can be agreed upon in a rational manner.…Still, there seems to be a hypersensitivity to anything that could possibly be construed as racist regarding blacks, IMO. So much so, that the point is missed that calling it Black music is the epitome of stereotyping.

You clearly know nothing about music history – or history, for that matter.

You make judgments based on your own fantasies and errors.

You even deny that cushi/m is a derogatory term in Modern Hebrew usage, even though there are reams of evidence proving you wrong.

And then you whine about my alleged mistreatment of your former community.

How very pathetic.

former charedi

I tuned out of this blog because of the misleading headlines a while back. While looking for news of Tropper and his cohorts (now that the summer is over in the Monsey community and he should be gone), I saw this headline.

I didn't even bother reading the article after I saw the misleading headline.

All through Jewish religious literature, Kushi has been used to describe people from Kush. "mayHodu ahd Kush" is where Antiochus ruled. Moses married a Kushite according to many commentaries. Kush was a large nation of Blacks in the African continent. Lior is an Orthodox fanatic, so modern Hebrew connotations of the word are not germane to his comments. He speaks another language.

The fact that Ha'aretz calls it defamatory is meaningless except for the spin value. They have their own issues with the Orthodox, and if the non orthodox don't understand that Kushi is a term used throughout the literature, so much the better for them. Modern Israel wants people dedicated to speaking Modern Hebrew (where Kushi is derogatory) anyway, not Biblical Hebrew (where the Orthodox fanatics are a threat). At the very least, the obfuscation generated by Ha'aretz's opinion pressures the Orthodox to be sensitive to Modern Hebrew connotations, which is a victory of sorts for the secular Israelis anyway. [And treating respected newspapers' opinions as gospel smacks from a bit of ass licking in an effort to elicit reciprocity, methinks.]

Secondly, it is far more accurate for Lior to use the word Kushim than Shechorim here, because the music did in fact originate in Kush. Using the word shechorim would be saying "all blacks have rhythm" and that would be racist.

Music from the African continent has a backbeat (you can't lose it) and is drum dependent. It became the basis of Gospel and Jazz, which led to other forms of music in the Western world such as Rock and Roll. It is not intellectual music like pre-enlightenment holy music or plainchants (Gregorian chants), where the Church prohibited anything with a beat (sound familiar?) which may lead to physicality.

So this is just an old argument that any music with any physical element is evil from an ascetic perspective. The laity is to be kept sexless, for use by the clergy (from behind).

So there are enough real issues for Scott to attack here, and many of us would agree that music delivered from Africa is a great gift to Western civilization and that this incident is another sign of growing Jewish fundamentalism that is very dangerous. Unfortunately, he missed the boat again, preferring to raise an issue that would cause indignation and embarrassment to his readers. I assume his reason for doing so is that loud senseless arguments pull more readership than articles that can be agreed upon in a rational manner.

It's clear that this blog was started because of outrage to the victimization of Ethiopian Jews and the perception that the latest false Messiah kept his boot on their necks. Still, there seems to be a hypersensitivity to anything that could possibly be construed as racist regarding blacks, IMO. So much so, that the point is missed that calling it Black music is the epitome of stereotyping.

So I'll tune out of this blog for another month or so.

A. Nuran

Heychey, music is created by people for whatever use they want to put it to. Sometimes it's religious. Most of the time it isn't. And so what? Why should everything be religion 24 hours a day, seven days a week and twice on Shabbos?

D2

Isa,

Just to continue, as I left what I wrote incomplete (for me at least ;))...given the broader scale of meaning, and terms, available in the American experience/lexicon, it would be just as easy to map cushi to any number of words, from black to nigger. It's my opinion that the Rabbi, foolish though he may be, would not have gone straight to the top of the US spectrum. In other words, the top of the Israeli spectrum is not the top of the US.

Take care.

D2

Isa,

That's a very superficial argument. Your logic assumes these 'worst' cases equate. In fact, since there's been no slavery or similar history of racial inequality in Israel or among the Jewish people as a nation (certainly not to the degree in contemporary times as the US has had), then the context is so different as to invalidate your syllogism.

