Rip the Peace

Alex Turner ’23 faces harassment for being Jewish


It was in fourth grade. Alex Turner ‘23 was only 9 years old. Their friend was doing a sort of roleplaying game, like playing House, and Turner decided to take part.

“We used to play a game where she was an Egyptian king and I was a slave, a Jewish slave.” Turner said. “That wasn’t fun.”

Turner understood that as a kid, their friend had no reason to know the game’s offensive qualities. Being Jewish, they were unhappy. Discrimination and hatred followed them as they got older. Two years later, a group of peers refused to listen to Turner about their own religion.

“In sixth grade we were taking a quiz on Hanukkah,” they said. “In my group, no one else was Jewish. They said they knew more about my own holiday than me.” 

Belittling Turner didn’t help the grades of the students.

“They got every single question wrong,” Turner said. “Every single question I answered, I got right.”

Students who aren’t minorities or don’t practice Judaism may think antisemitism is a hate of the past. However, Turner has been constantly reminded, even by their own friends, of the evil remaining clotted in Jewish life.

“I had a friend who would constantly share pictures of Jewish actors and talk about Judaism,” Turner said. “All while explaining my own religion back to me.”

In public places, school hallways, and the internet, Turner personally understands the hate that is still around.

“I’ve been talked over,” they said. “I’ve been mocked. I’ve been put down for being Jewish, I’ve overheard things at this school like ‘Jews started eugenics,’ ‘Kanye was right,’ and people wishing Hitler was back.”

Kanye West, who has changed his name to Ye, has been ostracized many venues and corporations for making antisemitic remarks. Turner has been noticing a lot more spiteful comments recently originating from Ye and his fans.

“Kanye is the main cause of antisemitism recently,” Turner said. “He has this kind of cult following. ‘He’s my friend,’ that’s crazy, but everybody listens to him. Marjorie Taylor Greene is an elected, government official and she says Jews have God space lasers.”

While students who say comments like this may think they’re being funny, Turner fails to see the humor. 

“They start saying these things as a joke, and they’ll say it so much they believe it,” Turner said.

Standing against hatred of Jews, and against mean-spirited jokes, Turner understands that antisemitism must be eradicated. This only begins when the issue is acknowledged.

“People like to play down antisemitism and say it’s not really an issue anymore, when it very much is,” they said. “It’s become so normalized that most people don’t actually recognize it.”

Offending someone is not okay, and when Turner sees cruel statements directed at their Jewish peers, they see no purpose. They despise every bit of insolent cruelty.

“People want to have validity to their statements when discriminating against anyone,” Turner said. “The truth is, there is no reason to discriminate towards anybody.”