1

I am trying to convey that despite the best intentions of gentiles in trying to depict the hardships of the Jewish people, they still aren't able to be true to life as they havent exactly experienced those hardships and atrocities.

I'm looking for a phrase that completes this sentence:

The Jewish Consciousness is strengthened by their shared suffering. Many gentiles have tried to champion the jewish cause by …'capturing the voice of the jewish people'…

Is there a better phrase that I can use in place of the phrase in single quotes?

7
  • 2
    I might think that appropriating is more appropriate than capturing but it might (subtly) change the sentiment you are trying to indicate. Without a clearer understanding of that sentiment I wouldn't make this into an answer. Are you accusing gentiles of theft, or do you welcome their adoption of the voice of the jewish people? And probably other shades of meaning too? Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 13:29
  • 1
    Perhaps vicarious spokesman. Not exactly an "established" collocation, but the meaning should be obvious, and as that link shows, it has been used several times before. Or maybe just the current catch-all: virtue signalling. Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 13:31
  • 1
    Comments are spot on. If positive, acting as ally to. If negative, appropriating, even hijacking. Note that if no one may speak in another's voice, no Ethnic A writer may write a character of Ethnic B. Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 14:17
  • I am trying to convey that despite the best intentions of gentiles in trying to depict the hardships of the jewish people, they still arent able to be true to life as they havent exactly experienced those hardships and atrocities.
    – Mrunal
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 14:52
  • 2
    Edit your question with any important information. Comments (other than my own contributions) are mostly ephemeral trash and many wise users of the site ignore them.) Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 15:09

5 Answers 5

1

Interesting question and I think it depends on how much scorn you have for the people you're trying to describe.

"Appropriating" seems apt in general, but I will say this is much more accusatory because of the connotation with "cultural appropriation", which is highly contentious in various ways. This might be just right if you are trying to capture that negativity, however.

"Advocating" is another possibility, in that these people you describe are indeed advocating for Jewish people, but you think they are failing and are inherently incapable of understanding without being Jewish themself. So appropriating would be useful if you want to be more harsh, and on the other end, advocating is definitely more positive (even if you think they are failing at being advocates).

I think "assuming" is more neutral and less judgemental, but I'll offer another possibility:

Impersonating or personating.

Impersonating has negative connotations but is not necessarily negative. Cambridge defines as:

impersonate

to intentionally copy another person’s speech, appearance, or behavior

to intentionally copy another person's characteristics, such as their behaviour, speech, appearance, or expressions, especially to make people laugh

to attempt to deceive someone by pretending that you are another person

The word is somewhat negative to my ears, though clearly not always used for ridicule, eg, "movie star impersonator" or "impersonating a cop". In a sense, you could say that accurately describes what they're doing while you're not being directly accusatory, you are setting up the logical premise for the reader to deduce that there could be something wrong with this.

"Personate" is a less common word, which is both a benefit and a bane: the word may be confusing to some but also that there is less baggage with the word because it's less common. Merriam-Webster defines as:

Personate

1b: to assume without authority and with fraudulent intent (some character or capacity)

You seem to be trying to capture someone assuming the voice of someone who hasn't had certain experiences of atrocities and hardship like you have, and that they don't have the authority to do so--personate fits that notion well. Mimic/represent are more neutral alternatives; however, if you want to be openly disdainful, "masquerading" would be an option.

1

How about:

Many gentiles have tried to champion the Jewish cause by assuming the voice of the Jewish people . . .

assume, v.
II. To take upon oneself, put on, undertake.
4. a. transitive. To take upon oneself, put on (a garb, aspect, form, or character).
Source: Oxford English Dictionary (login required)

0

The means of achieving the goal, "capturing", must be found in the substitute, at least approximately; the idea is that they are not adequate and that must be superimposed on the concept that the term for the new rendering will substitute for "capture". There is no single word that can do that. Acombination is possible.

"To witness" is a possible close substitute for "capturing". To show that this not adequate it is necessary only to use a modifier.

(SOED) witness 4. v.t. Be a witness of (an event, etc.); experiennce by personal observation.

(The Relational Pastor: Sharing in Christ by Sharing Ourselves ) At hearing these stories, empathy is triggered in us by witnessing the severing of the relationship that gives this other their person. We react because we feel them, and by feeling them we indwell them, even if only for a short time.

(Gender Struggles: Practical Approaches to Contemporary Feminism) By witnessing the privilege that was at the same time a confinement , they found political solidarity with African American women

(Education of Man. By a Member of the New Zealand Bar - Page - 1873) “ To those who need to be allured into the paths of natural science by witnessing the wonderful results that can be produced by well - contrived experiments , we do not know that we could recommend a more useful volume

  • The Jewish Consciousness is strengthened by their shared suffering. Many gentiles have tried to champion the jewish cause by …'merely witnessing the voice of the jewish people'…

  • The Jewish Consciousness is strengthened by their shared suffering. Many gentiles have tried to champion the jewish cause by …'witnessing with partial success only the voice of the jewish people'… (more explicit acknowledgement of failure)

6
  • This doesn't capture the negative connotation that OP was looking for (see the comment I added to the q.)
    – Laurel
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 15:35
  • 1
    @Laurel I believe you are introducing your own perspective on this state of affairs, and it is not that of the initial question. This is not at all what the OP has in mind; you are changing the question.
    – LPH
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 15:40
  • I added a verbatim copy of a comment (with copy editing) to the question. Those are not my own words. For whatever reason new users rarely edit their posts so it's necessary to do it for them sometimes.
    – Laurel
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 15:45
  • @Laurel That's a comment that was fragmentary for some time and I become aware of it in full only now; so the new text reflects the OP's idea after all. I'll have to change my question.
    – LPH
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 15:54
  • "Witness" is probably a bad choice in this case as it has deep Christian connotations. The moment you say "gentile" you increase the weighting on this definition.
    – Yorik
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 19:56
0

The verb to ventriloquize means literally to perform as a ventriloquist (see Merriam-Webster) but in metaphorical use it often means to speak for someone else or to articulate what someone would say if they were able to speak or in a position to be heard. Someone who ventriloquizes is providing a voice to a silent person in the same way as a ventriloquist provides a voice to a dummy.

Merriam-Webster has some example sentences that are relevant:

Phoebe’s chapters are just Will’s best attempt to ventriloquize Phoebe’s voice, to erase his ego and become Phoebe’s living conduit. —Constance Grady, Vox, 3 Aug. 2018

The Wylies ventriloquize Janice and reveal her dear and reckless self. —James Ellroy, Vanities, 7 Oct. 2017

So you could talk about "a gentile ventriloquizing Jews".

It tends not to have very positive connotations, because ventriloquists are creepy and undignified and there is something vaguely improper about their entire profession. But it isn't necessarily insulting or negative.

0

The Jewish Consciousness is strengthened by their shared suffering. Many gentiles have tried to champion the Jewish cause by vicariously capturing the voice of the Jewish people'…

OED

vicariously

  1. At second hand, at one remove. Cf. vicarious adj.

1925 F. S. Fitzgerald Great Gatsby vii. 157 Jordan and I tried to go, but Tom and Gatsby insisted..that we remain—as though..it would be a privilege to partake vicariously of their emotions.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.