J.A.P. or B.A.P.? You Decide.

10 Sep

My family is on to me.  Just look at the card my older sister Sarah sent me for my birthday last week.

If you are unable to read the note, Sarah writes:

Saw this Pez Princess and couldn’t resist–maybe she’s the girl you always wanted to be?

Like I said, my family knows about and supports my blog, and in turn supports my humorous obsession with race and race relations.  So, do I wish I was a Black American Princess, a B.A.P., which according  to Wikipedia and The Urban Dictionary, is a pejorative term that refers to black women of upper and upper middle-class background, who possess (or are perceived to possess) a spoiled or materialistic attitude.

I was once dubbed an Honorary Black Person by a co-worker, but I don’t recall her giving me the title of Princess.  Do I ever wish I was black?   I suppose from time to time I’ve wondered what it would be like to live life as a black woman.  I wonder how I’d see myself if I had to think about my race so often.  I wonder how others would see me.  After recently re-reading Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin’s 1950’s account of how he, as a white journalist, dyed his skin to pass as a black man in the South during the Jim Crow era, I asked my daughters what they thought of their Mom trying the same temporary experiment today.  They just gave me these looks that said they were one part scared, and one part thinking their mother had lost her mind.

I’m Jewish.  The idea of the Black American Princess stemmed from the earlier stereotype of the Jewish American Princess, or J.A.P.  Again, according to the cornucopia of knowledge, Wikipedia, a J.A.P. is similar to a B.A.P., and in addition, a  J.A.P.  is “overly-concerned with appearance, and indifferent to sex”, with the latter her most notable trait.

Of course, I don’t want to see myself as either of these sexist stereotypes, but if I had to pick one, I suppose I’ll have to stand by my Jewish sisters, as I give props to Gilda Radner and her famed Saturday Night Live character, Rhonda Weiss, who personified the quintessential New York J.A.P.

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