Shiksa is the “N” word of the Jewish community. It is so often used jokingly that we can forget that it’s a vile, sexist, racist word. Somehow, perhaps because sexism is still tolerated in a way that racism is not, “shiksa” is more acceptable than the equally despicable “shvartze.” Yet, when asked, most people who use the term “shiksa” will defend their word choice with the argument that it is common parlance for denoting a non-Jewish woman, and not intended as an insult. But, whatever the intention, it remains a crass insult, and reveals a state of mind that embarrasses us as a community.

Zeek‘s Dan Friedman takes the Jewish community to task for its ongoing invocation of the word “shiksa,” in this week’s Forward.