People are taking to Google to ask “Is Jew capitalized?”
“Jew” is a proper noun. Proper nouns in English are capitalized.
“Jew” in most cases is fine to use, however it can take on the form of a slur and antisemitic associations with the term “Jew” in the past has made “Jewish” more preferable to use. The most infamous example of this is Nazi Germany writing “Jew” on yellow Stars of David.
There’s also the time when people use “Jew” as a verb, in a derogatory way, building off of the antisemitic trope that Jews are cheap. Also “Jew” in the form of a descriptor usually comes off as antisemitic: “Jew banker” or “Jew journalist” or “he/she is a Jew.”
It’s important to note antisemitism isn’t dependent upon using the word “Jew.” In fact you can be a “proud Jew!” Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an essay: “I am a judge born, raised, and proud of being a Jew.” But note, she (who is Jewish) is using the form “Jew” to describe herself.
At Unpack we like to use the adjective form of “Jew,” which is more person-first oriented. So instead of saying “they’re a Jew” we prefer to say “they’re Jewish.”
Originally Published Nov 23 2021 11:25AM EST