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Dad Apprehensive About Sending Son To Jewish Camp After Older Son Was Bullied For Being Biracial

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Having children of mixed race and religion often brings all sorts of obstacles that can make parenting all the more difficult to navigate.

A man on Reddit whose children are biracial and Jewish found himself in this difficult situation when his oldest son got bullied at a Jewish sleepaway camp for not “looking” Jewish.

Given that son’s experience, he was reluctant to send his younger son to the camp too.

He wasn’t sure about how he’d handled things, so he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by JewishSummer on the site, asked:

“AITA for not wanting to send my younger son to a Jewish sleepaway camp after my oldest was bullied for his race?”

He explained:

“I will try to keep this short. I’m Black and my wife is White. My wife is Jewish and we are raising our kids Jewish. Our kids (10-M[ale], 7-M, 4-F[emale]) have both of our last names.”

“There is this Jewish sleepaway camp that my oldest, Adam, goes to every year. This is the first year he was eligible for the 3.5 week trip. He was excited to go and meet new friends.”

“One of the boys in the 12 year old group was picking on Adam and another kid who was adopted and Asian saying they don’t look Jewish.”

“He was asking them why they had Jewish last names and were at a Jewish camp even though they weren’t Jewish. Adam told them that his mom was Jewish so he was Jewish.”

“The kid kept going on and on and Adam said, ‘Are you really stupid or just playing stupid? We already told you that we are Jewish. Leave us alone’.”

“Adam got talked to about calling someone stupid and was told that if he couldn’t be nice then he couldn’t participate.”

“I think the other kid was talked to but I was pissed that Adam got told off for defending himself and another kid.”

“Adam said the 12 year old made comments throughout camp but he just ignored it because going to the counselors didn’t stop it and he didn’t want to get in trouble for defending himself again.”

“Our son Levi was scheduled to go to camp today. He’s only doing 4 days sleepaway because of his age.”

“It’ll be his first time going to the sleepaway camp and he was already nervous but still excited.”

“After Adam’s experience and the counselors response I wasn’t too sure about letting Levi go. I told my wife that we should rethink it and she said that I was being too sensitive.”

“She said these kids probably get made fun of for being Jewish all the time so it makes sense that they are going to pick on the kids who stick out now that they are in the majority.”

“She said I have no idea what it is like to be the only Jewish kid in school so I have no right to take away this experience. We argued for a while before I asked Levi and he said he wanted to go so we will be dropping him off soon.”

“My wife is still mad at me and thinks I am trying to erase their heritage. Am I wrong for not wanting him to go?”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this conflict based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And virtually no one could blame OP for being worried about his kids in this situation.

“NTA. If your wife understands how difficult it was being the only Jewish kid in school, surely she can imagine how difficult it is being the only mixed race child at this camp.”

“And I’m shocked that she thinks it’s okay for kids to work out their bully issues by transferring that anger to her own child and bullying Adam for three weeks?”

“That is NOT OKAY. I do know that sleep away camp for Jewish families is a huge deal, but maybe this just isn’t working.”BBMcBeadle

“The wife’s logic if ‘Well,they are probably bullied for being jewish,so they can bully our mixed race son’ is unbelievable. I was bullied for years due to my chronic illness and my weight. Did I bully anybody? No.”

“If I had done so,I would like to believe that my parents would have told my that being a victim does not mean you get a free pass to become a perpetrator. The wife is TA here.”Interesting-Issue475

“A good compromise might be looking for a different camp. I can see why the concept of a Jewish sleep away camp feels important to OP’s wife, but there are camps out there that will deal with bullying more appropriately.”my_best_space_helmet

“NTA a white woman just told a black man that he’s not only too sensitive about racism and a lack of response to racism, but racism to her own child. How would she like it if they were ridiculed for being Jewish?”

“The first Jewish people weren’t even white they were dark skinned so this is extra b.s. That said though, if your kids want to go let them go, or find a better Jewish centric camp for them to go to that doesn’t let kids just continue to be racist to each other. I doubt this one counselor was the only one to overhear the discourse.”Affectionate-Fee5841

“Tbh there is a lot of anti black sentiments in Jewish communities unfortunately especially pertaining to certain branches. In this situation the wife is TA because she in clear terms told both her black husband and biracial child to ‘suck it up’ in regards to racism and inequality and fails to do her job as a parent and a should be ally being she has mixed race kids.”

“If I were her husband I would view her differently for how causally she can disregard racism and wonder what their kids would be subject to when under her supervision. OP your kids will always be biracial but they many not always practice Judaism.”Cultural_Piglet_9732

Hopefully this family can find the best way through this.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.