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February 11, 1983 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-02-11
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from 1
The people in the bar certainly fit the
"Jap" stereotype visually. Their af-
fluence is reflected in their trendy
clothes and conspicuous jewelry. Ex-
pensive tans are in evidence. Much
conversation turns to winter vacations
spent in Florida or the Caribbean.
Visually, the predominantly female
crowd - coiffed, made-up, and dressed
way beyond the local norm - simply
A man, plowing his way through the
crowd, says in disgust, "This is a zoo in
"A zoo," his companion concurs.
The Count on Thursday nights is
unquestionably the focal point of the
trendier, more self-consciously
sophisticated segment of the campus
Jewish community.
As such, it holds what amounts to a
social monopoly for many members of
this group. "It's always the same
bullshit. You see the same people. You
sit there and don't do anything," says
Amy P., an LSA junior and regular at
The Count. "I get so sick of it
sometimes," she continues, "but if I
don't go there, I don't go anywhere. All
my friends are there."
Just the same, says Amy (which isn't
her real name. Like most of the women
interviewed for this story, she asked for
anonymity for "personal reasons."),
"If I wanted to make new friends I

could go to a new bar, but I'm satisfied
with who I am and with my friends. I
can identify with who they are and
where they've come from and where
they're going."
Another woman sums up The Count's
appeal more succinctly: "If a girl wan-
ts to meet a guy, there's an 80 percent
chance that she'll meet him there on
Thursday night in a situation that
doesn't look like you set it up."
Clearly, The Count functions as more
than just another training school for the
future suburban cocktail party set.
Amid all the rather ostentatious revelry
and pointless Charleytalk, important
social phenomena are to be observed.
B GB STUDENT arrives at the Uni-
versity in the fall of the year, eager
to begin the adventure of living away
from small-town Michigan. He is at on-
ce excited and somewhat daunted by
the prospect of meeting new people.
At some point in his first few weeks in
Ann Arbor, Bob is shocked by his fellow
students' frequent use of the word
"Jap." "How can an educated group of
people inflict a racial slur on the
Japanese so casually?" He protests and
is laughed off the hall.
A "Jap," some kind soul points out to
him, is a Jewish American Princess,.
not.a native of Japan. Because of their
unique characteristics, they are a con-
stant source of harmless mirth. Lighten
up, Bob.
Bob is a quick learner, or he woudln't
be here. He quickly finds out just who
these people are and what they are like.
A "Jap," he learns, is supposedly a
Jewish woman from a wealthy family,
loud and obnoxiously abrasive, but an


unbearable whiner. Shallow and
vacuous, she is yet ruthless and cun-
ning. Since her main purpose for being
in college is to trap some promising
(Jewish) law or medical student into
marriage, she is denying a place here to
some guy who would put a Michigan
education to real use. Bob also learns
a foolproof method of spotting one;
either look for a woman wearing a $600
outfit in the graduate or law libraries,
or in the occasional English lecture,
wearing an expensive string of pearls
with a sweatsuit that has never seen the
inside of a gym.
Bob has now gained a useful social
skill in the University community. He
has learned to identify them, and to
satirize the silly, annoying things they
Jewish American Princess. The term
is clearly derogatory, clearly an ethnic
slur. Still, it finds such wide degree of
use. Everybody - Jews and non-Jews
alike - uses it with one degree of
malice or another. It pops up casually
in innocuous conversations and is, on
occasion, expelled through clenched
teeth in overtly racist contexts. Reac-
tionary bigots and nice-guy liberals
alike employ it.
One reason for its near complete
social acceptability is that it is usually
the most benign of racial epithets.
"Jap" does not carry the malicious
sting inherent in the other racial
epithets that so enrich the American
popular lexicon.
In addition, this is one epithet that
was created, and in large part
promoted, by the same group that it
satirizes. As is true of all ethnic groups,
member of the Jewish community tend
to look negatively on the use of the term
by outsiders. "I think it's okay when we
say it among ourselves, but not when
someone else says it," says Lynn R., a
sophomore in LSA. "If one of my
girlfriends calls me a 'Jap,' I know the
person, so I know she's just teasing.
When a non-Jew uses it, you just have to
assume it's an insult."
Another reason is that the all-
important visual aspect of this
stereotype is validated with far greater
frequency than any aspect of any other
stereotype, racial or otherwise. Few
people have seen a group of Poles tur-
ning a stepladder to screw in a lightbulb
or a shiftless black sitting on a stump
eating watermelon.
On any given day, however, it is quite
easy to find a fastidiously dressed
Jewish woman - or a whole group of
such women - on this campus, depen-
ding on where one looks. Since people
seldom test a stereotype exhaustively
or at any depth, this amounts to an
automatic validation of the "Jap" per-
director at the local Hillel Foun-
dation, is a petite, energetic woman in
her mid-20s. She is intensely conscious
of her Jewish identity. For her, there is
no innocuous use of the term "Jap."
She bristles at the mere mention of the
"Jewish people make a statement
when they use the term 'Jap,' " she
says. "They're showing people that
they don't understand the general use
of the term by non-Jews and the hidden
meanings involved."
Pernick argues that the stereotype,
which focuses so much on appearances,
disguises a more profound anti-
Semitism. She equates the use of the
term by non-Jews with other snide anti-
Jewish comments. "All these things are
a way of reinforcing a negative attitude
of Jews. If you add up all these words
and all these attitudes, they add up to
She thinks that people have become

