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Do you think the following picture is racist?

It seems that a bunch of folks found this picture racist, heck I myself found it racist, but that was probably the placebo effect of everyone telling me that they found the picture racist and offensive. Naturally I had to jump on the liberal bandwagon because I knew for certain that no real frum folks would find this offensive. Of course that’s because anyone who is really frum is naturally a closet racist. How else could we be the chosen people, root for the death of amalek and be in support of slavery (albeit the halachic kind which is a lot more politically correct than the American kind and non-fair trade sweatshop in India kind) without being actual racists.

Apparently the picture is of a young chabad girl saying tehilim on the 3 train and the 3 train does look exactly as shown. Chabadnicks and black folk are the one’s who ride the 3 train (I’m told that hipsters are going to invade Crown Heights soon and according to many, this picture is obviously racist because it doesn’t show any skinny jeaned anorexic apathetic white folk) Fortunately I am both rabidly right wing and quiet liberal (depending on who’s shabbos table I’m at) and I can tell you that the liberal in me definitely saw this in a racial context. How the heck am I supposed to know who rides some random NY subway train? All I can see are some mean savage looking black folks and the nice girl praying to the Lord that these savages don’t hurt her.

The right winger in me doesn’t see anything wrong with the pic (as I mentioned above, there is this placebo effect that happens when someone points out something you may have missed) though I do feel this is like those Jews who think everything is anti-Jewish and Antisemitic in many contexts that are clearly not.

Find more frum art on 4torah.com

{ 41 comments… add one }
  • Gary November 6, 2012, 7:54 PM

    I don’t get it at all, why is this racist?

  • jennthejewess November 6, 2012, 7:59 PM

    wow in a million years id never ever think that was a Chabad girl. All i saw wen i looked t the pic was a bunch of black latinos. That Chabad girl looks totally Latina and reading a novel prbably 50 shades. How many Chabad girls look like that…basically Latina…DARK DARK DARK and now i finally see when i look CLOSELY she is wearing a skirt. Also wh in the world carries such a huge Tehillim?? Even if one would think she is Chabad there is nothing racist about this…this is what the 3 train looks like albeit usually many more people riding it. ANd why the heck is she standing if so many seats? shes in heels for gds sake!

    • jennthejewess November 6, 2012, 8:00 PM

      sorry abt the spelling im exhausted…and i meant blacks AND Latinos

    • EmEs November 7, 2012, 1:23 PM

      I know the artist and the subject and they are both Chabad. I know both of their families and they are Chabad as well. Chava is amazingly talented and her painting is accurate

  • Anon November 6, 2012, 8:25 PM

    No not really

  • Ben November 6, 2012, 8:43 PM

    I do. It’s the fact she has her back to them, while they glance at her sideways. It’s all in the subtleties.

    Where was this published?

  • dan November 6, 2012, 9:51 PM

    Looking towards the person taking the picture? Or towards a pretty girl? Why does race enter into this I’m sure you have been on a bus or train and white people were at the back.

  • Daniel November 6, 2012, 9:59 PM

    Yeah, seriously, I don’t see anything racist about this picture. I had to read your explanation to figure out what to even look for. I just saw a girl reading a book on a train.

  • Anna November 6, 2012, 10:55 PM

    Sorry to barge in – but I am so puzzled by why anyone would find this racist I had to respond.

    Seems like normal behavior to me.

    No matter the race or religion of the people – I find it very normal when riding on a train or bus (even an elevator) to put ‘space’ around you. This is what this woman seems to be doing – creating her own ‘private space’ to read by turning her back to a group of people.

    This is what I would do – this is what commuters do all the time, that I’ve seen. You try and develop/maintain a private space when in public.

    (I commuted, for many years, via public transport and there are various ways people have of creating ‘their space’. The ways differ depending on how crowded it is.)

    I’m female – I would do the same as this woman is doing – especially if a group of males seems to be sitting together and there aren’t many people on the train/bus. Wouldn’t matter the color of the group of males.

    For people who see this as racist – how many years have you commuted via bus/train – you’ve never seen behavior like this?

  • rafael November 6, 2012, 11:00 PM

    why is she standing if there are seats?

    • tesyaa November 7, 2012, 8:04 AM

      must be saying shmoneh esreah

  • Dena November 6, 2012, 11:16 PM

    I don’t see what is racist about it?

  • huh November 6, 2012, 11:44 PM

    how does race factor into this? what kind of weirdo looks at this and looks it’s racist?

  • A. Nuran November 7, 2012, 3:20 AM

    If the three guys were Hassids and the girl was reading the Quran would it be any different?

    • Critic November 7, 2012, 8:27 AM

      As someone who travels on the IRT number three train to and from CH on a daily basis I can attest to the fact that this painting is simply portraying facts on the ground.Except for another occasional Chabadnic I’m usually the only white person in the subway car when it’s in or around the the CH area.

    • Critic November 7, 2012, 8:33 AM

      This from a comment on Facebook.
      “The most ironic part of all of this is that the woman in the painting (a friend of mine) is often taken for other ethnicities, and has herself been the object of racism, albeit not “as a Jew.” Still, she does know what it is like to be followed around in a store…”

  • Anonymous November 7, 2012, 6:20 AM
  • Ber November 7, 2012, 7:38 AM

    The only reason the hipsters are not on the train is because are riding their bikes.

