DraMOMic Part 4: Favoritism & Hypocrisy

In the last few posts we got some insight into my relationship with my mother and what 70’s icon she used to tease me.  We also saw some ethnicity-elimination strategies my Jewish family employed that helped form the snarky, stubborn, independent, bacon-eating thinker I am today.

What hurt just a wee bit more than Afro threats or “You are what your mother is” was the favoritism my Jewish grandmother showed my little, pinky-white, blonde-haired cousin.  His parents, Aunt D and Uncle B, raised him as a true Jew – Bris, Bar Mitzvah; the whole bag of gelt.

Grandpa always told me, “You are Grandchild #1! (Don’t tell your cousin…)” – while Grandma doled out immeasurable joy, affection and pride in honor of my cousin’s achievements in everything Hebrew-flavored.

  • “He speaks Hebrew so well!  Why won’t you go to Yeshiva, Lorien?”
  • “He’ll be such a nice Jewish boy when he gets older!”
  • “Awww… did you see the way he lit those candles!? (*indecipherable Yiddish commendation*)!”
  • “Look how cute he looks in a yarmulke! Why won’t you let me buy you a prairie skirt, Lorien?”

Maybe they chose to over-compliment his Jewishness for the absence of mine.  All I can say is, FUCKIN’ Oy!  If I had to listen to that shit on a daily basis, I’d probably be in lockup somewhere not at all suitable for any nice girls, much less “Nice Jewish Girls”.

One year they gave him a 14K gold bracelet for Hanukkah.  Mine was very clearly imitation.  I was so mad about that I gave it away.  His room was chock full of pricey toys.  His money-gifts appeared “heavier” than mine. It seemed my cousin was the better investment for successfully reaching their 100% Jewish standards.


Recently I had a somewhat heated conversation with my Aunt D; the subject of which my fucked-up memory will only tell me had something to do with my upbringing.  It culminated with her saying, “We always loved you ANYWAY!” And it really rubbed me the wrong way.

Seriously, I was NOT a bad kid. No thievery, no drugs, didn’t get left back EVER, never abused my parents, did what I was told (mostly) and never ran away from home.  I was artistic, creative, got good grades; even while going through the trauma of my parents’ divorce in the 3rd and 4th grades.  So despite WHAT atrocity, pray tell, did you do me the “favor” of  loving me anyway?

Sometimes well-meaning people who refuse to admit they’re even a little bit racist will slip, showing their stripes by saying and doing really stupid things.  My Aunt’s statement was spoken almost like she expected a pat on the back or something…

Did she mean, “We loved you despite your being half-brown”?  Maybe…

My dad fessed up to me a few years before his demise that mom’s older first cousin had serious concerns about my parents’ mixed heritage.  She insisted my mother put me up for adoption because I “might come out black.”  Weird that it took me so long to admit that my Jewish family’s strange behavior had a seriously xenophobic undertone.

Mom couldn't have threatened HIM with an Afro-perm!  Plus my grandparents would have LOVED his Yiddish...

No chance of threatening HIM with an Afro-perm! Plus my grandparents would have LOVED his Yiddish…

Coincidentally, that nice-Jewish-boy cousin of mine grew up to have some inter-religious stress of his own when he married a WASP-y, upper-crusty presidential descendant and had children. If you consider his Jewish family’s bylaws, that shit was fucking infuriating ironic.  After all, according to that Chabad website, the soul of the child is more closely linked to its mother.  😉

Next week’s finale: What really happened on Labor Day weekend.

