New York, NY – Comedian Jackie Mason used what some say is a racial epithet in describing President Barack Obama during his act Thursday night, infuriating at least several people in the crowd.
During a performance at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency in NYC, Mason referred to Obama as a “schwartza” — some say it’s equivalent to the “N” word — others say it’s just part of the Yiddish culture and a literal translation of the word “Black.” We’re told one person walked out fuming, “He’s more offensive to the Jews than Madoff tonight.”
TMZ spoke with Mason by phone, and he was outraged at the criticism, saying, “I’m not going to defend myself. Chris Rock has told a lot more jokes about whites than I have against Blacks. What about the demeaning words Blacks say about Jews?”
Mason added, “If it’s a racist society, the white people are the ones being persecuted because they have to defend themselves.”
Mason called people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson “professional racists.” Mason added, “I’m an old Jew. I was raised in a Jewish family where ‘schwartza’ was used. It’s not a demeaning word and I’m not going to defend myself.”
And there was this parting shot: “I’m more talented than Oprah Winfrey and look at how much she makes. I can’t even make a living.”
Rev. Al Sharpton sent a statement saying: “At this stage in Jackie’s life and career he should get our prayers more than our responses. It is sad that maybe he forgot he used the same term against Mayor David Dinkins when he was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York City and got in trouble for it. As for him attacking me, maybe he forgot that he has had me on his TV show and has taken me to dinner and commended me for forgiving a white male who tried to kill me by stabbing me while I was leading a non-violent march. I’m sure Jackie just forgot.”
mason didnt forget the last time he got in trouble before dinkins even became mayor calling him a “swartza wit a mustache?” what a yutz. the fact of the matter remains that obama is not only half black and half white, his white half is more white and more american than any of us american jews from eastern europe only one or two generations out.
shvartze is just a description. i grew up using it to describe people with black skin. it was in now derogatory.
Uh oh. The Secret Service guys are coming.
hoy your an idiot. theres nothing wrong with shvartze and obama isnt any more american than any jew other than the fact that we consider ourselves jewish first.
People who are Yiddish speakers, who have that word in their language, meaning a black person, should be allowed to use it. I think that same word is used in German actually, which is where the Yiddish word came from. Why are there no demands that the German people and language stop using it?
Political correctness gone amok.
Even if you say that times have changed and that the Yiddish and German language must change due to modern American PC notions, older people like Jackie, who grew up in another era, should be grandfathered into the previous language freedom of expression and be allowed to use them.
In all seriousness, what is wrong with the word schwartze? To me it means a black person. I use that word when I talk Yiddish. What other word should I use? If anyone claims that it is a bad word, I’ll stop using it immediately, but please tell me which word to use when referring to a person of color.
I was raised in a chassidishe home devoid of racism. I went to college and had many African Americans working for me in a major brokerage house. The word “nigger”
is said in Yiddidish as a “neyger” and meant Negro before anyone used the word African American. For most yiddish speaking Jews “Shvartzer” means a Black man and the terminology was used predominately in a non derogatory way unless the rest of the sentence was also demonizing our black brethern.
I think Jackie is right on when he says that Chris Rock and others use similar language when depicting “whites” and Jews. When he calls Obama “Swartza” it’s just like when he refers to Jewish women as “Yenta.” Learn to laugh a little. This is comedy. I love Jackie. He always makes me laugh.
Many Jewish people have the last name Schwartz, which means black. Some non-Jews have it too. Maybe they should forced to change their names? After all, Schwartz shares the same root as Schwartze.
Why are these people allowed to have such names in our modern and and ‘enlightened’ PC world? They should be forced to change their names ASAP, and, if they dare to refuse, they should be fined for every day they dare to keep and use such names!
isn’t it “shvartza” not “shwartza”?
We all agree (and it’s the truth) that there’s nothing negative with the word Shvartsa.
People are so uptight about everything in this country, that even the use of words is being made illegal. Society is full of this artificial politeness– known as “PC”.
Thanks to Al Sharpton you are finally being reasonable and I like that you gave him the benefit of the doubt. Kol Hakovod. Hats of to you
A guy who has 2 years in accounting, a carribean “afro-american”, who bought his store from an Auschwitz surviror, (who also taught him all he knows), says, “Look, a ‘shvartze’ like me got elected”.
My English German dictionary:
African-American also Afro-American : der Schwarze (ein Schwarzer)| die Schwartze
My English German dictionary:
African-American also Afro-American : der Schwarze (ein Schwarzer)| die Schwartze
oh puleeeez! A customer emails me in spanish saying they dont want the blackberry 8100 pearl in white, they want black.. well i used google transelate and black is *gasp* Negro…
Uh oh.. am I a racist now ????
