**Long post coming up, but I really hope you take the time to dive into just this one facet of antisemitism with me. Reblogs appreciated.
In light of the antisemitism in publishing that’s been highlighted recently, I just want to make a friendly reminder that characters who are canonically ethnically Jewish should be drawn with hooked noses unless a description in the source material outright contradicts that.
It’s not the biggest issue here at all, but sometimes it’s the little things that make minorities feel unwelcome in fandom communities. As a Jewish woman myself, it took me most of my life to love my nose and curly brown hair. All the characters who had them too were villains, especially witches.
When I got older, I learned how these features marked my ancestors as an other. For centuries, the hooked noses and dark curly hair marked them as scapegoats to be discriminated against and attacked and murdered. Now, they’re the features that set off the terrifying amount of people who think six million wasn’t enough.
Still, these features are a connection to a vibrant, loving culture. One that is not celebrated nearly enough.
But characters like Nora Holleran from Red, White & Royal Blue and Emma from Something to Talk About and Molly in The Upside of Unrequited start to fill this hole in media. They are the examples of beautiful, caring, desirable Jewish women who embrace their traditions and are more complete people because of it.
So you can start to imagine how much it hurts to see hooked noses airbrushed off of these characters in fanart. We can’t control when cartoon characters like Ms. Frizzle get redesigned without their ethnically Jewish characteristics, but we can control how we draw the Jewish characters in our books.
At best, removing these features is a total disregard for where these characters come from and their culture. At worst, it’s the message that hooked noses are ugly, the mark of a conniving, greedy witch. It’s always antisemitic. It needs to stop.
**Side note: if you haven’t ready Becky Albertalli’s post on instagram from today, please do so now. She makes some much needed points on broader issues than I’ve covered here
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soft angst, unrequited love
a/n: this was for a school assignment lmao but i really really enjoyed writing it, even though love stories are def not my forte :(( but angst definitely is, so enjoy!!
Keiji, such a beautiful name. This was the name of someone who you held so closely to your heart, but weren’t necessarily as close to his. Despite this fact, the fondation in which your friendship was built off of will always overpower your sense of heartbreak as you realize that not all the feelings you feel for Keiji are reciprocated. The earliest memories your mind encapsulated revolved around the amount of time you spent with him as a child. Your mothers being best friends and your houses set on the same street, you each had a “built in best friend”, as your parents would like to tell you. And it was true, he was your best friend all through the enjoyable years of grades kindergarten to fifth. As well as staying through the hell bound years of grades six to twelve.
The core memories accumulated through the daily interactions between you two, stood out so brightly in your mind even years after graduation. Racing each other down hills even though those races always ended with either you or both of you with scraped knees. the scars still graced your skin and were visible under the skirt you wore to your office job day in and day out. Spending time sat in the shade provided by your house, in the backyard as your backs faced each other. On these days of your early preteen years, Keiji would bring you a new book every time, insisting that you would adore it. You nearly always did, and when you think about it now you’re not entirely sure if you truly did like these books, or if you just adored the person sitting with his back to yours as he read the same set of words.
Despite whether you adored the books or if you adored him subconsciously, this admiration soon became a conscious thought that consumed your entire being. It all started with the garden of flowers that grew near the back door. Tiger lilies, roses, tulips, all varieties of each end of the color spectrum, definitely the second most beautiful thing that took part of Keiji’s household. The first being obvious, but nonetheless beautiful. But one specific flower soon had woven its roots of beauty and simplicity into your mind. Forget-me-Nots were simple, easy to overlook, kinda like Keiji and yourself. But when examined closely, they were completely immersed with beauty. Or, that’s what he would tell you everytime he handed you a bundle of these precious plants. Every morning since fourth grade, you would walk with Keiji to school. Every single one of these walks began the same. Around when you both were first years in high school, you finally asked.
“Why do you give Forget-Me-Nots every morning?”
To which he replied with, “Maybe if I give you them enough, you’ll never forget me.”
At this point in time, you had become conscious of the romantic feelings you had for keiji, but you could see it in the way he looked at you and in the way he gazed at the girl who sat next to you in English. His eyes weren’t tainted with the same love you felt for him, his eyes only became tainted when they were focused on her.
You had read about this, the emotion of something much worse than a breakup. Unrequited love. The concept only existed in stories you read with the person who manifested this fictional feeling into your reality. But that feeling started to dull as his closeness started to become tainted just as your eyes had been for so many years. This had started your third and final year of high school, after the girl you sat next to in english had dumped him on his birthday. You were at that party, you watched it happen, You watched as she laughed with another the next day, while Keiji wept into your shoulder. You had never seen such genuine and painful tears spring from his beautiful dark blue eyes. His eyes were no longer tainted with that love, but instead flowed through to his actions.
He started to linger longer after walking you home, bringing books over ‘just because’. He stayed for dinner now on the days where he would normally be out on a date, and not just on the weekends like before. Everything that unrequited love had taken from you, was now slowly making its way back into your life. The taint that still clung to your eyes seemed to force yourself to see the same emotions through his actions. Maybe this unrequited love was finally starting to go both ways. You knew in the back of your love sick brain that you were just being hopeful, and that he most likely was just being himself and his love was still only platonic. But a heart that had been bruised so many times can only handle the bleeding inside for so long.
