December 1998
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Angry Dan's Column

All the Chutzpah You Can Shake a Stick At

by Daniel Strohl

This was taken from an Instant Messenger conversation a while back between me (tex350) and friend Andrew Hartley (ACalebH), a couple o white guys. The chatter at the beginning leads into our main discussion.
All spelling and grammar errors intentional.

ACalebH: How goes?
tex350: not bad. and you, sir?
ACalebH: Doin' alright... lotsa work to do...
tex350: but who doesnt have that?
ACalebH: No kidding. I've got bulletin boards to make, a paper to write (which im doing right now) and a pilot's license to get (ASAP) . . .
tex350: i'd've thought you already had your liscence
ACalebH: Well, I should already have my license... but I don't. I have to get in before the end of the semester or i get an incomplete in my Flight II class.
tex350: so why havent you gotten it lready?
ACalebH: Getting a pilot's license is a function of time and money, of which I have neither.
tex350: i understand
ACalebH: People are really getting on me to finish, though...
tex350: well, ya have what, less than two months?
ACalebH: Yup. Plus I have three more programs to put on for my hall, and I have to change the date on my most recent program.
tex350: industrious little squirt ya are
ACalebH: Sure. If you say so. I'm gonna try to get some residents to do my BBoards for me...
tex350: aha. not industrious, just full of chutzpah
ACalebH: chutzpah? is that a jewish term?
ACalebH: just wondrin'
tex350: yiddish. you never heard it before?
ACalebH: Yeah, I heard it, but I was never sure...
ACalebH: You go your way, I go Yaweh?
tex350: it means getting others to do your work for ya. kinda pejorative the way english appropriated it
ACalebH: hehe. Yeah. You gotta wonder if society should keep using the word in that context... with racism and shit so rampant
tex350: i think it's part of the language no matter what. that's my view, even though i understand the circumstances
ACalebH: Well, yeah. You've still got African-Americans who call each other nigger (niggah) and then bitch when white people do the same... (though that's a little different, I understand.)
tex350: how do you understand it to be different? (not saying it isnt, just playing devil's advocate)
ACalebH: Some of them may just be joking around, etc. Like me calling you a cracker. The problem comes in when people say a word and don't understand what it means or why it is hurtful.
tex350: so you're saying the context should be considered along with the term?
ACalebH: Absolutely. How many times do you hear people say "can I jew a coke (quarter, etc.)" and don't even consider that it is very derogative?
tex350: ok. but dont you think the expression is out there because of a passive stance on issues such as anti-semitism? one may not think it's very derogative now, but it may have started out that way and the harmful intent abated since then
ACalebH: Right, but a Jewish person would not see it that way.
tex350: ok. so is chutzpah a derogatory term to a jew today?
ACalebH: I don't know. Would someone who is jewish use the term in the same context as others do? If yes, than no, it's probably not derogatory. If a Jew wouldn't use it, then yes, it is. Because it offends them.
ACalebH: Understand that I'm not upset about the use of the word... I'm actually not even sure how we got on this subject exactly.
tex350: cause i used the word chutzpah.
ACalebH: Yeah, but like I said, that didn't bother me...
tex350: have you ever thought that even the word Jew sounds somewhat derogatory?
ACalebH: I agree. Because of the way many people use it today.
ACalebH: I think, though, that people who are Jewish call themselves Jews, so it's okay.
tex350: just like the way blacks call themselves niggas?
tex350: why am i all of a sudden thinking of "amish paradise?"
ACalebH: Yeah, kind of. But you and I can't say the word in any form w/o offending someone who is black. You can call a Jew a Jew, but you can't can't call an AAmerican a nigger.
ACalebH: And I agree, lol
tex350: quite the spelling of the white man's conundrum
ACalebH: hehe, yeah.
ACalebH: i gotta go for a sec
ACalebH: brb
tex350: k
tex350: actually, i gotta leave for class pretty soon. thank you for the very intersting discussion

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