Catherine of Aragon, circa 1502, by Michael Sittow
Attitudes Toward Jews in Ten European Countries
auroramere answered: Yes, but I’ll concede that I personally, in this generation, don’t expect cops or vigilantes to shoot my kids and walk.
Nor I, thank God. But there are some issues there that I’d like to unpack.
No one here is attempting to claim that white/white-passing/however you want to say it American Jews experience anything like the same levels or patterns of racism and racist violence aimed at black Americans, or many other racial groups living in the United States. We simply do not. And when we challenge the idea that no one tells us to ‘get over’ the Shoah, or that we are simply seen as white, or that we don’t deal with anti-Semitism in the culture, or face violence, or that our history is not erased, we’re NOT CLAIMING THAT WE DO.
No one’s saying that. At most we are saying, “Please, don’t look at everything we’ve been through, and continue to go through, don’t look at our decimated people, whose cultures and physical existence have been so badly damaged so often and so recently, and say ‘well, a bunch of you are white Americans now, so how badly could you really be hurting?’.”
I grew up seeing numbers on old ladies’ arms. I grew up with armed guards outside my shul on the chagim. I grew up surrounded by Jews from the Soviet Union. I’ve met people who served jail terms for teaching Hebrew. This isn’t abstract at all for me, or for many of you, the Jews of Tumblr, the Jews of America. We are the product of a people still under attack, and still recovering from past attacks.
And my sense of relative security is specific not just to this generation, but to certain areas of the world. My global Jewish community is not a secure one.We are targets. Mumbai. Tolouse. So many smaller ones. We live with this shit. Every day.
It’s awfully convenient, though, to pit us against other groups. It’s hard to acknowledge the anti-Semitism in the culture around you, it’s hard to realize that reading Anne Frank in school didn’t actually teach you all that much about Jewish history and experience. It’s much easier to play the endless game of marveling at how privileged Jews must be for anyone to give a flying fuck that they were murdered (at least for that time when they were murdered by people the English-speaking world was at war with, and some of them were assimilated middle-class people). This is a mug’s game. No one but the anti-Semites win.
At the same time, I see Tumblr scrambling all over itself to acknowledge the oppression of many other groups, often without really knowing a damn thing about them. I wonder why it’s so incredibly hard for people to bother to educate themselves about us. I wonder why hearing our stories, and accepting our understanding of ourselves is so damn hard for gentiles.
Then I see my mother lifting and eyebrow and saying “you KNOW why”, and I am reminded.
Anyway, this is far more than you probably ever expected or wanted as a response to a simple and true comment. I’m not sure this is entirely what I wanted to say. But it’s some of it.
I hope you don’t mind my reblog and bolds. I’ve been trying to put this into words for such a long time, and you’ve done it better than I think I ever could.