As an example, my 'bad' day that I had last week I could not compare to the 'bad' day an Aushwitz survivor had in the camps. Both 'bad' days, both even the worst we've had, completely different meaning. Therefore my 'bad' does not equal his 'bad'. Not a perfect analogy as they are different terms, but I hope you see the distinction.

Isa

In English the worst word one can say regarding Blacks is the 'N' word

In Hebrew I am understanding that the worst word one can use regarding 'Blacks' is 'Kushi'
IF I am right then

Kushi = 'N' word

So the Israeli person who uses 'Kushi' if overnight was turned to be an American would now use the 'N' word

heychey

Music was created to PRAISE GOD. Ask King DAVID. How much music do you hear that PRAISES GOD? Do you sing rap songs that only glorify man? Music is created to GLORIFY GOD, to sing his praises on high. Let the words of you lips drip like honey from the comb. King DAVID is an example of what music is. Why utter words that tear down and destroy, why not sing words that uplift and glorify? Listen to words you speak, do they enhance life or do they speak of the misery of life. The choice is yours, I choice GODs music.

Nobody

" The "black Jews" of Dimona are always refered to as כושים עבריים even in Haaretz. "

Really? Why is haaretz so racist? And why do the Dimona Jews and the American "Black Hebros" call themselves black or kushim? Are they racist too? Against themselves?

Nobody

"What you are doing is in effect saying that goy is not a pejorative word because it means nation, when you know very well that many example of current uses of the word are pejorative.

Someone above noted that you have to hear the word used in context and hear the inflection to know whether the word is being used pejoratively or not.

Ha'aretz heard the word used by Lior in context and reported that usage as pejorative."

LOL, yeah that's real reliable. They just reported. They have NOTHING against Rabbi Dov Lior! They have no biases. They have no political agenda. They are pure and innocent and would never tell a lie; they are more honest than Abe Lincoln and George Washington combined, AND they don't involve themselves in politics! Just reporting. Give me a break. What a freakin joke.

Straight

Question for all the language scholars here:

What is the Hebrew colloquial equivalent of "Kike"? How about "Spic"? "Chink"? "Faggot"? "WOP"? "Congressman?"

Straight

Mamzer,

You ain't really black, just a little dark.

You don't have to lie about your race in order to add validitiy to your opinion.

Also, Shmarya, you Kike,

"goy" is not a perjorative term ever. It is like "homeboy", not positive or negative, but can be used in either CONTEXT. For example: "That homeboy can't tie his shoes!" - where homeboy is neutral, but the context aggravates its intent.

In: "I always knew my homeboys would bail me out!" - homeboy is neutral but the context reflects positively on the reference "homeboys".

BrooklynRecordCollector

"Whoever is more barbaric is noisier."

i dont know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult. but i think that as punishment for reb lior's complete ignorance of music and anything musical, he should be forced to sit in a room and listen to nothing except early sonic youth, lightning bolt, and merzbow, all at maximum volume.

and in regards to the n-word/kushim debate, i think that the n-word is an inadequate translation of kushim, but only because what this brain washing hate mongerer actually meant to say was 10 times worse than the n-word and kushim combined. if there was a hebrew word for "n-word to the n-word power," this guy would surely have said that.

shmuel alef

Effie, maybe Immanuel Kant, but certainly Genghis Khan...

MamzerHaKodesh

Oh my f*cking god. I AM a Black Jew. A member of the African diaspora, and the Judean diaspora.

I've never been called a 'shvartze' or a 'cushin' (or if I have, I've blocked it out mentally. But something tells me that Shmarya is probably RIGHT on this word. I've spoken to friends and read online blogs by other Jews of color who have been called "Shvartze" not as a term of respect or neutrality, but clearly an insult.

I'm GLAD that Shmarya used an inflammatory word in the subject heading; if he hadn't, there's no way most people would have understood what this "rabbi" had really said.

Shmarya

Something is really getting to you,silly.

When someone asks what is he a Yid or a goy?

Who lives in that neighborhood,Yidden or goyim?

