The colors of Jews: racial politics and radical diasporism

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Indiana University Press, 2007 - History - 296 pages
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Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz exposes and challenges the common assumptions about whom and what Jews are, by presenting in their own voices, Jews of color from the Iberian Peninsula, Asia, Africa, and India. Drawing from her earlier work on Jews and whiteness, Kaye/Kantrowitz delves into the largely uncharted territory of Jews of color and argues that Jews are an increasingly multiracial people -- a fact that, if acknowledged and embraced, could foster cross-race solidarity to help combat racism. This engaging and eye-opening book examines the historical and contemporary views on Jews and whiteness as well as the complexities of African/Jewish relations, the racial mix and disparate voices of the Jewish community, contemporary Jewish anti-racist and multicultural models, and the diasporic state of Jewish life in the United States.

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This book ignores both historical truths as well as scientific ones. The use of the Jews, who have already been proven to be of genetic uniformity (with the exception of Indian and Ethiopian Jews, who share some Jewish ancestry but are largely descendant of converts) in order to promote "tolerance among races" was a bad decision on the part of the authors. As an American Jew of Moroccan descent, I am thoroughly insulted that the author would rob me of my ethnic and racial connection to Jews from Europe and other areas of the Middle East. Read only if you want to see an example of how good intentions can attempt undermine 4,000 years of unbroken identity. Nice try Kaye and Kantrowitz, but this book belongs in the 19th century, not the present.  

Review: The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism

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About halfway through....Kaye/Kantrowitz begins with the question “Are white Jews white?” – from there, she discusses interracial dynamics in the US and the many varieties of Judaism beyond the dominant American Eastern-European model. Read full review

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Contents

1 Are Jews White?
1
2 BlackJewish Imaginary and Real
33
3 Who Is This Stranger?
67
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz is Adjunct Professor in Comparative Literature and Women's Studies at Queens College of CUNY and has taught in the Bard Women's Prison Initiative. She is a feminist scholar and poet whose many books include The Issue Is Power: Essays on Women, Jews, Violence and Resistance; My Jewish Face & Other Stories; and The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology (with Irena Klepfisz). She lives in Elmhurst, New York.