Your emotions had begun to spur your actions, linking your arms with his in the halls at school, legs over his lap as you both read on the couch, the grazing of your knuckles when you two walked too close together. He too, mimicked these habits. His head finding its way to your shoulder as you two studied, squeezing your hand when he sensed your unease, and even the smallest glance of his daring eyes seemed to hold yours for a second longer than would be comfortable, but it was comfortable with him. Even though the words never came from Keiji’s lips, you could’ve sworn you felt them with every move. I love you too.
One day however, your feelings became too great to live in your mind. The love that manifested in fourth grade in his backyard was finally going to be voiced and accepted into the world. This day was like any other school routine, but the excitement and nausea was the catch. You waited patiently to hear Keiji’s strong but subtle footsteps come into earshot as you waited on your porch. Once they had, your heart nearly pulled you to his side, the giddiness concerning Keiji.
“Are you alright? Are you cold, you're shaking.” He asked quietly as he began to take off his uniform blazer. Oh only if he knew. He placed it over your shoulders and began to reach back to the side of his school bag as you softly thanked him. What happened next was something so completely normal, but it still made your cheeks dust pink everytime. And today was no exception. He held out a single bundle of the precious flowers, his soft subtle smile gracing his face. You smiled back brightly as you took them, and with that you started your commute.
You nervously picked at the stems as you fought the urge to just blurt out your confession. You nearly decided against it, but you shook your head as you promised to go through with it. You owed it to yourself, after all the years of pain you unnecessarily had put yourself through. And even though you knew you had to come clean, you still feared that maybe this was just a side effect of a love sick brain and a heart damaged by an emotion you read in a teen fiction book in seventh grade. But that taint in your eyes never left and it remained glossy as ever. So as your steps fell in time with Keiji’s, you spoke.
“I like you”
He slowed down a bit and turned his head to see you staring at the gift he had given you. “What?” You both had stopped in your tracks now. Slowly but surely, your eyes connected to his and with one look, the taint had spread through your body and infected your heart.
“I like you, or actually I love you.” You stammered out, the weight that sat so heavily on your head and heart finally receded. But soon returned as the air around Keiji was filled with silence. “That’s what I wanted to tell you.” You spoke again, hope filling your voice. You smiled at him as his eyes had suddenly become a shade darker.
“Oh.” One word, that’s all you got. And that one word shattered the taint that covered your heart, and bruised it once more.
“Oh?” you questioned, silently begging for more of an answer. Hoping for the answer you wanted. But you knew you wouldn’t get. His eyes still bore into yours, your smile fading along with any hope of this going the way your feelings had told you it would.
After the few seconds that felt like eons, his explanation finally fell from his lips. The words gentle, but still sharp enough to draw blood.
“Y/n look, y’know I care about you and I’ll always be your best friend but it’s just that-”
You cut him off, you knew what he was about to say and if he said it, it would’ve split your heart in two. You saying it didn’t dull the damage as much as you hoped.
“You still love her, huh?” You asked quietly, your heart pumping adrenaline into your veins, every muscle in your body working together to keep tears from falling. You didn;t want the answer even though you already knew it. You knew it from the start, you knew that fictional emotion wasn’t fiction and unfortunately, it was permanent. But you couldn’t blame yourself, you were sick, too love sick for your own good. And something you wished that book had told you, was that unrequited love could be deadly.
A single nod was all it took. And when you think about that day now, you remind yourself that you should really listen to the thoughts that stick around long enough. The thoughts that don’t deter even when you have the strongest of feelings. You didn’t know how to feel, or what to say. In all honesty, what could you do? So you did the one thing you had mastered over all these years, you hid your true feelings.
“Okay, that’s alright!” You said brightly, beginning to walk once again. His steps fell in time with yours, and he even tried to apologize, apologize for being honest. But you assured him that it was okay, that you two were okay. You couldn’t be mad, but that didn;t stop you from being broken. It was true, your friendship continued as always, never letting the side effects of unrequited love over power the strength of the love manifested in your friendship.
You both soon graduated, promising to keep in touch. And that you did. You both began to travel quite a lot after university, your jobs moving you all around the globe. But the tradition of the flowers that grew in Keiji’s backyard never ceased no matter the distance. They may have not shown up everyday, but they made their way to you on most occasions.
On one very specific day, the day your first company launched, the bouquet of the dainty little flowers made their way to your office desk. However this time, they came with a note.
“You didn’t forget me yet did you? I always knew you’d do great things. Congratulations y/n, come visit soon. I have some new books I think you’ll adore.
You could never forget him, you couldn’t ever forget Keiji even if you wanted to. The memory of him brought you back to that emotion that only existed in the fiction books you read in seventh grade. It wasn’t fiction, it was most definitely and undeniably real. Unrequited love was bitter, but with Keiji it was also sweet. And that’s something you could never forget.
a/n pt. two: as an akaashi simp and stan this hurt my heart.
part two is under construction :))
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