I gripe about this a lot (in both my blogs), but let me go again.
I wonder, I just wonder if, I am ever going to be considered a “normal” human being.
I wonder, I just wonder if, people are going to stop asking me, “so, how are you Jewish?” or (even worse) “How did you become Jewish?”
One of the reasons why it irks me is because this experience closely resembles my condition in Japan, where I am constantly being asked, “So, how is it that your Japanese is so good?” (Why do you bother asking? I don’t have an accent or anything. It’s strange to you only because you think I shouldn’t be fluent in Japanese.)
In both places, the problem is that, “I look like I don’t belong.”
In American Jewry specifically, there’s this very fundamental problem (with both the Jewish and non-Jewish world) that relegates all Jews who are not white as “somehow, not looking Jewish.”
It kind of astonishes me that some Jews sometimes even relegate Middle Eastern Jews as “not looking Jewish,” or “not being standard Jews.” Uhhh, sorry, no, Middle Eastern Jews probably look a lot more Jewish—the way our ancestors in the Torah did—than you “white” Jews.
Staying an exotic animal who always requires a tag of explanation is not such a pleasant feeling. It certainly makes me feel like wherever I go, I remain a foreigner, that I have no home. Or, maybe, I should just print out some name-card size cards answering all the FAQs about me. Would you prefer that?