  • Dan November 7, 2012, 8:27 AM

    Hesh, you’re gonna have to explain to us right wingers what the possible racism is, so that we can argue about it.

  • Martin J November 7, 2012, 8:28 AM

    At first glance I thought that Chaya Mushka was wearing a leotard. Much to my relief she was adorned with tznius

  • Schwartzie November 7, 2012, 10:48 AM

    Why is it racist to paint black people? It might be racist if the person who painted this picture opened their mouth and sounded like *some* of the Lubavitchers I know, but the picture itself doesn’t seem racist to me. They don’t look like they’re doing anything but sit on the subway like anyone else.

  • Prometheus November 7, 2012, 10:57 AM

    I would not have perceived the standing woman as an observant Jewish woman because the attire looks fashion forward more than traditional. I would not have likely considered her Jewish at all, but that could have been an error. The men looking at her looks like, well, what one might observe on a subway train. Yawn. “Racism” factor = zero.

  • Avrumy November 7, 2012, 1:46 PM

    Not racist.
    Nice to know there are Hispanic Chabad girls out there.

  • Miriam B. November 7, 2012, 1:52 PM

    Whatever, the fact that woman is wearing red, albeit the rest of attire is basically frum . . . creates a sense of frustration . . . knowing full well that no-one has noticed it . . . What? Red?

  • embracing eden November 7, 2012, 3:41 PM

    are you frikkin kidding me???? racist??? all that is a picture of a young girl praying on a train. only the most pessimistic people can take such a picture and twist and turn until they can find something to complain and mope about. i mean, seriously grow up !!!! i dont even understand why this is a topic of discussion.

  • AlmightyMexijew November 7, 2012, 8:48 PM

    Who is the subject? She seems like she could be cute 😀

  • Yechiel November 7, 2012, 9:52 PM

    I don’t see anything racist about this. It’s just liberals and your yetzer haliberal trying to convince you that a picture with black people on a subway looking at a woman is racist.

  • ISR November 8, 2012, 5:24 AM

    If anyone is wondering why this is racist – it seems Heshy left out the accompanying text see http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/11/chabad-racism-345.html#more
    This puts everything in a different light.

    • Critic November 8, 2012, 9:14 AM

      Who was the racist here? the artist? all she did was paint a picture of her sister on the train paying. The caption is not the artists. (BTW This was one of the pictures that was shown to Oprah when she visited Crown Heights and will probably be aired on her show in Feb. The artist would certainly not select to show this painting if she intended anything racial)

      So who was the racist? the person who added the caption? all they were doing was looking for a “stock photo” of someone learning / praying on the train and purifying the air and probably have no understanding of art or the composition of paintings. So please do the the world a favor and give him/her/them a call and let them know that they are a racist…they have no clue!

  • ISR November 8, 2012, 5:27 AM

    My previous comment with link is waiting moderation – but check Failed Messiah for the taxt that accompanied the picture, it was the text that some found to be racist.
    Heshy – Not like you to omit this crucial detail!

  • BZ November 8, 2012, 8:15 AM

    I still don’t see anything racist, at least against minority groups. Racist against non-Jews maybe, but all Orthodox Jews are one way or another.

  • Alter Cocker November 8, 2012, 12:50 PM

    Nothing racist about the picture. I am sure whoever created the picture did not write the caption so I don’t see what Heshy is complaining about here.

    If you create a picture, you’re not responsible for captions that other people add.

  • Guido November 8, 2012, 2:07 PM

    I really think you are crazy. Do you smoke rare things? Please tell me where do you buy your stuff!

    The girl clearly is NOT suspecting anything, since her bag is “at risk” in her back. Her face doesn’t look panicked at all.

  • Conservative SciFi November 9, 2012, 11:15 AM

    While I may not be the most leftwing person who ever posts to this blog, I’m definitely on the liberal side of things, and I cannot see how this is racist without a deliberate explanation. Some tired, probably hardworking people, are looking at a woman standing and reading a book. Even if we add in that the tired looking people are black, and the woman looks hispanic, I don’t see the racism. She might be standing for a million reasons, ranging from she sat all day at work, she’s getting off at the next stop, the train slowly emptied but she’s engrossed in her reading, etc. It’s at least as likely a racist picture as the reason the woman is standing is because the she’s reading an illuminati description of the grail and realized that she’s the grail itself (see Dan Brown’s books).

  • Bubba Metzia November 10, 2012, 6:40 PM

    If someone thinks that this is racist that means that they’re actively looking for something to complain about and seeing racism where there is none.

  • Armywife November 11, 2012, 5:59 AM

    I think you need to post about what happened in Gaza. All the men need to go defend.

  • Truth Man November 11, 2012, 10:22 AM

    By publicly accusing Frum people of racism, you have totally violated the prohibitions against
    lashon hara and motzi shem ra in the worst possible way;
    you have placed a weapon in the hands of people who hate Jews, that they can use to harm Jews;
    you are an enemy of the Jewish people, and your place in Gehinom is guaranteed.

  • Mindy November 29, 2012, 10:35 AM

    How is this racist?

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