Anonymous asked: Not trying to be rude. You say white people a lot. Do you consider Jews to be not white?
OK so for one, JPOC are obviously not white. So I’m going to answer the question as if you asked if “white-skinned” Jews are white.
Jews are at a weird intersection of occasionally getting white privilege and being considered interlopers, at least in the U.S.
I’ve been told that I’m white and also that I’m not white because I’m Jewish, it really depends on who I’m with and how Jewish I act. If I speak in Yiddish or Hebrew, wear a Magen David, or otherwise reference my Jewishness then I open myself to potential antisemitic violence, aggression, isolation, etc.
I would say that Jews have more ability to assimilate than some groups, but I’m hesitant to call it a privilege. It’s more of an expectation, and from what I’ve seen it exists towards both white Jews and JPOC.
For intra-Jewish discussions, I’m definitely white.
For larger discussions of white supremacy, it depends on who I’m with. In contexts of POC, I’m pretty fucking white. In context of white people, not if I act Jewish. I have the ability to assimilate, but I’m expected to do this. It’s not just a, “Well it’s convenient for me to be Jewish” because if I participate in Jewish culture, I am Jewish. I really don’t have any other frame of reference, so usually when I pretend to be a “standard” deist or atheist I end up giving it away. (Because believe it or not these people are still influenced by Christianity, go figure. Could just be because I’m a shitty liar.)
Antisemitism operates on multiple axises though. All Jews are affected by antisemitism, and the discussion of whether or not Jews can be white doesn’t really help discussions of antisemitism. For shorthand, it’s easier to label Jews as non-white. Some Jews may consider themselves white due to their appearance, their experiences or lackthereof, or sometimes because they consider antisemitism to be separate from discussions of white supremacy. But gentiles should not be the ones who bring this discussion on, because it involves invalidating the experiences of Jewish people.
Some forms of antisemitism are racism, plain and simple. “You don’t look Jewish” or “You can’t be Jewish because you look like you’re X/Y/Z” are raciallization. Blood Libel, Judensau, and other antisemitic characterizations exist near globally at this point, and they are all forms of raciallization. Jews suffer racialized violence because of these characterizations, even in the U.S.
Accusations of Jewish people being puppetmasters, controlling media, exaggerating our suffering or complaining too much about it are similar, but it doesn’t really exist in other racial groups - and when it does it is not as prevalent. This is unique to antisemitism. It is a tactic that only serves white supremacists, because it isolates Jews from larger discussions and places us as “true enemies” of both whites AND gentile POC.
When Jews are viewed as inherently oppressive, we are targeted instead of white supremacy.
It is possible for Jewish people to play into white supremacy, but this is an intra-discussion. Goyim should not be commenting on the ability of Jewish people in particular to assimilate, regardless of their race. There are JPOC on this site who are better qualified than they are to speak on those issues.
This doesn’t mean that Jewish people are immune to criticism, just that criticism of Jewish people by virtue of their Jewishness is antisemitic.
Short answer: This entire thing is an intra-discussion, it’s complicated, it depends on whether or not a Jewish person even looks white enough to pass, how Jewish they act, their last name, their mother’s maiden name, their first name, and a bunch of other factors.
Based on my own personal experience I’ve mostly been coded as non-white once I reveal myself as Jewish, both by white people and by non-white people. Even though I have light skin and blue eyes. (EX: I’ve had friends’ parents switch from referring to be as “white girl” to “Jewish girl” and in some cases “Jewess” which is usually translated from a slur.)
Rav Arnold Jacob Wolf
YES this is SO important to me
because a lot of people dont seem to get this:
- golems are from jewish folklore. dont treat them like a generic fantasy creature, thats appropriative
- kabbalah is a specifically jewish religious tradition. dont practice it if youre not jewish and dont use kabbalah symbolism as generic occult stuff, thats appropriative
- for the record if it has hebrew on it and it doesnt have anything to do with judaism its probably appropriative
- dont wear a magen david if youre not jewish, its used as a symbol for judaism so wearing it if youre a gentile is appropriative
- while im at it heres a rundown of some terms you should know
- goy: hebrew and yiddish for non-jewish person, it literally translates as “nation.” the plural form is goyim. goy is not a slur.
- gentile: english for non-jewish person
- anti-semitism: you probably know what this means but i just want to point out that the word anti-semitism was NOT coined by jews but by a german anti-semite who wanted a more scientific-sounding alternative to “judenhass,” which literally translates to “jew-hatred” so please shut up about how arabs are also semites. we know.
