Thursday, April 24, 2014

One of these things just doesn't belong . . .

היום תשעה ימים  שהם שבוע אחד ושני ימים בעמר
Today is nine days, which is one week and two days of the omer
גבורה שבגבורה
A day of strength in a week of strength

My husband, Ken, is an engineer in the film/video production world. He works as an independent contractor for companies large and small. When first hired by many of the large companies he needs to fill out a form in order to become an approved vendor. They need to know that all the paperwork for his company is in order--license, insurance, taxes. Pretty standard stuff. But today, while filling out a form, he called me over to look--there was something that seemed very unusual.

This particular form had a section to declare whether or not the business in question was minority owned. Nothing odd there---yet. If the answer was yes, you were instructed to select one of ten categories. There were the ones you would expect--African-American, Hispanic American, Native American. Caucasian Female looked a bit odd, but I get this, taking out any confusion as to which one non-white Female would select. I'm not sure I would think of Handicapped or Service Disabled Veteran in this sort of selection, but okay. There are three Asian minority categories--Asian-Indian American, Asian-Pacific American,  and Subcontinent Asian American (the hyphens are theirs). I don't know what I would choose if I was of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean descent--they seem to be left out of this list. Nor do I know who would be considered in the Subcontinent Asian category, since they seemed to have people of Indian descent covered.

But none of those were the reason Ken called me over to look. No, the category that caught his eye was Hassidic Jewish. Hassidic Jewish???? Really????  How does that belong there? Yes, Judaism is an ethnic religion, but at this point, anyone can convert to Judaism of any sort--which includes becoming an Hassid. And why would an owner's religion have any bearing on a business's minority status. To my eye, there is something very wrong here.

This is so out of left field, it makes me uncomfortable. I understand that there may be governmental advantages in hiring a minority owned business. But this is a country that is supposed to be founded on the principle of separation of church and state. Including Hassidic Jewish in this lists seems counter to that principle. I'm not sure how that got there and why--and I may be a bit paranoid, but it doesn't feel like any reason would be a good one.

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