In The Atlantic, Emma Green (ahem) has a piece titled “Are Jews White?”
She begins her piece with the usual caricatures of the Alt-Right as ‘vicious anti-Semitism’. However, she does find that “these attacks raise an interesting question: Are Jews white?” (Wait, I thought even asking this question was itself a sign of ‘anti-Semitism’. Unless you can ask that question if you are yourself Jewish? What are the rules here? I’m confused.)
“Jewish identity in American is inherently paradoxical and contradictory,” said Eric Goldstein, an associate professor of history at Emory University. “What you have is a group that was historically considered, and considered itself, an outsider group, a persecuted minority. In the space of two generations, they’ve become one of the most successful, integrated groups in American society—by many accounts, part of the establishment. And there’s a lot of dissonance between those two positions.”
Umm… Isn’t this what Kevin MacDonald, Steve Sailer, et al, having been saying for many years now, then castigated for saying this?
From the earliest days of the American republic, Jews were technically considered white, at least in a legal sense. Under the Naturalization Act of 1790, they were considered among the “free white persons” who could become citizens. Later laws limited the number of immigrants from certain countries, restrictions which were in part targeted at Jews. But unlike Asian and African immigrants in the late 19th century, Jews retained a claim to being “Caucasian,” meaning they could win full citizenship status based on their putative race.
Culturally, though, the racial status of Jews was much more ambiguous. Especially during the peak of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Jews lived in tightly knit urban communities that were distinctly marked as separate from other American cultures: They spoke Yiddish, they published their own newspapers, they followed their own schedule of holidays and celebrations. Those boundaries were further enforced by widespread anti-Semitism: Jews were often excluded from taking certain jobs, joining certain clubs, or moving into certain neighborhoods. Insofar as “whiteness” represents acceptance in America’s dominant culture, Jews were not yet white.
Over time, though, they assimilated. Just like other white people, they fled to the suburbs. They took advantage of educational opportunities like the G.I. bill. They became middle class. “They thought they were becoming white,” said Lewis Gordon, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut. “Many of them stopped speaking Yiddish. Many of them stopped going to synagogue. Many of them stopped wearing the accoutrements of Jewishness.”
Green touches upon that perpetual cognitive dissonance found in Jews, whether ‘Jewishness’ is an inherited genetic trait… or religion:
Some Jews who aren’t particularly religious may identify as white, but others may feel that their Jewishness is specifically linked to their ethnic inheritance. “If you’re a secular Jew, how are you a Jew? It has to be through your cultural or ethnic identity,” said Gordon. “Whereas if you’re a religious Jew, you would argue that you’re a Jew primarily through your religious practices.”
As Kevin MacDonald has shown quite convincingly, it is the secular interpretation that has dominated the 20th century incarnations of Jewish separatism.
Green then meanders around Leftie definitions of ‘race’ and ‘oppression’, never really addressing the question: ‘Are Jews White?’ Towards the end of the piece she intones de rigueur Trump paranoia and writes:
So, are Jews white? “There’s really no conclusion except that it’s complicated,” said Goldstein. This is not the kind of question that searches for an answer, though. It’s a question designed to illuminate. It can be difficult to understand why many, although not all, Jews are scared of what’s to come in a Trump administration. Even Goldstein, who studies Judaism and anti-Semitism for a living, said he finds it “hard to believe … that Jews are in any real danger of losing their status in American society. Jews today are integrated into all of the mainstream institutions of American life: They’ve held the presidencies of all the major universities that once restricted their entrance; they are disproportionately represented in all the branches of government.”
Such disproportionality exists not only in government and academia, but also in Hollywood, television, newspapers, activist organizations, etc.
It is this disproportionality that is key to understanding the disproportionate influence that Jews (with the unique cultural values and norms that tend to correlate with Jewish households and upbringings) have on American culture and institutions.
Within the Alt-Right community, the ‘Are Jews White?’ question is seen quite differently, for example, between Jared Taylor, Greg Johnson, Richard Spencer, and the many writings of Kevin MacDonald.