When thinking of which six words I would use for The Race Card Project I had to ponder for a bit. I automatically thought of the fact that I am Jewish. Being so, I often get questioned about what holidays I celebrate or why we do certain things. Going to BGSU I do not really come across many others from my religion. Since this is the case, most of my peers and friends have really never been around someone who is Jewish. This came as a culture shock to me as well as for them. Where I grew up, in Cincinnati, there were always peers that were Jewish even at my public school. Transitioning from there to this university was very different. It was strange to not have anyone around that I grew up with that I could share this religious connection with.
I then thought of specific experiences I have had that could help me choose my six words. For example, last year one of my friends asked me if I celebrate Thanksgiving. This was very hurtful because as they well know, I was born in Ohio and have lived in the same city ever since. It is just strange to me that people are so unaware that just because I am Jewish it does not mean I do not celebrate “American” Holidays. Another example was this past Easter. Some of my friends were shocked that I have never celebrated Easter nor had an Easter basket before. It really upset me that those who I clearly care about do not care about my background enough to know what I do or do not celebrate. It may be because I am their first friend who is Jewish, but most should have an understanding of the basics of each religion from school over the years. Whenever anyone, especially my friends, makes ignorant comments about my religion, I know they hold their own dear, makes me feel like an outsider. Because of this, seclusion immediately came to mind when thinking of six words. My roommates this year would constantly talk about Church, which I completely understand. Since this was the case, however, I always felt left out. This is because I knew it was something that they could all share, but I could never be a part of it.
I could have made my six words on seclusion or ignorance, but I wanted mine to be more meaningful to not just me, but my family. My grandparents were both in the Holocaust. My grandmother lost both of her brothers as well as her father during this time. She was lucky that her mother was very resourceful and was always finding ways to keep her and her sister safe. For example, her mother made sure she lied about her age. To this day, we still do not know the real age of my grandmother exactly. Regarding my grandfather, I do not know much. He died when I was only four so I never had the chance to really ask him about it; although, according to my mother he never really desired to talk about it anyway. Since this horrid event in time has such impact on my religion as well as my family, I knew my six words had to be about it. I chose “Was all the suffering worth it?” because I have always wondered that myself. I always wondered why Hitler and the Nazis went through so much and hurt so many individuals, some not even Jewish, to commit this mass genocide. Not only this, but even with the mass genocide Hitler and the Nazis were still eventually stopped. Hitler was clearly not as successful as he hoped he would be. This also prods the question as to if it was worth it for him and his followers to lose everything, just like he made millions lose everything. I also chose these six words because they not only identify with the Holocaust, but they can identify with any other religion or race that was once treated poorly or as if they were worthless.