Go talk to him er iz a feiner goy or a schlactar goy

In the Torah goy means a nation when referring to yidden or to goyim.

So you really are that ill-educated.

You should sue your teachers and your yeshiva.

anuran

CORRECTION:

According to the sources "Kushim" is pejorative but not necessarily to the same degree as nigger. The cultural context of American racial history and Israeli ethnic politics are different. So the weighting and meanings will be different as well.

Still an insulting term. But comes with a different set of nuances.

Cheskel

""""Are you really so ill-educated that you think goy is never a pejorative word?

Past that, generally when using goy to refer to another nation, goy is modified by the name of that other nation or by another modifier, like the word for other.

When goy is being used to mean a non-Jew, it is often modified, as well. (Shabbos goy, for example.)

But when goy is being used pejoratively, it is often not modified.""""

Something is really getting to you,silly.

When someone asks what is he a Yid or a goy?

Who lives in that neighborhood,Yidden or goyim?

Go talk to him er iz a feiner goy or a schlactar goy

In the Torah goy means a nation when referring to yidden or to goyim.


Shmarya

I was refering to what you said:

Are you really so ill-educated that you think goy is never a pejorative word?

Past that, generally when using goy to refer to another nation, goy is modified by the name of that other nation or by another modifier, like the word for other.

When goy is being used to mean a non-Jew, it is often modified, as well. (Shabbos goy, for example.)

But when goy is being used pejoratively, it is often not modified.

Cheskel

I was refering to what you said:


"""What you are doing is in effect saying that goy is not a pejorative word because it means nation, when you know very well that many example of current uses of the word are pejorative""

Shmarya

A Nuran writes:

I looked through my back issues of Maledicta, an actual scholarly journal dedicated to insults, abuse, blasphemy and other "bad words". I consulted with the editor who is probably the world's foremost authority on the subject.

Yes, "Kushim" and "Kushi" are the Hebrew equivalents of the American English "Nigger". They are just as pejorative.
even though this is true, AC still claims Ha'aretz and I are wrong.

Why?

Because in his mind, only he can be correct, so therefore anyone and everyone else must be wrong.

Shmarya


There is a saying: Good Yiddish makes bad English.Meaning,you cant translate words to be exact.
In describing a gentile,you say a goy. A black person you say a schvrtza. There is no other way saying it in Yiddish.

Lior was speaking Hebrew.

Shmarya

This use of the N* word is an ugly provocation and makes one wonder just what your purpose is with this blog, and I'm pretty sure it may not be what most of the readers and usual supporters like me thought it is was.

You're full of it.

You know very well that cushi is a derogatory term for black people in 2010 Modern Hebrew usage.

But, like always, you have decided that Ha'aretz is wrong and I am wrong. Why? because if we're right, it makes your guy look very bad.

So process this: If you admit cushi is a derogatory term in today's Hebrew language, anything you've written against me in this regard is false.

Cheskel

"""What you are doing is in effect saying that goy is not a pejorative word because it means nation, when you know very well that many example of current uses of the word are pejorative"""



There is a saying: Good Yiddish makes bad English.Meaning,you cant translate words to be exact.
In describing a gentile,you say a goy. A black person you say a schvrtza. There is no other way saying it in Yiddish.

anuran

AC, my experience playing Mahgrebi and Middle Eastern music is limited to a little percussion, mostly doumbek and a tiny bit of riqq.

Even a duffer like me can tell the difference between say Berber and Peninsular Arabian music. But I'm not sure about the "entirely separate" part. At least in what I'm familiar with a lot of the techniques, fingerings, basic rhythms and standard breaks are not confined to just one ethnicity or sub-region.

There are musicologists who refer to "Arabo-Andalusian" music as if the two were not completely distinct.

What periods in history and what level of granularity are you using to make the distinction?

shimon Naftalis

For a site that is sensitive to incitement,you are pretty adept at it as well.
Kushi in Hebrew does not have the meaning of nigger.You may not agree with the Rabbi's opinion but claiming that he said nigger is a little too much.
Shimon Naftalis

Althelion

"Rock 'n roll was conceived in Russia to warp the minds of American youth"
Rev. Jack Van Impe late 1950's

Reb Dov Lior, speaking like a galach!!!
Chas v'shalom!!!

