So I just read this piece at politico:
It pretty was pretty poignant and I suggest you all read it. A passage that really got me was this:
An elder generation of Jews—old enough to remember the St. Louis—now shares something in common with David Duke and his white nationalists, two groups invested in prodding a younger generation to reconsider how white they really are. And an incipient alignment between Black Lives Matter and BDS on campus reflects, in part, the same principle that animates Stephen Miller—a modern assumption that Jews are entitled to the trappings of American white supremacy.
This divide between two Judaisms—splitscreen worlds of historical memory, privilege and whiteness—may never be bridged. If it can, millennials may be the ones who bridge it. In July, Jewish activist Carly Pildis penned an essay in Tablet Magazine, “I am Woke,” urging activists of the left to accept the reality of anti-Semitism into their sensibility of social justice, without Jews apologizing for Israel. “We are facing a wave of anger and violence against people of color not seen in my lifetime,” write Pildis. “The Jewish people are facing that, too, the anger, the violent rhetoric, the Trump supporters demanding Jewish reporters’ heads.”
That hit me. I’m a millennial. I’m ethnically Jewish. I was raised in a 50% Jewish community on the east coast. I always thought of myself as white.
Then I moved to the Midwest.
People were very nice. When they found out about my Jewish background, many were quite interested. They wanted to learn about my culture. Which is all fine and dandy until you realize you’ve just being placed in to a box labeled THEM and asked to speak on behalf of millions of people.
There was this build up of slow background othering that nagged at me. My reaction was rather perverse. I embracing my Jewish heritage proudly, despite the fact that I’m a) pretty much agnostic, b) only half Jewish, and c) it’s the wrong half. But the other option seemed to be throwing half my history under the bus, and there was no way in Hell that was happening. It came to a head at a party were I found out that most of the people in the room didn’t think I was white.
What. The. Hell.
Oh, it turns out Jews aren’t Really white. Everyone knows that.
No. I didn’t know that. And I can attest that the mantel of white privilege looks very different when you feel someone snatch it away from you with a casual phrase. It’s isn’t “privilege”. It’s safety. It’s the general assumption that people are typically on your side and the system is geared to help you out. That shouldn’t be a fucking privilege.
But, no this wasn’t anti-semitism. People were very nice. What it was was my realization that, even for very nice, progressive people, “Jewish” is a box labeled “other” and I was in that box. I was “them”.
It can feel pretty scary to be “them” when there is an “us” around. Trump has proved that fear valid.
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