desensitized to the term because of the
frequency with which it is used. "You
keep hearing these comments and
hearing them, and gradually it's not
such a big thing. But it should be."
In Pernick's view, the intolerance
that is exhibited by segments of the
majority of the population is the result
of a lifelong process and is therefore
difficult to combat. The University "is
not the right setting for learning
tolerance," she says. "This should have
been done way back in elementary
school or back in the communities. It's
hard to take people at 18 and tell them
to get rid of all the ignorance they've
built up over the course of their lives."
But Pernick's view seems extreme
compared to those of many members of
the Jewish community.
Barb G., a junior from New Jersey,
says that resentment is born in the per-
ception that "Japs" are ostentatiously
materialistic. "The reason for (friction
between groups) is that a lot of these
people have money. They're preoc-
cupied with being nouveau-riche. There
is a lot of loud money going around.
"There are a lot of people here who
never grew up among Jews," she con-
tinues. "They came to college and saw
their first Jews. For them, if you're
Jewish and have any money, you're a
"I come from an upper middle-class
family and I really resent it when I'm
considered a 'Jap' - because of the
frame of mind that it represents.
"I'm very proud of being a Jew, and
belonging to a very special segment of
society," she says. "But I find that it's
difficult (to be a Jew) in America.
There's less emphasis on Judaism and
more on materialism."
Barb's disdain for materialism is
shared by Marsha G., a senior in LSA
who plans to emigrate to Israel.
"I think there is too much com-
placency in American society," she
says. "Affluence has led to a concern
for materialism, just caring about your{
own well-being, about your own TV set.
"The people on the Diag, wearing lots
of make-up, jewelry, clothes," she
says, "I do not consider myself part of
that group."
Israel, she says after a pause,
represents a chance for a better life
because, "the fact that people have to
grow up with a certain amount of har-
dship and have to deal with basic con-
cerns in their daily lives leads to a dif-
ferent character."
At the same time, Marsha shows
some uncertainty about her ability to
adapt to the demands of life in Israel.
"Like it or not," she says, "I have
grown up in the suburbs, and there is
the question of whether or not I can
make it (in Israel) . . . There is some
question of whether or not I'll be able to
do the things there that I want to do
with my life."
T HE UNIVERSITY of Michigan is
no place for the socially unconnec-
ted. There is no tradition of meaningful
social interaction here. While one does
meet new people here, many real frien-
dships occur between people who come
from the same home town. This is
especially true for out-of-state students.
In general, predominantly Jewish
students from Highland Park, Ill.,
come here and socialize with the other
150 Highland Parkers. Long Islanders
come with other Long Islanders, find
still more Long Islanders, mingle with
a few Highland Parkers, and end their
social explorations there.
It may be only a matter of time
before the University starts using it as
a selling point that one can come to
school here for four years without ever
leaving home.
This cliquishness is taken to ex-

.... ........



Page 1

with the famed man of short sentences and sharp
ideas. On Tuesday, Shakespeare's Pericles Prince of
Tyre holds court at the Power Center.


Pizzeria Uno 's

You know all there is to know about Jewish women,
don't you Floyd? You may be surprised by the results
of this examination of the stereotypes which surround
the Jewish milieu. Cover photo by Doug McMahon.

This Chicago deep dis;
salivating for a piece of th

Return engagement

Page 6

Pig sounds

Page 4

The Guarneri String Quartet returns to the site of
their January concert with an evening of fine music
for four.

Heart of Soul

Poetry, music, creativity. The East Quad-based
Pigs With Wings organization is attempting to keep
the imaginative spirit alive with readings, concerts,
and a high-flying mascot.

Kevin Rowland's Dexy
in the soul, and their r
number of followers to
Rick's hosts The Core, a
rocks American.


Pages 7-10

Hemingway speaks

Page 5

Your guide to fun times for the coming week in Ann
Arbor. Film capsules, music previews, theater notes,
and bar dates, all listed in a handy-dandy, day-by-day
schedule. Plus a roster of local restaurants.


This week's review ta
new album by the populai

Performance Network holds a theatrical interview

Weekend Weekend is edited and managed by students on the Weekend, (313) 763-03'
Friday, February 11, 1983 staff of The Michigan Daily at 420 Maynard, Ann Ar- Daily, 764-0552; Circulatic
Vol. 1, Issue 16
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Margo Pernick: Warns of anti-semitism

14 -WeekendEebruary 1L 1,9 3-----------------------------------------------

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