That's one big ass chillul hashem if you ask me.

Hey Reb Dov - It's the beat...the beat...the beat

alternative childcare

"As for use of אפריקאי, the music of North Africa is generally known as Middle Eastern or Arabic music. Even so, someone wanting to distinguish it from black African music could use the term Sub-Saharan African music."

Wrong. As a published ethnomusicologist in Israel, once again this is wrong. North African music is entirely separate from Arabic music, and is known as tzon afrikai, or Ala', or Andalus. Never Arabic or Middle Eastern. Once again, you are betraying the fact that writing from Minnesota on Israeli issues shows that you have no idea what you are talking about on certain matters. This use of the N* word is an ugly provocation and makes one wonder just what your purpose is with this blog, and I'm pretty sure it may not be what most of the readers and usual supporters like me thought it is was.

effie

It's ridiculous to argue that Lior is not a racist. I was only 6 years old and found official definitions of the words that indicated that they should not be offensive. However, I still knew that they were words used to insult people. What's Lior's excuse? Claiming it is a language problem is pretty lame.

effie

Bartley and Nigritude: Growing up I would hear other kids use words I did not understand but created quite an emotional response. I would go look them up in my trusty dictionary. That is how I learned that Niger, a river in Africa, Jaguar, a large South American cat, and Immanual Kant, an 18th Century philospher, really really pissed people off.

justayid

the word "shvartza" has different connotations when used by an English speaking Jew, than it does when used by a Yiddish speaker. In Yiddish it just means black. When used by an english speaker, someone who would never refer to a house or suit of clothes as "shvartze" it definitely has derogatory connotations. Though even then its a tad softer than the N word, if only cause users of "shvartze" are less likely to have used weapons to enforce their prejudices.

My sense from the above is that Kushim is derogatory, but not as radioactive as the N word.

Anyway, if I were the rabbi in kiryat arba, I sure wouldnt want to add to my list of enemies right now.

anuran

I looked through my back issues of Maledicta, an actual scholarly journal dedicated to insults, abuse, blasphemy and other "bad words". I consulted with the editor who is probably the world's foremost authority on the subject.

Yes, "Kushim" and "Kushi" are the Hebrew equivalents of the American English "Nigger". They are just as pejorative.

fakewood

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2DxyAGzGxM

Shmarya

You and Haaretz simply both want to blacken him more - but why bother, his words are bad enough as is. You blew it. It is wierd that you insist on defending yourself - to the extent that the nastiness of Lior's words are forgotten. מודה ועוזב ירוחם

You know very well that chushi and chushim are pejorative words in current Modern Hebrew usage.

What you are doing is in effect saying that goy is not a pejorative word because it means nation, when you know very well that many example of current uses of the word are pejorative.

Someone above noted that you have to hear the word used in context and hear the inflection to know whether the word is being used pejoratively or not.

Ha'aretz heard the word used by Lior in context and reported that usage as pejorative.

As for use of אפריקאי, the music of North Africa is generally known as Middle Eastern or Arabic music. Even so, someone wanting to distinguish it from black African music could use the term Sub-Saharan African music.

But you are right about one thing.

What Lior did is horrible no matter the usage of the word cushim.

Rather than see anti-religious conspiracies spun by Ha'aretz and myself to make Lior more racist than he already is, people would be wise to focus on Lior's actual racism.

fakewood

this summarizes it all.

Dr. Dave

The rabbis are dead set against fornication / premarital sex because they are afraid it might lead to mixed dancing to Boogie - Woogie music!!!

