Race is a social construct, let me reiterate for the people in the back, RACE IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT!
That out of the way, now let’s get down to the very difficult topic at hand, are Jews white? Well, this is a very American question honestly, but it was really a very Nazi question at one point. In Europe, if you ask a person in Greece how it feels to be Italian or a Spaniard, they’d laugh at you, if you asked someone from Nirobi how it feels to be a Kenyan, they might get offended. Yes, these are nationalities, however, nationality seems to be the metric by which most generate their ideal of race.
In America, more so than in Europe, Africa, Asia, et cetera, we divide into Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and the like, with a good many holding strong sentiments about one another. Few are simply Americans, we separate into subsections; we aren’t content with being simply human beings in America, we’re, for instance, Asian – Homosexual – middle-aged – insert music – insert sport – insert occupation – insert fandom, and much more. We freely associate with those most like ourselves, because we hold false sentiments about anyone that is outside of our social, racial, economic, sexuality spheres, and rarely step outside of the boundaries we set for ourselves.
We often burden our hearts with stereotyping, resentment, hate, and artificial constructs which hold us prisoners from knowing anyone outside of who and what we are and like. The pigment of one’s complexion is an utterly ridiculous thing to hold us apart, as it varies from person to person; I have known Mexicans whose skin was whiter than mine, I have known Puerto Rican’s who could easily pass as black. The fact is that to allow the pigment of someone’s skin to dictate your beliefs about them is utterly laughable!
Now, Jews have a well-documented nearly 4,000-year history that is well researched and reached to Judea and Samaria, this includes the Ashkenazi who lived in Europe for hundreds of years. We Jews are interconnected by a shared history, culture, and peoplehood, with a few differences, due to living amongst the diaspora. In modern Israel, you couldn’t trip over a rock, or drop a grain of salt without discovering some piece of ancient Jewish history.
We are middle-eastern, we are of the 12 tribes of Eretz Israel, first and foremost, though the centuries have cast us from our homeland into the diaspora until the land of Israel was reborn. We often prefer the term “peoplehood,” to race, as we have a distinctive language, a culture that we’ve preserved, foods, religion, way of life that indicates that we are a unique people. It is for this reason, that when someone converts to Judaism, they are converting to the peoplehood of Jews, not just the religion, and because of this, when someone converts they are entitled to make Aliyah and move to Israel, treated as a born Jew.
We are not “white,” and we are not simply a religious group, once one converts to Judaism, even if they leave the religion itself, they are a Jew (example: A jew who is Catholic, a Jew who is secular). When you convert, you are forever counted among the Jewish people, not just the religion!
This is one of the things that is absolutely beautiful about Judaism, the mixed multitudes of Jews of every color, hue, nationality, economic class, sexuality, gender… but still we are one, we are all just Jews. So when looking at the question of “are Jews white?” the answer is yes, and brown, and black, and yellow, and red… but most importantly we are Jews one and all. Since starting this process of conversion I have heard more antisemitism than when I was a neo-nazi… some of what I’ve heard is;
“Israel is full of European colonizers”
“Jews are white so anti-semitism isn’t real because it isn’t systemic”
“The holocaust wasn’t about race, it was white vs. white (even before Whoopie Goldberg said it)”
“The occupation (of the Jews own ancestral homeland and given nation) is blanket white supremacy”
…and this all ran counter-current to white supremacists notions of Jews are wicked, non-white, inferior people, who someone even with their inferiority control everything and is responsible for all of the world’s ills.
The answer to this question is a difficult one truthfully because Jews are a distinctive people, you can have a DNA test and they’ll find if you have Jewish DNA, but no Jew is concerned with that, we’re more interested in if someone has a Jewish soul. So yes, Jews are white, but we’re also every other shade imaginable as well, and it’s a beautiful thing!