What about honkey ? please they (the blacks) are worst racists than we are.
I don’t agree with Mr. Mason’s defenders. Be real, we all know the term is demeaning, no matter what it means literally. Mason should apologize and hang up his tired shtick. Despite his troubles, Pres. Obama has proven over and over again he is a mensch. He deserves admiration and respect, not racial slurs. (BTW, “politcial correctness gone amok” ? Just imagine if Chris Rock used the work “kike” in his routine. The geshray would be heard from NY to LA and to the moon!)
Sharpton and Jackson ARE big time professional racists.
more offensive to Jews than Madoff? madoff didnt offend anyone just robbed them blind. whether ‘shvartza’ is offensive or not , jackie’s chris rock comparison is dead on
Jackie Mason is one of the more outrageous comedians around. He NEVER forgets he’s a Jew first, he says it how he (& all of us) sees it & I think he’s incredibly talented & hysterical.
After the Crown Heights riots, I and a group of activists met with him privately. He was very supportive, furious beyond expectations, & worked behind the scenes to make changes. He is what I call a “professional racist.” As part of his performance he points the finger & insults everyone…INCLUDING & ESPECIALLY JEWS. Have any of his critics sat through a show? I have. It was hysterical & he picked on our foibles & strange ways with unerring accuracies. He picks on Jews, Italians, Arabs, Blacks, women, gays, car mechanics, sanitation men, cops, teachers, actors, Rev. Al, Everyone! But being a “professional racist” is not who this man is. Read Fat Al’s comment. Even HE knows the truth.
You go, Jackie! You are damn right, you have nothing to apologize for! If it was President Bush or Sarah Palin they’d be giving you a standing ovation. In a humorless world Jackie Mason make us all a little happier.
When I’ll order a black coffee, I will say, ” Can I please have an African American coffee? I’m afraid to use the word “Black” I’ll be called a racist.
what then is he? pink?!
Anyone who is offended by the word Schwartze, needs to get a life.
It is the ONLY non-derogatory word I know in Yiddish for black person.
The other choice are:
Tinkile – meaning “Dark one” or “Darkie”
Fekete – The Hungarian equivalent of the “N” word
Shuchoir – Just the Hebrew word for black, sometimes used derogatorily.
Heck, one can say “African American” in a voice tone of derision also.
It all goes in the context and voice tone.
But, just as there are people who through no fault of their own are hypersentive to certain innocent food, like milk, tree nuts, peanuts, etc., ant can go into shock from contact with them….. they call it an allergy.
So, there are some people who are allergic to words which describe people they are hypersensitive about. So, some people are allergic to the word “Schwarze”.
Maybe in they simply put an allergy sign outside:
Notice: This comedy routine contains the following words: Schwarza, Yiddine, Yenta, milk, tree nuts.,
I mean… my G-d…. what are we supposed to call them in Yiddish?
I always thought Schwarza was the most innocent of the labels.
Does any one remeber the word “cholera” like in shwartza cholera that is the yiddish eqivulant to the n. word
This term is used as a racial slur. We need Jackie Mason to use his humor to discredit Obama’s very wrong domestic & foreign policy, not his father’s race which is irrelevant & racist here.
I’m surprized no one had a problem yet with Arnols Schwatzenegars name.
Would you folks like it if Chris Rock got up and did a routine about all the Hebes and Kikes in Congress?
just to echo what many have said, but the world MUST realize -shvartze means BLACK. just like saying “barak obama, our first BLACK/SHVARTZE president” nothing wrong.
a person can ask – a visse(white) or a shvartze(black)
It doews not have a deragatory connotation.
Now it CAN be used in a ngative way, but so can anything depending on context.
However it is NOT like the “N” word which is never positive.
I grew up in the South. Nigger was an acceptable word to use in conversation. Should I keep using it in 2009 now that I moved to NYC because that’s how I was raised? My daddy meant nothing bad by it. He even used to bring fried chicken to his elderly tenants on rent day because they enjoyed it. No kidding. Go figure.
amazing how ‘they’ can use the ‘n’ word thirty times in every sentence (between many other beautiful words)but I f a white guy uses it OY A BRUCH!!