Wankele

I'm really sorry to say it, Shmarya, but you blew it this time. I have lived in Israel for 40 years and the only two words I know for black people are כושי or שחור. They are pretty much used interchangeably. Either can be used in a derogatory manner - depends on context and intonation. You can't say אפריקאי simply because many (most) sepharadi Jews are North African. Look in Ch.12 of sefer Bamidbar, it refers to האישה הכושית who Moshe married. The "black Jews" of Dimona are always refered to as כושים עבריים even in Haaretz. Your headline is simply inappropriate - overkill. What Lior is saying is trash without looking to introduce an issue which is not there. You and Haaretz simply both want to blacken him more - but why bother, his words are bad enough as is. You blew it. It is wierd that you insist on defending yourself - to the extent that the nastiness of Lior's words are forgotten. מודה ועוזב ירוחם

jonathan becker

jesus h. christ on a crutch, shmarya, you are one ignorant cracker. stirring up hate in this way, and using haaretz (!) as your source on hebrew definitions just shows your ignorance and malevolence. really, i thought you spent some time learning the hebrew language, it was apparently wasted time. and now you use your ignorance and disingenuousness to get "hits" and stir up hatred. i agree with you on many matters, and am no fan of the stulpidity spouted by our rabbinical leaders, but you are no better than them, and for the same reasons. shame!

D2

In my experience cushi - and shvartza since the point has been mentioned above - are often used derogatorily. Not that they have to be, just as ‘goy’ is not in and of itself a pejorative. Still, it has so often been used in such a way that it’s developed more than a bit of connotation in the common and to the unfamiliar.
That does not automatically or axiomatically equate it with nigger. This seems to be more of a 'gained in translation' situation, where it may be reasonable to state that the closest analogue to cushi in English is nigger, that does not mean that they are at all equal in the respective culture. From another view, while nigger can be used in a positive-ish manner between black people, cushi 'can' have neutral, but never really positive connotations, so the terms don’t equate in the other direction either. Still, it is inaccurate (IMO) to state (as Shamrya does) they unequivocally are equal. And it is certainly untrue the Rabbi meant it as such. (IMO...again) He would more likely have used something like 'homeboys', 'thugs', or 'blacks', ‘hiphop people’, etc., but with a derisive twang. Regardless of what he would have used, he almost certainly would not have used nigger.

Without injecting my opinion into the matter, the idea of 'jungle music', is certainly not new, nor particularly Jewish. Alan Bloom discusses it in the Closing of The American Mind , and songs such as Jungle Boogie, Jungle Fever, etc., (both under black authorship) associate 'jungle' or more primal elements, with at least black American culture, if not black people. Of course, you can look at CCR's 'Run Through The Jungle' for example, to see it in popular white culture as well.
There are times when it is far easier to appeal to the more primal elements of man to inspire us. These are invariably for the more mundane, physical activities such as sports, battle, sex, or Rocky lifting a large wooden cart during a montage in the dead of Russian winter. That said, this is possibly why the Torah has such strict rules about all but the first and last of the above examples. While it is difficult, the belief I think is that humans are capable of 'elevating' even our most physical actions to a more spiritual level. So, perhaps there's something to the idea of relying on a Bach cantata during a run, than, say, Eye of The Tiger.

Where a Belzer march fits into all this I have no idea.

Mr. Apikoros

As an alternative eternal punishment, the esteemed rabbi can be forced to listen to Carly Simon and James Taylor's duet of "Mockingbird," a song best known by Inez and Charlie Foxx and best performed by Aretha Franklin.

Even though Carly now claims to be black.

Mr. Apikoros

What word Ayatollah Dov Lior used to describe the "jungle" music he doesn't like is almost immaterial.

The fact is that Ayatollah Lior is very much reminiscent of those music executives, disk jockeys, and others who fulminated against rock 'n roll in the 1950's. The spiritual forebears of Ayatollah Lior are those assholes who forced Pat Boone upon us as an ersatz Little Richard and Fats Domino, and Georgia Gibbs as an ersatz Etta James.

Ayatollah Dov Lior, you are a disgrace to both music and Judaism. May you rot in hell while being forced to listen to Pat Boone singing "Long Tall Sally" for all eternity. Why Pat Boone? Because you'd probably get to like Little Richard, especially once you get to "know" him in a Biblical sense.

ruthie

shmarya....
i don't know what to say....but i got a good laugh after you banned someone above.
i think it's so funny. *meant nicely*

let's see....in my experience kushim etc. is not meant in a very nice way.
at. all.
yes, people use the word...but sometimes it's not what you say but how you say it.
just sayin....

zach

Shmarya, ya' know, it's ok to admit you're wrong with this one. The similarities between the words "kushim" and "nigger" are small; the differences are very large indeed.

