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< Back to question Are Jews white? Show more Show less

In a landmark 2018 court ruling, Jews became a protected "race" under American law. This judgement was divisive. The case, in which a Catholic convert had been denied a job beause of his Jewish bloodline, should have been a victory for victims of anti-Semitism. Instead, many Jews saw its result as short-sighted. They argue that formalising racial distinctions legitimises racism. And that this approach is in the same genre of identity politics as the Holocaust. Others claim that categorising Jews as a minority ethnic group helps protect them against discrimination. Are Jews white?

Yes, Jews are white Show more Show less

There is only one necessary condition for whiteness: being white. Jews are white.
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Jews are objectively white

At its most essential, whiteness is about the colour of one's skin. Irrespective of arguments around systemic inequalities, it is an objective fact that many Jews have white skin and are therefore white.
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Proponents


Context

Jewish racial identity has always been a multifaceted issue. The intersectionality of race and religion of the Jewish demographic poses a challenging means of racial designation. Regardless, most Jews are objectively light-skinned, an observation that motivates the argument that Jews are white. [1]

The Argument

Ashkenazi Jews, those who have descended from Eurocentric roots, represent the dominant culture in Jewish communities in America, Europe, and Israel. Although Jews come from a vast number of heritages including Arabic, Spanish, African, and South-Asian lineages, Jews with European descents hold the most representational power. Because of their Eurocentric lineages, jews are objectively light-skinned and considered white. [2] Maurice Fishberg conducted a study to examine the phenotypes that Jews exhibit. His 1903 study recorded the colors of skin, hair, and eyes of over 2,000 Jews over the age of 20 in New York City. Fishberg recorded an overwhelming majority of 77.36 percent of Jews exhibiting light skin. As this study dates over a hundred years ago, the findings that the majority of Jews are light-skinned has developed into the perspective that Jews simply are white. [3] Even United States law considered Jews as objectively white. According to the Naturalization Act of 1790, Jews had the right to citizenship as they were among the “free white persons.” As time progressed, Jews were deemed as “Caucasian” due to their distinctive light skin. [1] Evident in both a research study and American history, Jews have been known to be objectively white, therefore making the argument that Jews are white.

Counter arguments

Light-skinned Jews, due to their white privilege, have held the power of defining Jewish culture. They have set the precedent that Jews are objectively white, when in reality Jews of color represent the majority in the world. As the majority of the world's Jewish population is not objectively white, Jews should not be considered white. [2]

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/are-jews-white/509453/
  2. https://paulkivel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/imnotwhiteimjewish.pdf
  3. https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1525/aa.1903.5.1.02a00110

This page was last edited on Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 18:17 UTC

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