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Nina Grimes Stewart

Passing: Maybe not as “White” but Still Passing for Something

Today I had a three hour salon appointment and one of those hours was spent listening to my stylist complain about Those Old Jewish Ladies. Only five or so minutes was spent with her regaling me with the tale of how she pretended to be Jewish to get out of a speeding ticket.

As she was flat ironing my hair and complaining about the Horrible Old Jewish Ladies who do nothing but complain I sat smiling and wondering if I was doing the right thing. Should I have gotten up from the chair with my hair half done and caused a scene? Should I have said to her, “I’m Jewish.” Should I have goaded her along and asked her how she knew that they were Old Jewish Ladies? Was it their big noses, thrifty ways or perhaps they stopped to daven halfway though a service?

derjude the jew incitor of war poster

I’m listening and wondering what it would really feel like, what it would look like if I walked out of a salon, head half finished and simply refused to pay. I sat back and every scenario simply had me thinking that I’d look like a prickly ass. Now, I’m not sure that this is the truth but every scenario I imagined didn’t have me looking like a good guy.

When I left the salon I updated my facebook status


The comments that came in were predictable. There were quite a few exclamations Wow and Shut up being popular. I think people were left speechless (as was I).

My friend Navah wanted to know which salon. Quite a few other people asked me to Yelp review it. I’m not going to do that, though I did sit in that chair and know that I could cripple this woman’s business. I’m not reviewing my anti-Semitic hairdresser online because she doesn’t own the salon. Yes, she’s been there a good long time, yes, she’s a jerk, but salons are gatherings of professionals and I don’t want to try and shoot my hairdresser in the kneecaps, miss and then shoot one of her coworkers in the heart. As a side note Navah is incredibly beautiful. If she says to see Diane at Piero salon we all probably should.

This is all figuratively speaking folks. I’m not shooting anyone any time soon.

I don’t have a good reason for sitting there and listening to her nonsense. Not only did I pay and leave, but I left a generous 18% tip (you know… generous by Jewish standards).


My friend Nina Grimes Stewart had a clear vision of me either leaving after a one liner or (more accurately) realizing there’s no point to it anyway. I’m not one to keep things to myself. Trust me, my life could have been a lot simpler with some tongue biting. What struck me about Nina just knowing that some discussions aren’t worth having is that Nina’s father is Milton Grimes, the iconic civil rights attorney. If Nina, who has lived a lifetime of racial discrimination stories at her dinner table, could see quickly and clearly that this woman wasn’t worth my breath I felt vindicated of my inaction.

Sometimes there are discussions that can’t be had. Sometimes I recognize that I’ll be seen as shrill or sanctimonious. Sometimes it’s just not the right audience.

I love Shannon for hitting the nail on the head with her response.


I hear stories of people passing for whatever the majority is. I guess today I passed for Not a Jewish Lady.