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A Big Chore Down

I was drafted to cater the post-keynote reception for a conference on music in South Asia going on today and tomorrow down at school. I was told that the reception would be for "twenty to forty" people, which is organizer-speak for "I have absolutely no idea how many people will be coming to this." As it turned out, at least forty, possibly fifty, people wanted to hear this particular keynote speaker. Fortunately, all the cooking and shopping and totally anal compulsive planning was up to the task. Everyone loved the reception, and all the food was eaten, which is a great relief to me, because I don't have to bring any of it home.

I'm going to have to start charging the music department to do this next year.

Speaking of which, I got re-hired as a TA for the Intro to World Music class! Yay! I think there were more senior grad students ahead of me who got the independent instructor slots, so I am happy to TA again.

In other news, this article annoys me. I don't disagree with the vast majority of what Mr. Herbert has to say -- there is indeed a severe racial bias in the way that news is covered in the United States, and the ongoing slaughter of Chicago Public School children is a highly newsworthy event. But what annoys -- irritates, angers -- me is when he dismisses the murder of Johanna Justin-Jinich as just another sensational story of an attack on a young, pretty, white woman.

Johanna Justin-Jinich was Jewish, and she was specifically targeted as a Jew, by a man who wrote in his journal that he thought that murdering Jews was a good and acceptable thing to do. This was a murder that caused the town's only synagogue to close its doors for several days in fear. This was a murder with anti-Semitism at its heart.

Anti-Semitism still exists in this world. It did not die with Hitler. The fact that the majority of Jews in the United States are middle-to-upper-class and white, does not make them any less Jewish or any less targets for determined anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism exists, just as racism exists. Don't ignore either of them.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 15th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
but this? Unacceptable.

Absolutely. The goal should be to make the pie bigger, not to fight over the too-small pieces.
May. 15th, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
If anti-semitism had died with Hitler, a lot of research would had been carried out since down, to find out how that niracle had happened, and a vaccine against racism would have been devised...

I can understand that you are annoyed.

Oh, and for a brief second I thought you were actually going to South Asia! :-)

May. 15th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
to find out how that niracle had happened,

Sometimes, I suspect that Goyische America is under the impression that, because We Defeated Hitler, and because we never went quite as far with anti-Semitism as Europe did, therefore anti-Semitism just doesn't exist in the United States, except when people express an opinion that Israeli politics might not be all that and a bag of chips (I think there's a small minority that believes that Israel is the 51st state in the Union, too).

I only wish I were going to South Asia! Alas, it's just the conference theme.
May. 15th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
I used to do the catering for conferences in grad school. I loved doing that!

I also saw several disturbing articles about that girl and I found myself really wondering what editors are thinking if they allow such writing to represent their news organizations--how can anyone miss the fact that this young woman was targeted for one reason only (not to mention, as you said, the terror it caused to the entire surrounding community) and not understand how completely wrong it is to treat this lightly. It goes along the same lines as the sentence those people got for murdering that hispanic man. One despairs over the world ever making any progress.
May. 16th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
The people at the Franke Institute were very surprised to hear that a grad student was catering one of the receptions. It is kind of fun; I like cooking and baking and putting together something nice and elegant that will make people happy. And I like knowing that all the food at the reception will be as fresh and tasty as can be, and that the table will be laid beautifully. I like going to select the fruits and vegetables, and I had a good time chopping it all in the kitchen.

But all the same, it was work, and it was kind of a chore, and although I'll get reimbursed for the materials (i.e. the food), I don't get paid for the labor this year. Next year, though, I will charge if someone wants me to put on a nice reception.

how can anyone miss the fact that this young woman was targeted for one reason only (not to mention, as you said, the terror it caused to the entire surrounding community) and not understand how completely wrong it is to treat this lightly.

I suspect that it's because skin color trumps just about every other source of prejudice in the United States. I was discussing with a friend the similarities between drag and blackface -- one is fun and acceptable, the other really isn't. The best explanation we could come up with was that it's okay to play with gender, but it's not okay to play with race. Race trumps gender, and both trump something as complicated as anti-Semitism many times over.
May. 16th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
You certainly should charge, Pony. That's a lot of work even if you do like cooking and baking. I have a friend who used to have a catering business and I even helped a time or two, so I know.

I'm just not up to reading the article you linked right now so I won't comment.
May. 16th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
This year, the "payment" is a co-sponsorship credit for the workshop I co-coordinate, which is definitely a bonus for the workshop, plus I get reimbursed for the food bought for the reception out of the workshop's budget. Next year, when I don't have the workshop, then I will charge.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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