Their are more people in the phone book with the name “schwartz” then with the name weiss (vas)
Are the ones complaing about the also the same people who who thought it was hilarious when that no-talent machshefa Sandra Bernhard “joked” about Sarah Palin getting gang raped?
when a person in a yiddish sentence or conversation uses the term schwartze in the context of the language it may be OK. When english speakers use it. it smacks on racism. In my congregation we have several frum african american members. I asked them what they thought, they look at term as the n-word. When people use the “s” word I ask them if they would go up to one of our african american (or black if you prefer) Yidden and greet them good shabbos S-word. NOT. sorry but we can call jackson and sharpton racists but that does not exclude the frum world from being at times and by some people insensitive to people of color. Gee my zaide and yours got the same as Jews the k-word and H-word, etc.(and we still do today) from bigotry. even if we think our words may hurt, ar we not supposed to watch our language?
And from what planet do you come from, when I was growing up and all through college as well as in the Army, I was called, Kike, Maki, Hymie, christ killer and an assortment of other names I care not to recall. What word would you like to substitute for Schvartza, I speak fluent Yiddish and there is not other word in the Yiddish vocabulary to describe a person of color. I know lets use the Roita, perhaps that will make you and the rest of Jew Haters happy. But please do not say we have not been subjected to the same abuse as blacks. We just deceided to handle it differently. When we were told we could not attend college we did not sit back and cry or go out and rob stores, we started our own colleges, when we were denied addmission to various professions, we did not sit back and cry and sell dope we started our own schools. When we didn’t perform to standard in schools our parents didn’t acuse the teachers of racial hatred (even if it was true) they let us have it and made sure we excelled at what we did. When we could not get jobs because of Shabbos or religous hatred we did not go on welfare, we started our own businesses. And now you have the audacity to say we should be more sensitive.
I’m more offended that he did a show on Shabbos.
Here is the nub of the problem: “You shoud call people whatever they wish to be called, and refrain from calling them what they don’t wish to be called.” Why? What gives someone the right to dictate to me what I must call him?
You gotta love Jakie! hes awsome!
what about the hebrew word; kushim which means black. should we also ban this word as being pejorative.?cut the nonsnese. that jackie went to lunch with sharpton is really a shame. sharpton was a major figure in the crown heights pogrom.
i am amazed to see sgharpton taking such a high road, and giving mason the benefit of the doubt. makes sharpton look good and mason look even more foolish.
I guess they want the Germans to change their lexicon and dictonary as well. It seems that we must adapt to whatever the currently politically correct term of the day is, It used to be Colored People as in NAACP, then it was Negro, then it was Blacks, now it is African American, by the way what is a Black person in Germany called an African German or in France an African French, I think not, oh by the way I have a very good friend from Capetown South Africa, he is now an American Citizen, I guess that he is an African American, but no he is white so how can he be an African American, that makes no sense. That seems strange since he is more African American than the Negroes born here in the USA and have been on welfare for 3 generations or more. Oh by the way why hasn’t the NAACP changed their name to the NAAAA, I for one think colored people is more derogatory than Schvatze
Years ago Jackie called Davis Dinkins “a schvartza with a mustache” and got hell for it. So what is new? Lighten up people! It’s good to laugh every once in a while.
Say what you want in private, but what’s so hard about watching what you say in public? You can describe a person in many different ways w/o saying “shvartza”.
Its a comedy show, has anyone ever went to a comedy show where nothing racist or anti semtic was said. When you go to one you have to expect it. Im not saying it was racist im just saying even if it was, thats a comedy show for ya!
I thought the NY Post cartoon was not racist at all becuase it attacked congress, not the president. However, shvartze is racist. I agree that there is a double standard and there are different rules for white people than for black people. Be that as it may, we have to watch what we say, especially someone in the public eye.
Would the reporter in the video get in black commentators’ faces about things like that? Of course not. Is it fair? No. Why is people of color acceptable and colored people not? Double standard? Why is the NAACP allowed to call themselves colored people and a white person is KKK member if he says something like that? The rules are unfair but those are the rules. The rules are not oppresive and we must live by them.
If this is such a terrible offense, Sharpton, Jackson and Jeremiah Wright should protest all German speaking countries until they conform to our PC notions and change their language.
If I’m not mistaken president Obama received some 98% of the black vote in America. you can’t tell me 98% of blacks agree with his policies. I think everyone has a little bit of racism in them.
And in other news, Al Shapton ‘persuades’ Arnold Schwarzenegger to change his name.
Schvartza = Black
Schvartza = Black
I am in no way an Obama supporter but we all know “shvartza” is not a nice word although its definitely not like using the N word. Jackie Mason should have been more careful not to use this word. Yes Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are the biggest racists of our times, but that’s not a excuse for anyone else to use unfriendly words.