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Jackie Mason Turns Purple over ‘Obama is a Shvartze’ Remark

Comedian Jackie Mason fumed, “I am not a racist” after he was accused of racism by referring to President Barack Obama as a “shvartze.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/17/2009, 5:23 PM / Last Update: 3/17/2009, 11:23 PM

Israel News Photo

Veteran Jewish comedian Jackie Mason was caught fuming on a video by celebrity reporters who questioned him about a comment  in a performance in which he referred to President Barack Obama as a “shvartze,” a German and Yiddish word that means “black.”

The word often has been used in a derogatory manner, equivalent to “nigger,” a racial epithet that black American leaders hate so much that the media refer to it as the “N” word rather than spell it out.

Mason made the “shvartze” comment about President Obama during a show in New York City. At least one person walked out, complaining that Mason was more offensive than Bernard Madoff, the Jewish investor who ripped off people and institutions, including charities, for more than $50 billion.

The celebrity website TMZ spoke with Mason, whose response included a swipe at black comedian Chris Rock, who often has used the word “nigger” in his stand-up performances.

Mason, visibly angry at the reporter’s questioning, stated, "I'm not going to defend myself. Chris Rock has told a lot more jokes about whites than I have against blacks. What about the demeaning words blacks say about Jews? If it's a racist society, the white people are the ones being persecuted because they have to defend themselves." 

Mason referred to himself as “an old Jew’ [who] was raised in a Jewish family where 'shvartze' was used. It's not a demeaning word.”

Toward the end of the interview that was taped on video, Mason called the reporter a “moron” and threw in a couple of unprintable epithets as he entered a car and left the reporter behind.