DEAR HARRIETTE: I am Jewish and have known that there are anti-Semitic country clubs in the nation. I live in Long Island and am surrounded by plenty of accepting country clubs. I have recently found out one of my friends belongs to a club that, although not explicitly stated, has no Jewish members due to a history of anti-Semitism. No one in her family is Jewish, and I doubt she knows how widespread the discrimination can be. I find offense with their choice of country club. Is it inappropriate for me to suggest she change clubs? Should I assume she is anti-Semitic? -- Anti-Friend, Commack, New York
DEAR ANTI-FRIEND: I will start by saying you shouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions. You are already judging your friend because of this affiliation, and it may not be valid. She may not be aware of the history of her country club. Unless you know that it currently practices anti-Semitism, you should tread lightly. That doesn't mean you shouldn't talk to her about it. But don't come with hearsay. What have you concretely learned about this club's history and its current status? You can share with her what you know and how you learned it. Tell her how uncomfortable it makes you.
I do not think you should immediately ask her to change clubs. You can open her eyes to your discomfort about the club's history and that she is part of its community.
I remember as a young woman complaining to my mother about certain stores that she frequented in our hometown of Baltimore. One that she liked a lot had been rude to her when I was a child, and I remembered the racist incident. When I asked my mother why she continued to patronize that store, she told me that if she were to boycott all of the stores that had been discriminatory against African-Americans in the past, she would have virtually nowhere to shop. So, she chose to forgive those that had changed their ways.
Obviously, it is unwise for your friend to patronize a club that continues to discriminate. I say find out if that is actually true, though, before you press her to rescind her membership.