Identifying Jews with "White" Privilege

(JTA) Batsheva Neuer - Identifying Jews as white in the context of American history is not only a perversion of the Jewish past but a denial of its peoplehood. In American politics, white implies one who is a beneficiary of the past 500 years of European exploration and exploitation, hardly accurate characteristics of Jewish history. Only collective amnesia would preclude us from recalling how recently Jews were still barred from exclusive hotels, unwelcome in select restaurants, country clubs and even neighborhoods, and restricted by universities that implemented quotas. It is nearly impossible to imagine that any other group who had one out of every three of its members wiped out in a six-year span would be considered privileged. Jewishness as whiteness also obscures the unique and often oppressed experiences of Jews, including those of Sephardic, Arab, African or Middle Eastern descent. Jewish skin comes in every shade. Fighting anti-Semitism will begin when the complexity of Jewish experience is properly portrayed rather than lost in skin color.

2020-01-24 00:00:00

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