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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.

Comments

elliska
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.
frenchpony
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.

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