Children celebrating Purim disregards appeal for unity between minorities, furthers divide.

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Graphic by Julia Leitner ’23

Purim celebrators struggle to realize how offensive their outfits truly are.

Julia Leitner ’23, Staff Writer

 A group of kids in Lakewood, New Jersey did not seem to realize the harm that they perpetuated when trying to continue a holiday tradition. This tradition, for a Jewish holiday called Purim, is to dress as a member of another culture to appreciate their ways.

This year, a group of children dressed up as Black Lives Matter activists, wearing afro wigs, Black Lives Matter sweatshirts and dashiki shirts. The majority of these items are worn by Black people to express Black pride and to continue to further the idea that Black is beautiful. They are also worn to fight the inequality and injustice that Black Americans endure on a regular basis. 

Black face has such an upsetting history, and continuing to partake in this activity as a part of a religious celebration is insensitive and cannot be justified.”

These children did not seem to be embracing anyone’s culture or fighting for Black America. Instead, they seemed to be mocking it. Wearing these items of clothing and shedding a more comical light on the situation seems to only worsen an issue of racism and injustice, continuing to ridicule the ways of Black America.

 Although the entirety of their outfits were offensive, the most insulting and derogatory part of this incident was the use of Black face. Black face has such an upsetting history, and continuing to partake in this activity as a part of a religious celebration is insensitive and cannot be justified.

As a Jewish person myself, this occurrence upsets me. Jews are constantly facing discrimination and hatred, and it isn’t right for us to continue to do the same to other minority groups. In a world with so much bigotry and inequity, people that face similar oppression and discrimination should be able to unite and be stronger than their challenges.

I also believe it is a responsibility for Jewish and Black people to advocate for each other and fight for justice and equitability. The Civil Rights Movement has a rich history of cooperation between these two groups, and it is shameful to see this relationship neglected by careless ignorance. 

Lakewood, New Jersey has a very small Black population. Living in a predominantly white town myself, and going to Staples, with very little diversity, allows for me to look at this story differently and use it as a sense of reflection. 

Although these children and their parents partook in an extremely derogatory way of celebration, I believe that their ignorance regarding the situation stems from their limited exposure to minorities. This is something to look closely at as I, as well as every other white student at Staples, can easily fall victim to oblivion rooted from lack of exposure. Due to this, it is more than important to ensure that we are constantly conscious of our actions and continuously reflecting on how we can do better. Without constant self awareness, it is easy to continue this vicious cycle of racist occurrences and limited change.