- if you’re not jewish you should also avoid using the word “jew” since many jewish people are uncomfortable with it (though i personally am fine with it). use “jewish person” instead if youre a gentile
please reblog this if you’re not jewish, i almost never see gentiles acknowledging cultural appropriation of judaism and anti-semitism on tumblr, even among people who otherwise pay close attention to such issues
People REALLY need to remember the second one on this list.
Goyim amongst my followers: READ AND BE EDUCATED.
arguments about Jews’ supposed whiteness relies on so many shaky grounds.
- the appearances, mannerisms, experiences, family histories, locations, and social statuses of a minority of Jews (and subsequent pushing of those particular experiences as universal).
- the claims that all Jews wield significant wealth, social capital, and power to the point where every one of them can be significantly assimilated into whiteness.
- the idea that Jewishness is a designator of religion rather than ethnicity, and therefore the forced removal of our self-identifications and existence as an ethnoreligious group.
i could go on and on, but this argument is tired and boring and has been dissected more times than i can count. i am legitimately so fucking tired of seeing my Ashkenazi friends get told that they’re secretly Khazars, that they’re ‘too light’ to be non-white despite other factors (being openly Jewish in anti-Semitic areas, having a plethora of non-white experiences, living in a place where the supposed whiteness of white-passing Jews is far less than people think it is, a visibly Jewish/non-white last name, etc.) excluding them from whiteness. i am tired of this being used to exclude them from any movement.
for the record: telling them that they are “white” does not mean that white people are going to give them liberation movements. ‘white Jews’ may benefit from conditional whiteness, but only if they assimilate, shut up, and generally do not fight for the rights of fellow Jews. in fact, when they try to join liberation movements for Jews, that is one of the situations in which their whiteness is taken away. any disruption in the comfort of white people will result in Jews having their whiteness taken away; you can ask them.
y’all bore me and disgust me
Jews are not an angelic people where the all the true ones have taken our experiences in being oppressed and murdered and expelled and persecuted and used it hone perfect politics and fights for justice. The Jews who ethnically cleanse villages and send airstrikes at civilian populations are true Jews as well because Jews are not just adherents of a religion but members of an ethnic group for whom Jews are a people.
That means we have Jews who are murder Palestinians and Jews who stand up for them. Jews who shut up and Jews who speak up. Jews who are beaten up in pogroms in France and Jews who lynch Palestinians in Jerusalem.
All equally Jewish, so none of that “bad Jews” and “true Jews” nonsense. What this means is that when you blame Israel, the “bad Jews,” the “oppressive Jews” for anti-semitism that takes place worldwide against diaspora Jews, all you’re doing is saying that when Jews are “bad,” it’s their own fault when “good” Jews, the powerless Jews, get targeted. What you’re really doing is telling all Jews to behave because when some of the ones with power use it to oppress others, it’s no one’s fault but our own when we’re collectively punished for it.
Meanwhile, the actual anti-Semites who feed off a prejudice that predated Israel and will outlast it are completely let off the hook. Who cares if they’re calling for Jews to be gassed and targeting them in the streets - it’s not their fault! It’s Israel’s!
With this logic, you shouldn’t blame all the Islamophobes and racists out there who target Muslims and Sikhs and Arabs in the United States because they look at them and only see terrorists. It’s Saudi Arabia’s fault, not theirs now!
You see, there will always be Jews who don’t live ethically. Who abuse power and do wrong in the name of Jews everywhere. They will always exist because people like that exist among all peoples. So what you’re saying, when you blame Israel for anti-Semitism, is that no actual anti-Semites are at fault because there are bad Jews out there.
Judaism is NOT a smorgasbord buffet, it’s a fine dining ten-course dinner with Rules.
1. do not even hate on smorgasbord okay it is one of the most delicious ways to consume food
2. buffets have rules too, you can’t just walk into an old country buffet and start grabbing food off the line with no plate or utensils or something like that. jeez were you raised in a barn?
3. there’s this group of restaurants in my town, all owned by the same family, that all have their own ambiance. one is a fine-dining establishment with cloth napkins and (p)leather bound menus and waiters with the little cloths over their arms. another is a grab-and-go grill geared toward getting food out quickly during the lunch rush and staffed by college students in grimy t-shirts. yet another is a bar with rows and rows of alcoholic beverages and only appetizer-type food.
all of these restaurants are owned by the same family, serve the same general type of food, but they all cater to a different demographic. that is what the different branches of judaism are more like: a whole bunch of restaurants owned by the same family and all connected to each other by what kind of general cuisine they offer, but with different vibes and different details to fit different people’s needs and wants at different times.
go back to hebrew school, i think you missed the lesson on ahavat yisrael