In the audio link above, and in the lyrics below, you’ll find my new song, “Jews Are Not White.” What does White mean to you? What does Person of Color mean to you? What does Jew mean to you? How do you react to the statement, “Jews are not White”? What experiences come up for you? What happens in your body?
My book, The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Herigage, is the first anthology by Jews of color, never mind Jewish women of color, and is an invaluable resource for exploring these questions. It’s available in digital and hard copy format, through the link above.
In addition, in the coming month or so, I will be offering a companion multimedia program, open to the public, to discuss these questions together, and drawing from music, spoken word poetry, readings from the anthology and related articles, and group conversation.
Meanwhile, you can jump into the dialogue on topic, at any of my social media accounts:
Now for the lyrics, and remember to click the audio link for the song.
JEWS ARE NOT WHITE
Jews are not White.
Jews are not White if they have ice blue eyes or blonde hair or a tiny button nose or all of the above.
Jews are not White if they are the head of the Ashkenazi Federation or the Bureau of Ashkenazi Education or that Ashkenazi synagogue down the street that just calls itself a synagogue, period, because anything from anywhere else is just extracurricular and irrelevant.
Jews are not White when the self-congratulatory so-called Jewish community fundraisers who pride themselves on continuity make it economically viable for Ashkenazi narratives and norms to be passed down and carried on while effectively starving off Jewish history, heritage, and relevance from Afghanistan, Yemen, China, Brazil, and Ethiopia.
Jews are not White when that principal of that Jewish school explicitly calls those traditions “less important” while priding herself on the multicultural savvy that she has plagiarized from that educator of Middle Eastern background who meanwhile is living off credit cards so that Jewish children know what a “real” Jewish education actually means.
Jews are not White because the ones from Germany and Poland are from somewhere else before that, shipped off to the European continent as conquests by Rome, the most common Italian Jewish last name Servi, I Serve, the name of a slave.
Jews are not White because that European identity card is borrowed and fake, and they know it and you know it, and everyone around knows it, and knows that passport to privilege can be and has been revoked at any time, sending Jews down the Dark Dark Dark rabbit hole into oblivion.
Jews are not White because their relationship to power is different, distinct, the way that domestic violence is different, distinct, and needs to be understood as such, so that a wife killing a husband in his sleep is self-defense, whereas in another context, paradigm of violence, it is murder.
Jews are not White because while Ralph Lauren gear is the uniform of choice at that White country club in that wealthy neighborhood, Ralph Lifschitz would never be allowed to step foot on the grounds.
Jews are not White because their revulsion, repulsion, rejection of anything not White is not hatred of the Other, but rather, of the Self, shh shh shh quiet, quick, turn off the lights, oh god oh god your dark skin is calling attention to my prominent nose, shut up – shut up shut up shut up, duck, hide, get rid of it, get rid of it, don’t let them know it’s not supposed to snow in the Sukkah.
Jews are not White.
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©2021 by Loolwa Khazzoom. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be copied without author’s permission.