Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Rabbi walks into a bar

A few months ago, a friend posted a video from the TED conference. I have become a huge fan of TED conferences speeches and have discovered some amazing things unveiled by some amazing people.

This particular speech was by Turkish author, Elif Sharak.

She made some interesting and valid points about the fallacy of identity politics. And my buddy heartily endorsed her point of view. But her speech stuck with me, as good speeches do. And I decided it needed some additional context.

You see, it's easy for a Muslim woman, a member of a group that accounts for nearly 1/4 of the world's population, to poo-poo identity politics. It's even easier for a white Christian male, whose numbers also top a billion, to espouse identity agnosticism.

But my narrative, and the narrative of 14 million others is a little different. My generation was born in the shadow of the Holocaust. I don't have the luxury of ignoring my identity. Nor would I want to.

Perhaps it's best summed up in an article by Joe McCain, brother of Arizona Senator John McCain, a man I once admired but who has sadly given way to nutty right wing extremism.

 I hope you'll give this a read.

Besides, if I gave up on self-identifying, I would forfeit my right to tell good Jew Jokes. And that my friends, is worth the price of admission.

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