Friday, August 18, 2017

I am not a victim

Michael Lumish

I'm trying to figure out just what irks me about this whole "Jews are not white" thing with the attendant MENA question in the States.

I think that what it is is the suspicion that we're trying to join the victimhood club.

Black people are victims. Women are victims. Muslims are victims. Gay people are victims.

Fuck that.

I have no desire in the least to join the victimhood club.

They don't want us on their team, to begin with, and I would not want to wear that t-shirt anyway.

Let other people go be victims.

Tell me why I am wrong.

6 comments:

  1. Many years ago, long before the politics of victimhood became all the rage, a black friend of mine was telling me about an incident of discrimination he once faced. At the end of the story, he said, "but you won't understand because you're white." My instinctive reply was "I'm not white, I'm Jewish".

    I didn't say that to wallow in victimhood. It was a completely honest and spontaneous response to him calling me "white". It had never occured to me to think of myself as white because I knew that I was hated by many of the same people who hated my friend.

    But today is a different era. Now, people are calling Jews "white" because it fits the narrative of oppressor and colonialist (in the case of Israeli Jews). Jews were considered foreign outsiders before 1948, and now they want to paint us as white European usurpers of brown peoples' land. Calling us white is just another anti-Semitic tool in today's climate.

    It's not about joining the victim brigade, it's about calling out the hypocrisy of the people who suddenly, and conveniently have decided that now we're white after all.

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  2. Jews are 'near-white'. Not quite white. Take a Jew, convert him to Protestantism, make him a deacon in his church and after 40 years you know what the others call him? "The Jew". We're permitted on the periphery of white life but we are constantly reminded that our presence is at the whim and sufferance of white people. We're not victims, we're hired hands, or pets.

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  3. Jews come in several colors, so the post-modern, post-colonialist epithet - that's what it is - "Jews are white" is inaccurate to say the least.
    Anonymous and Trudy both have gone points. Jews, white ones, were not considered quite white by large swaths of the white Christian populations of Europe, et al.
    I consider mysel white when I bother to consider it at all, which far too often these days.
    I don't think of myself or Jews collectively as victimizers and oppressors. Haven't we had enough of that sort of thing?

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    Replies
    1. good points, not "gone"
      Refusing to be a victim used to be regarded as heroic. Now, tragically, the opposite is true. And its purveyors I think understand this as a control technique.

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  4. This "Are Jews white?" thing has been bothering me ever since I read an article talking about Charlottesville this week.

    Those who would claim that Jews are white are only looking at certain Jews who happen to have white skin. They probably only see Jews who are probably Ashkenazic and conclude that, because this is all they see, all Jews are white solely because they originated in that particular region.

    As I understand it, Jews are a multi-racial, multi-ethnic people--people, NOT race--and as a people, we would be expected not to look alike. My first trip to Israel I visited Rosh Ha'ayin, where there were dark-skinned Yemenite Jews. Elsewhere, there are Sephardic and Oriental Jews, and they probably don't look like the "white" Jews everyone is obsessed about.

    And what if a black person (or someone from a different race) converts to Judaism? Do they become "white" after they convert? Obviously not. If not, then why are Jews supposed to be "white"? (Let's leave the subject of whether born Jews treat Jews of color the way they should for another time.)

    This whole preoccupation with skin color is ridiculous. People are people fundamentally, and skin color is only one aspect of a person--it doesn't define them (and it doesn't define all people who happen to share that skin color). I don't understand the neo-Nazis' demand for respect for their "white heritage." Most people, if they were asked what they were, probably would say they were a specific ethnicity (Irish, Italian, Polish, Spanish, etc.) Which ethnicity is "white"? Are we going to go down the road the Nazis did, by identifying "pure" heritage with certain areas of Europe? If so, they probably should stay in those countries; otherwise the ones who are "different" have the same right to be here as the neo-Nazis, and they will be very unhappy unless they accept this fact.

    Until Moshiach comes, we will have to deal with this kind of racism as well as anti-Semitism. I'm not sure what the best way to fight it is.

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  5. This "identity politics" is the root of all this evil. It seems to say that if you are a ___________, you must believe the same way, act the same way, and hate the same way.

    I don't think this is what Martin Luther King had in mind, and this has to be fought with everything we've got. We are tying ourselves in knots with something that started out as well-meaning but is contradicting itself more and more with the more restrictions we put on people to avoid offending one person.

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