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View Diary: Nobody I Know Thinks of Themselves As White (115 comments)

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  •  One diary cannot be all things (6+ / 0-)

    to everyone.  Which is the reason there are many, many excellent books about ethnicity.

    But in the U.S., the black-white framework defines (one might say: "sets the tone for") all other discussions of race.  I say this, by the way, as a white American Jew.  In my family, for sure, it was all about graduating to "whiteness."  The Irish had already graduated to white in the 1930s-1940s, but Jews hadn't yet, which is my grandmother took on O'Hara as a fake last name when she applied to be a telephone operator in NY.

    We knew we were white when my grandfather was admitted to the Scarsdale country club, and blacks were still excluded.

    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

    by hepshiba on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 03:34:37 PM PDT

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    •  I'm not sure that Jews yet are counted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco

      as "white."

      My father, a union organizer, was forced to legally change his name to an Anglican one, and learn to lose his native Cockney accent in order to organize workers in Binghamton, NY.

      I live in a place that had a few blacks living here in the late 'forties, early 'fifties, yet was restricted to Jews until well after (1953).  Interestingly, this is the only place I know of where Jews and blacks are second and third on the list of hated "outlanders."  Freshly arrived Italian-Americans seem to hold a spot of special scorn here, and I have no idea why.  Those who've been here for three or more generations receive no such hostility.  But Italians have the advantage of a Christian religion.  I'm amazed at the questions I'm asked about Jewish beliefs.  

      Not that we don't share the benefits of whiteness -- only that we're still seen very much as "other."

      There are 3.5 million people homeless in the US and 18.5 million vacant homes. What's wrong with this picture?

      OCCUPY

      by Yasuragi on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:05:22 AM PDT

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      •  Yeah, as a Jew, my mileage varies (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yasuragi, poco

        depending on the region.  And the summer I spent on a cruise ship with my grandmother in the 1970s was the weirdest ever -- it dawned on me that she was passing when I heard other folks make anti-Semitic comments and she just nodded along with them.  I totally (and inadvertently) blew her cover by exploding at the dinner table one night. She loved me so she never really blamed me, but she switched her cruise line after that, and I'm pretty sure she was drummed out of her social circle.  Later I realized the meaning of the transformation from Sadie Muchnik to Sydney Berkey, but it's taken me decades to understand what her experience must have been.  I wish she was still alive so we could talk about it, because she died when I was too young to have the conversation.

        "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

        by hepshiba on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 02:44:35 PM PDT

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