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Are Jews White? U.S. History Says, It’s Complicated (The Forward)

The first time someone told me I was white, I was seven years old. Three of my friends, all of them light-skinned black kids like me, taunted me in the schoolyard after my father dropped me off.

“That’s not your real dad,” they said. “He can’t be because you’re white.”

I was devastated. But I remember my father reassuring me that they were wrong; not only was he my father, but also, I was black, even if I was lighter than the other black kids.

My parents raised me to be secure, as racially mixed and Jewish. These were non-negotiable parts of my identity.

But as I got older, I began to understand that there was a third element to my racial identity: I am white-passing. This means that I am frequently mistaken for white, even though I am not.

Passing in the black community is about more than just appearances. It is a loaded term that refers to attaining aspects of whiteness but only at the cost of one’s blackness.

Read the full op-ed in The Forward.  

On Passing and Not Trying to Pass

I am black, and I am Jewish.

I’ve always found comfort in the and of my identity — that simple part of speech that joins together two disparate things: two families, two histories, two cultures, two heritages, two skin colors, two lineages of trauma, two pathways to North America. As the offspring of both, I am equally neither.

Read the full post on My Jewish Learning's Jewish&.