> > I would agree that to refer to Jews as a race is indeed problematic. But
> > think it is important in our academic and activist work to link anti-Semit
> > and racism as the oppressive ideologies that they are, regardless of who i
> > the victim of this kind of hate.
> I think you're making my point, Steve, by *wanting* to adopt the
> language of the bigots. Why should Jews stand for the equation of
> racism and anti-Semitism just because the Other is socially constructed?
Again, there's a distinction between adopting the language of bigots that says
Jews are a race, and pointing out the similar rhetorical strategies a bigot
uses to refer to anyone s/he deems different.
> Would women accept an equation of anti-feminism and racism? Would
> the elderly accept an equation of agism and racism? I think, especially
> among thoughtful people, we can point out similarities in construction
> and effect without having to invoke the political charge of "racism."
What about women of color? What about an equation (your word--I prefer
linking) between anti-feminism (how about misogyny?) and anti-Semitism? Have
you ever used the term JAP? Have you ever let someone else you were with use
it? How about an elderly person of color? Not everyone fits into the neat
little social cubbyhole. I'd rather build alliances, acknowledge the points
of unity than keep things separate and distinct.
The following quote is from Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz's "10 Hotspots for
Anti-Semitism" in New Jewish Agenda's Internal Discusion Bulletin
The Question of Anti-Semitism as a Form of Racism
You can argue this from many perspectives: academic, scientific, political,
historical, philosophic . . . What's important to recognize are the
implications of the argument. If you maintain that racism and anti-Semitism
are entirely separate, are you prioritizing, ranking anti-Semitism as a less
serious issue than racism of any sort? If you argue that they're the same,
are you excusing Jews from fighting racism against others on the grounds that
fighting anti-Semitism is enough? The real question of course is not into
what box, what category, do we fit anti-Semitism, but--since we know the
struggles against racism and anti-Semitism are closely linked--how do we fight
and who are our allies?"
In the case of the Black-Jewish conflict, you can see how the lack of your
so-called equation actually maintains disunity. "Popular media foster and
exaggerate Black-Jewish conflict," Kaye/Kantrowitz writes, "a displacement in
which Jews get blamed for American racism and poverty, and Blacks get blamed
for American anti-Semitism. When Jewish and Black concerns are polarized this
way, Jewish concerns will always seem a little selfish, for the framework
highlights Jewish privilege, power, immunity from racism relative to Black
people, and also obscures Black strength . . . and significant common ground:
the threat of garden variety white supremacy."
Perhaps we can further this discussion by asking how the media tends to
cultivate Black-Jewish conflict, particularly in regards to anti-Semitism and
Dept. of Radio-TV-Film