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May 3rd, 2012 03:45 PM #11
@eskay: sorry i didn't mean to generalize, i meant it as a shorthand for the dominant culture. I know many Christians, Muslims and Atheists (of which, funny enough, i am one) who are gentile and respectful. I only meant to reference the feeling of people who live in the dominant Christian culture who may not see how this is offensive.
May 4th, 2012 10:48 AM #13Senior Member
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- Mar 2012
Cohen" as a first name either. It's not like we're jumping around claiming "wait wait Abraham was ours first, don't use it! Moses was ours first, don't use it!" etc. We use those names as first names and other people certainly can and do as well and even the stuffiest of Orthodox Jews don't walk around getting offended by atheists or Christians etc. using names that we think of as Biblical or Jewish.
But Cohen isn't a name, its a title. I don't know anyone Jewish who uses Cohen as a first name. Even Cohanim. (People who are Cohen bloodline)
It is a last name, because it was a title. Like Pope. It'd be someone's right to name their kid Pope if they wanted, but they couldn't very well get that surprised if some Catholics felt a bit trod on by that. It'd be antagonistic and kind of tacky. Especially with the tacked-on "But it doesn't mean that to us; we don't care what it means to them" that follows Cohen around when it's used as a name. There's issues of cultural appropriation a yard thick.
May 4th, 2012 01:12 PM #15Senior Member
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- Jan 2012
This thread is really interesting! I've never considered the name Cohen as a first name,but I had no idea how offensive it was to appropriate it!
I don't know a lot about Jewish culture beyond the bare bones,but it always seemed a very religion specific name to me. In that part I was right,but interesting to learn how important a name it is in Jewish culture.
I agree it would seem culturally ignorant to use it. It would only take an Internet search to find out as I have.
May 4th, 2012 02:02 PM #17
Cohen would be offensive, so I wouldn't use it. But I don't like it when people say those who use it are culturally ignorant. Not everyone Googles a name before they use it, and not everyone is going to know about the ties to Judaism. It's just a human error. Maybe if they used the name knowing it was offensive I would consider them ignorant, but not if they did it accidentally, without realising.Amber. 17. Happy Hallowe'en.
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May 4th, 2012 02:42 PM #19Senior Member
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- Mar 2011
So yeah, just wanted to throw in there this isn't just about being the minority or being the majority (although arguably, there are many who report themselves to be Christian culturally but don't practice their religion, so practicing Christians may indeed be in the minority. Hard to get the numbers on that).
ETA: Ah, I saw your clarifying remark! Still, I am not sure being Christian is the issue as much as the "dominant culture" is the issue (which nowadays I feel is pretty diverse). But anyway, this is a fascinating thread! And I totally agree that Cohen should be off the table as a name out of respect.
Last edited by phillipswife; May 4th, 2012 at 02:53 PM.