Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jew Online

Strange. In real life I wear my kippah but people barely notice me. I'm compared to a ninja. (Ninja Jew is my unofficial codename). People barely even notice I'm Jewish. Sometimes they'll be sitting next to me, and strike up a conversation, and launch into a rant about Jews and Israel. I just sit there, giving them a stony glare, finally announcing my religion, and then leave. I'm not as bold a debater as I am online- then again, people aren't as vicious as they are online. I've rarely been called kike, but I get called it online so often you'd think it was my first name. (It's Kai, people. Kai.) And then all the comments I hear online about what a great thing the Holocaust was and how they'd like to do that again? Never heard it in person. Maybe it has something to do with my stature (I'm over six feet). Maybe it has to do with the fact that it's mostly 13 y/o boys and they're probably not stupid enough to approach an adult man and say that to him. If they are, well, it's Darwin Awards time. So, when online, I try to only say stuff I'd say in person. No bluffs or hiding behind a screen. Yet, I do act differently online. One noticable way I act differently is my Jewish identity. Day to day, I'm pretty mellow about it- doing what I need to do on Shabbat, wearing my kippah, avoiding bacon attacks. I don't really bring it up in conversation except with other Jews. But online, I must talk about it. I give myself screennames that make it obvious (IceJew). I add taglines onto my comments that make it obvious (Your token Jewish commenter). I even slip it into the comments themselves (Mm that looks tasty- too bad it's not kosher!). Part of it is that I'm acting as a crusader. Another part is... I like being the token Jew. There was one website that I was the token Jew at... I abandoned it.. I need to go back. But anyway, somehow I like sharing the Jewish experience with everyone. Being the token Jew. Showing we're normal. Maybe locating another Jew who's been lurking on the comment boards. On the intertubes I really want people to know that there is a Jew online.