Black Jew Dialogues tackles racism during Diversity Week

The Black Jew Dialogues combines fast-paced sketches, improvisations, multi-media, and audience participation in an attempt to tackle one of the biggest issues of past, present and future generations: prejudice and multiculturalism.

The comedic play came to FIU on Wednesday, April 6, during Diversity Week and was staged before an audience of more than 50 students. The play involves two characters, Ron Jones “The Black” and Larry Jay Tish “The Jew,” from two different cultures. The duo traces the history of the American Black-Jew experience to the present day.

“To deal with who we are, we have to deal with who we were,” said Jones.

The play recounts historical moments when Blacks and Jews have to come together to survive slavery and immigration to the United States, to gain respect and advance their races in a racist society.

Jones and Tish are critical of the use of humor as a façade for discussion of difficult issues. They asked the audience to open their minds to see the world clearly through other’s eyes.

“Turn off your bias, willful disdain, ignorance, bigotry and blindness,” said Jones. Tish added, “Turn on your peace, tolerance, hope, love and patience.”

By poking fun at their own cultures and themselves, the performers challenged the audience to analyze the mentalities of society, about how seemingly harmless jokes can, in fact, be hurtful.

At one point in the play, Tish screams at Jones saying, “Start swimming out of that hole, it’s been 60 years since the Civil Rights movement! It’s the 21st century! Tell your people to lift up their pants and just deal with it!”

Jones replies, “That’s messed up.”

“Just keeping it real,” Tish says mockingly.

Tish eventually apologizes to Jones, because he realizes how hurtful his words were.

Jones and Tish poke fun at the stereotypes of Jews and Blacks by describing them as “Feareotypes,” one of numerous terms the duo invented. One “feareotype,” for example, happens when we lock our doors while stopped at a red light and a homeless person approaches.

“I know this is going to offend people, that’s the point, and hopefully instead of walking out, they will stay to discuss with us what bothers them,” Jones said. “The only way to get over a problem is to get through it, and deal with it.”

–Denise Rodriguez