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About LVital7019

Just your normal, everyday 9-5er. An uninspiring position in an inspirational non-profit moves me to constant goof-offery; aimless, on-the-job procrastination; a crankiness that borders on psychosis; and attempting to craft something meaningful with words. Just another so-called-job inspiring someone to feats of insanity with a hint of creativity... (Insert demonic laugh HERE.) View all posts by LVital7019

12 responses to “DraMOMic Part 4: Favoritism & Hypocrisy

  • thetattootourist

    I can not get over how your family treated you! My father’s family is Jewish – basically ripped out if a Woodey Allen movie and my mom’s side is Catholic. She had to convert to marry my dad and my Jewish grandmother completely steamrolled her for not being Jewish enough. It’s hard enough to grow up with a mixed heritage without your own family heaping shit on you for it. I think you turned out great though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • LVital7019

      Firstly – thank you! Second – I’m surprised they did that to your mother being that their beliefs ARE the aforementioned YAWYMI (that Chabad site spells it all out!).

      Always sucks when one side claims superiority over another side when it’s supposed to be about love & combining families, traditions, etc. My mother was all about raising me as “both”; with just enough Judaism to pass (not quite!) but NOW (ever since she had her heart attack) she attempts to draw me as more Jewish than I actually am. Which is endlessly annoying since I’ve had to fight my entire life to BE what I actually am.
      PS – I love your comments! 🙂

      Like

  • maurnas

    What a bunch of racists. It’s always hard when they are in your own family. I am kind of surprised because my family (also Jewish) always brags about how tolerant Jewish people are. We’re non-practicing but I have some cousins that are orthodox and they cant even speak to us heathens for fear of secular contamination.

    Like

    • LVital7019

      Wow. I’m so glad to have a couple of similarly mixed folks commenting on this. I was afraid of coming off antisemitic. I’m only prejudiced against racists!
      That’s kinda funny – my mom’s side totally talks smack about a cousin who suddenly jumped on the wig-wagon. They avoid her for trying to go all religious. Like it’s wrong or something.
      PS- I like that phrase: “secular contamination” 🙂

      Like

  • Tony Single

    The details of our lives are very different, but I can certainly relate. There’s racism everywhere in my little corner of the world, and some of it much closer to home than I’d like. And it’s kind of alarming how pervasive it is. Nobody sees that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LVital7019

      And it’s especially confusing when people can be so intrinsically racist yet make attempts to outwardly hide it and be “normal”. Even more so when you’re a kid being raised in that environment. I’m lucky I had my Dad & his family to balance it out somewhat.

      Like

      • Tony Single

        I’m lucky that I’ve never been personally subjected to it. I guess being a white middle class male will do that, but I’ve seen how it affects people near and dear to me who are much more interesting than I am, and it’s not something I’d wish on anybody.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Aussa Lorens

    Wow. That’s pretty damn horrifying. I don’t understand it at all :-/

    Liked by 1 person

    • LVital7019

      I am almost starting to feel a bit badly since I’ve personally witnessed way worse abuse than this (I could be intrinsically skewed). Bigotry was an underlying thread pretty much everywhere I went back in the day – the apartment complex where we lived was originally built for WWII veterans and was largely populated by Jewish refugees until the 70s started creeping in. Because it was run by NYCHA lots of minorities came to live there and pretty much took over as all the old timers died off.
      I am very touched by everyone’s support. 🙂 Thanks, Aussa!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Gunmetal Geisha

    So here’s the thing. I got the “we love you anyway” vibe when I was a kid, and had cousins who were openly favored over me. But I was perhaps just little a bit of a bad kid (I do contend that they made that way with their behavior…) So I find what you had to go through unpardonable. I don’t think I don’t deserved it either — I was just a kid — but right now, your story makes me steam more than my own does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LVital7019

      Well, ya know what GG? I am myself because of this. My son is the most nonprejudicial person I know, and despite of or even BECAUSE of my maternal family’s behavior I became creative and artistic and forgiving; to a point. I know when to draw the line and I do so by my own standards; not theirs. To their ultimate annoyance, I am also pretty immune to that whole “Familial Obligations” thing.

      Trust me, sweetie – I am good! I very much appreciate your solidarity; thank you! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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Tony Single

artist. wastrel. a quantum of potential.

The Greenwich Village Literary Review

A magazine by writers who love to write for readers who love to read.

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