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View Diary: Are Jews white? (343 comments)

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  •  Sure, (5+ / 0-)

    it can be considered a valid intellectual exercise, maybe being AA, I think it's a little silly for white people to sit around discussing who's whiter.
    My criteria's a little different: If you could have gotten away with drinking from the 'White' fountain, If you're free from racial profiling, if you are able to benefit from some form of white privilege, then yeah, you're pretty much white.

    No one's looking at DNA on job interviews.

    Everything you do is a balloon.

    by Maori on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 07:31:16 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  that's an interesting take... (8+ / 0-)

      I find most African American people will just consider me white, but while I could have drank from the "white" fountain, if I had lived in those days, ask any KKK member if I'm white, and you'll get a resounding "NO". So it puts me, as a Jew, in an interesting position... to black people, I'm white, and to white bigots, I'm not.

      "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

      by ubertar on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 07:39:54 AM PDT

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      •  Then I (0+ / 0-)

        suppose it's up to you whether to define yourself from the opinions of 'white bigots'.

        Everything you do is a balloon.

        by Maori on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 07:46:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that was an extreme example... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel, mamamedusa, Maori

          I used it because it's easy to guess what they'd think. What the average non-Jewish white person thinks is more of a mystery. I'd imagine it runs the spectrum. It's an issue of inclusion and exclusion. I can say I've never felt fully "white" among unambiguously white people, bigots or not. It sucks to not be accepted fully as part of the majority while at the same time not being accepted as a minority by other minorities. I don't feel "at home" in either group.

          "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

          by ubertar on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 07:53:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My Children (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ubertar, mamamedusa

            are mulatto, and would probably say the same things if I'd raised them differently.

            My emphasis with them was always on finding their own place, not fitting in.  It matters what they think of themselves, not what white people think, or say about them. I don't think they need to feel 'white', or 'black'. I guess that was my point in that comment.

            But in case you are considering yourself non white, the first thing you need to learn is, white people didn't create, and don't define us.

            Everything you do is a balloon.

            by Maori on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 08:06:34 AM PDT

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            •  I don't consider myself white or non-white. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mamamedusa

              Which is an odd and slightly uncomfortable place to be... especially since logically, I'd have to be one or the other. But race/ethnicity is a place where logic doesn't always apply. I agree that what matters most is what you think of yourself, but I think you're kidding yourself if you think what others think doesn't matter at all.

              "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

              by ubertar on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 08:13:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You Don't (4+ / 0-)

                have to consider yourself anything, except yourself.
                Race is silly, and I think people like yourself and my children are fortunate to not have to participate in it. Having no race means just that.

                I think you misunderstood my point about it mattering most what you think of yourself.
                Speaking as a minority, I occasionally notice other minorities placing an almost god-like priority on the opinions of whites. They're obsessed with whether whites think they're pretty, smart, or good enough.

                Your first statement about what the average white person thinks, reminded me a bit of that, and my impulsive response was, "Who gives a sh%t?"
                I'm not trying to lump you in with us non whites, lol, just saying that as far as personal/racial identity is concerned, we tell whites who we are, not the other way around.

                Everything you do is a balloon.

                by Maori on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 09:01:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  actually I care more about what (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mamamedusa, Kylopod

                  other minority people think than what white people think, because those are the people I interact with most often. Sure, I can consider myself whatever I want, but many people I know would say, "that's bullshit, you're white". To me, being thought of as white by AA people lumps me in with the people who were responsible for slavery and segregation, while my ancestors were oppressed by the same (white, European) people. Jews were strong supporters of the civil rights movement, and some died for the cause. Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic, and I don't know any Jews who listen to country music or watch Nascar. It's not only ethnic, but cultural. So it pains me to be thought of as white by people who have been victimized by whites.

                  "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

                  by ubertar on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 09:42:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're going (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ubertar, mamamedusa

                    to have to reconcile your historical reality with your biological/social one. Obviously, no one here can do it for you. You're just going to have to figure out a way to be ok with being white, or perceived that way, that's my most real-world answer.

                    But I'll tell you this, when I see white people, I don't automatically think of slavery or oppression, I think of how they appear to me personally, are they cool? do they seem nice? that forms my basis of judgment. I'm guessing that your non white friends don't see you as "--- the White Guy", they see you as you.

                    Everything you do is a balloon.

                    by Maori on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 09:55:58 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Of course, but... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mamamedusa

                      people are influenced by assumptions they make based on how they categorize people, consciously or not (more often not). This applies less to friends and diminishes as people get to know each other as individuals, but until that point, people make assumptions based on categories.
                      For example, an AA security guard at a school I work at assumed I was voting for McCain, I presume because of my skin color.

                      "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

                      by ubertar on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 10:07:49 AM PDT

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                      •  Many white Americans (0+ / 0-)

                        are not descended from slave-owners. Conversely, many black Americans (Obama included) are.

                      •  Well that's just (0+ / 0-)

                        ridiculous, he should have assumed based on how you were dressed ;-)

                        people are influenced by assumptions they make based on how they categorize people

                        You're assuming all people categorize the same way.
                        The goofy joke I made at top is a kind of example.
                        I'm going to go out on a limb, and assume that everyone isn't a racist (I know people say that all the time, but I don't buy it), and working from that assumption, conclude that most people are more concerned about their race than people around them.
                        Sure, there are people who don't see individuals, but races, or members of races, but maybe we should start deflating their world by just seeing people, and outfits, lol.

                        Everything you do is a balloon.

                        by Maori on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 10:32:09 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Even people who are not at all bigoted (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Kylopod

                          still have unconscious prejudices. It's part of being human. It doesn't mean they're racist. Not all people categorize the same way, and I didn't mean to imply that. But categories and categorical prejudices come from currents in society, whether mainstream currents or sub-currents, and not from individuals out of nowhere.

                          "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

                          by ubertar on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 11:03:14 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

          •  As a non Jewish white person (average?) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kylopod

            I have never really given the question any thought.

            Having visited Israel, I know that the Jewish people come in all shades, from Nordic looking blondes to Ethiopian Black, and the idea of trying to categorise them as either white or non white seems a little silly.

            A little question though. Is there any subtext to the choice of white vs non white?  Historically, I always thought that Jews originated in the Levant, and from a genetic point of view, there would be little difference between Jews and Syrians or Palestininians or Jordanians.

            And to be honest, I really wouldn't know how to racially categorise Levantines - having been mistaken many times for a Syrian when travelling in the Middle East.

      •  I think the KKK accepts Christian Identity (0+ / 0-)

        which holds that Jews are either the spawn of Satan or a mongrelized race. Christian Identity also asserts that the ancient Israelites were a Nordic people.

    •  I've even seen a version of brown paper bag (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza

      among Jews. Some Jews come to value lighter or darker Jews, especially between Ashkenazim and non-Ashkenazim.

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