Nobody

Someone claimed that everyone here condemns the rabbi's message. Well, I don't. He has a right to his opinion about music. You and I are free to disagree. But all of the other people here who termed it in not very polite terms as this other guy I referred to, and instead of "condemning the message" actually cursed this great man, need to do serious teshuva. You wouldn't like it if someone was cursing you on the internet either. Rav Dov Lior does not deserve to be called names and cursed by the ingrates who visit this site.

PishPosh

I always use to hear the word Schormim-Black ones used as a perjorative and more offensive
then Cushim

Ex: Dont go down Allenby at night all the Schorim hang around there.

IH

The right of reply to Lior should be given to Matisyahu.

Nigritude Ultramarine

The word nigger is a southern American mispronunciation of the word Niger which is a river region in Africa

You are correct in that it stems from the South, but more precisely, it derives from the Spanish or Portuguese negro by way of the Latin word for "black" -- niger. Hence, many Southerns say "negra" when trying to say "negro."

Southern by Birth: Ask me anything.

Tonda

"Now "shvartze" was a perfectly good word to use until the shvartzes started to riot in Newark and other places full of Yidden so now it means something worse. I agree with this rabbi in Hebron. A yeshiva bachur I know began to listen to the music of the colored, then he got involved with drugs, and he became involved with heroin, stole from pishkas, stopped davening, ate pork, and finally, went to mixed dances with shiksas. From china no less! Chinese women are stealing Jewish men and so Jewish women cry, this is a fact, and it all begins with this jungle music."

And then Kevin Bacon moved into the small kibbutz and corrupted it with his music and dancing. And after that they made it into a Broadway mucical.

Menachem Mendel lll

To the best of my so called knowledge kushim is pluaral for blacks.

Not dirty fuckin' lowlife "nigger".

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Bartley Kulp

The word nigger is a southern American mispronunciation of the word Niger which is a river region in Africa. The root origins of it are innocent enough. However because of its historical use of that word being completely hate based there is the taboo.

While the colloquial Hebrew expression kushi might be somewhat politically incorrect. It does not have the derogatory connotation of the word nigger.

Streimel Shmuley

Now "shvartze" was a perfectly good word to use until the shvartzes started to riot in Newark and other places full of Yidden so now it means something worse. I agree with this rabbi in Hebron. A yeshiva bachur I know began to listen to the music of the colored, then he got involved with drugs, and he became involved with heroin, stole from pishkas, stopped davening, ate pork, and finally, went to mixed dances with shiksas. From china no less! Chinese women are stealing Jewish men and so Jewish women cry, this is a fact, and it all begins with this jungle music.

Nigritude Ultramarine

Shmaryah,you dirty filthy rat,you know very well that Kushi in hebrew is black and not nigger.

No it is not

Okay, this is just anecdotal, but many years ago, I went on a date with a girl from Netanya. I had never been to Israel, and my knowledge of Israeli Hebrew at the time was scant.

For some reason, I asked her, "How do Israelis refer to black people? "Do you call them Cushim?" I think it was because I had been thinking about a recent discussion I had had with a friend from Israel and another from Iran about whether or not calling Tzippora a Cushi woman was a complementary thing.

Anyway, her jaw just dropped because we were walking about Brooklyn among crowds of people, many of whom were black. As a native speaker of Hebrew, she reflexively reacted as if the people around us could understand the word "Cushim." She whispered to me, "We say, 'Shachorim.'"

Take it for what it's worth. If you don't like it, do your own "field" research. ;-)

Scott Salbo

Actually, as an American Jew, I can tell you absolutely that all words depend on context; who's using the word, what circumstance is the word being used in, and what kind of intonation is being placed on the word. When my American Jewish brethren use the word "schvartza", it is never in a neutral or positive way. There are always undertones. And besides, what should really be important is how the term is taken by those being described. I'm sure any Jew can understand that certain terms used to describe us are offensive, regardless of their dictionary definition.

jay

Methinks the rabbi and "Dr." Coach Laura should hook up.

Straight

"well david, in this context, his whole message is ugly nothing to do with the word itself."

Posted by: Yosef ben Matitya
*********************

Everyone condems the whole message.

Many here are saying that Shmarya is being deceptive and intentionally incediary.

The "rabbi" is in character. At least he is not being a hypocrite. Shmarya is a hypocrite, because he is condemning somebody for using the N-word (although they haven't) while Shmarya uses the N-word explicitly several times. It's like the pot calling the kettle a nigga.

effie

As a native English (American) speaker, I could call AEA an a-hole - and I shall.

effie

I erred: The Isley Brothers does the original and better version of Shout!

harold

Says "Nigger" Music

Did he use the "N" word or was it put in to stroke anti-Semitism by triggering watchdog groups and media outlets that are on the “Google” lookout for people using the "forbidden" word. Now I am asking explicitly if the "N" word was used, not a hebrew translation since one can argue that the term "blacks" is the same as "N" but the later is inflammatory and racist.

A E ANDERSON | Miami, Fla.

For those who insist "kushi" is a translation of "nigger," please, pretty please, outline the comparative etymologies side-by-side and demonstrate how you get from "kushi" to "nigger." Kushi is Semitic if not African in orgin, while nigger comes from the Latin via French or Spanish.

That some DIB, who knows halting English, translates "kushi" as "nigger" "is hardly proof at all, considering that that DIB's English vocabulary is probably limited itself to a thousand or two thousand words. As a native English (American) speaker, I could have offered a grab bag of alternatives: spade, jungle bunny, spear chucker, monkey, coon, darkie, watermelon eater, along with Pickaninny and Jemeima, depending on age and gender.

I would suggest that "Kushi" is closer to "spear chucker" because it resonates in Hebrew with an ancient African tribe or geographic area where they presumably used spears. But that doesn't really work, because "spear chucker" is wholly a negative epithet with no redeeming geographic or cultural usage.

The Wikipedia has a nice article on modern vs. traditional uses of the term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cushi

This discussion reminds me of the "water buffalo" incident at Penn a few years back.

Yosef ben Matitya

it is not in the same league as the N word and pretending it is is misleading at best and incendiary at worst.

well david, in this context, his whole message is ugly nothing to do with the word itself.

Yosef ben Matitya

wow,
he himself looks aryan alright!
but what is he doing among jews?

effie

Obviously, the rabbi has never had the joy of hearing Otis Day & the Knights perform Shout.

WoolSilkCotton

Seymour, I almost always agree with you, but I am a big fan of AC/DC.
This shmuck rabbi does not deserve to listen to the 'Thunda from Down Unda'.

seymour

WSC,
Yiddish is what i speak all day. So i know what word is used when. I don't speak or write Yiddish as the yiddishisten from the forward were they are using it professional.
I understand Yiddish better then you do English. And among thousands of orthodox Jews when they say on a black male "schvartza" its simple said as in describing the person and not in a derogatory way. All the political correctness will not change this fact.

Posted by: Cheskel | August 23, 2010 at 06:03 PM


yiddish is also my first language, but in reality it all depends on context. But usually it is derogatory but not necessarily

I think we need to lock this guy up and make him listen to 24 hours of ac/dc and then he will be rocking like a metal head

David

While Kushi is a derogatory word it is not in the same league as the N word and pretending it is is misleading at best and incendiary at worst.

I am not defending this nutcase of a rabbi but that doesn't excuse distorting the record. Were he speaking in English would he have used the N word? Almost certainly not. So why do you put words in his mouth?

As an analogy, would you say that any derogatory word for a Jew in any language translates automtically into English as 'kike'? Or are there degrees and nuances in insults particular to the language which don't translate readily?

Spherical Thinking

The word כושי, like the word Negro, was once an acceptable way of referring to Black people, and is today considered derogatory. It is hardly as offensive as that other word.

This is hardly the first of example of disingenuous and sensational headline-writing on this blog. Kinda similar to the Yated.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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