Talk:American Jews

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Is this really relevant to an encyclopedia article?[edit]

Is "whiteness" a defining fact on the topic of American Jews at all? Greek Americans does not say "Greeks are white." Italian Americans does not say "Italians are white". Arab Americans does not say "Arabs are white." Filipino Americans does not assign a race to Filipinos. In short, there is no basis for using the factoid (which is about as useless as any pseudo-factoid can be) in any article on Wikipedia in the first place whatsoever. Collect (talk) 13:55, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

Would you argue that the article African-American Jews should be deleted? Bus stop (talk) 14:19, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
No. And that is an absurd comment. The question is Should the article American Jews stress that they are White'? Collect (talk) 15:12, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
And I would note to the person who knee-jerked the edit that this is indeed an example of me having the discussion on this page, and that it damn well looks like I am far from the first person questioning the section. Collect (talk) 15:14, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes and if you had read the previous talk page discussion, you would have seen that while this section of the article has been frequently discussed and edited. It had also consistently been maintained in each stable version. My reversion was not a "knee-jerk", it is literally what BRD calls for in this and similar instances. Newimpartial (talk) 16:56, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
Touchy? I followed the normal edit procedure, and my edit summary should have been clear -
not relevant, and not a topic covered in any other Wikipedia article abt such groups. see talk page)
Which rather seems to suggest that I am discussing the issue on the talk page, else I would not likely have written "see talk page", would I? Collect (talk) 17:35, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
True, but you shouldn't sound butt-hurt (q.v. "knee-jerk") when such a BOLD edit is reverted. The best practice, after all, is BRD not BDR. Newimpartial (talk) 17:43, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

Because Jewish whiteness (much like Middle Eastern whiteness in general) remains controversial and hotly contested both within the academic realm and outside of it. This relatively recent article is one such example (http://www.politicalresearch.org/2017/06/29/skin-in-the-game-how-antisemitism-animates-white-nationalism/ ).The Human Trumpet Solo (talk) 02:27, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

You're out of your mind. Whether Jews are white is only a question discussed among a small percentage of American Jews who are uncomfortable with their white privilege. Your habit of pointing to what antisemites believe as if it were a barometer of rational thought is getting tiresome. Many antisemites don't believe Jews are fully human, let alone "white". And who cares. See WP:FRINGE, WP:UNDUE, and WP:PROPORTION.
And for the record, I agree with Collect. No, it shouldn't be necessary to state the obvious—that the overwhelming majority of American Jews are white—except that a small group of Wikipedia editors insist against all evidence that it's untrue and, worse still, that our encyclopedia articles should state their fringe theory as if it were fact. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 02:37, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
This comment can be summed up as WP:IDONTLIKEIT. You are entitled to your views User:Malik Shabazz, but you cannot remove sourced material just because you do not like what it says.
Actually, Malik Shabazz is 100% correct. The only people that ever question that Jews are essentially white, except those due to mixed race marriages (Drake et al) are due to social and racial descriptors. The only other people that say they are not white, are neo-Nazis and their ilk. A few fringe ridiculous academics talking about how some left wing Jews are ambivalent over the FACT THAT THEY ARE WHITE, does not make Jews not white, and does not mean there should be any mention of Jewish whiteness in the article, outside of the attempts by racists to call them non-white or lesser humans. This is not do not like, this is absolute truth. As for SPLC, although I generally agree with them, they are extremely left wing and really are not a reliable source on things like this. They are fringe in many ways and should not be held up as a justification for ridiculous edits.Sposer (talk) 16:03, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
This is a crude, one-sided misrepresentation on the debate of Jewish whiteness, essentially lumping in anyone who disagrees with you as either being a racist or insecure. By contrast, this subject has been hotly contested within the Jewish community and outside of it for decades. Moreover, whiteness itself is malleable and changes almost every generation. It isn't some immutable fact of the Jewish condition, as you are trying to portray it.The Human Trumpet Solo (talk) 04:54, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
We shouldn't put the cart before the horse. The figurative use of "white" in relation to Jews is relatively unimportant. Some Jews as well as antisemites may say that Jews are not white. But that is the figurative use of the word "white", and consequently that use is of relative unimportance to us. We should be more concerned with the literal meaning of the word "white" in relation to people. (Obviously we are not concerned with the use of the word "white", the color of standard bright white printing paper.) When writing an encyclopedia article we should be giving prominence of position to the literal meaning of the word "white". An encyclopedia article should not lavish disproportionate attention on mere figurative commentary. Bus stop (talk) 13:21, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────But surely there is no "literal" use of white for a race/genotype/ethnic group? Even describing albinos as "white" is somewhat figurative; Irish, French, Jews or Moroccans, much more so. Newimpartial (talk) 14:47, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

The most literal use of the term "white" for our purposes is the use of the term to describe appearance. That is why we have an article called White Jamaicans. Figurative uses are less important for our purposes than literal usages. If our article is to touch on this subject—and indeed it can be omitted, as some have pointed out—prominence of importance should be given to the literal. Lesser importance should be given to the merely figurative. Therefore the views of some Jews and of some antisemites should be relegated to a position of lesser importance in our article. Bus stop (talk) 15:29, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
But no American has a "literally white" appearance. The usage of "whiteness" is figurative all the way down. That is why wikipedia's articles about racial categories do not describe the "appearance" of each category, but the ways they are historically and culturally constructed in specific contexts. Newimpartial (talk) 15:54, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If an antisemite says that Jews aren't white they are clearly using the term in its most figurative sense. If someone with the appearance of Paul Simon or Barbra Streisand says that they are not white they are clearly using the term in its most figurative sense. (I should quickly add that I do not know that these people make any such assertion.) Our article need not get bogged down on the most figurative usages of the term white. Bus stop (talk) 16:21, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

You know, Bus stop, I could very easily and with good evidence make the argument that in the example you give, the antisemite (or the Streisand-looking person) is being more literal in denying whiteness than you are in avowing it. You might want to rethink your mental hierarchies. Newimpartial (talk) 16:43, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
White is a descriptive term. It is descriptive of appearance. It enjoys widespread use. When an antisemite says that Jews are not white, that antisemite is using the term "white" in a specialized sense. That specialized sense warrants little space in this article. When a Jewish person (who happens to look like Simon or Streisand) says they are not white, that person is using the term "white" in a specialized sense, and that specialized sense warrants little space in this article. We should be primarily concerned with using the term as it is most broadly used. Bus stop (talk) 19:06, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
For one thing, this is the article on "American Jews", and any discussion of race or "whiteness" here needs to be relevant to the topic of "American Jews" per reliable sources. It doesn't matter how broadly used or specialized the discussion is.
Second, if you look at other articles related to "Whiteness" they do not concern themselves mostly with the way you think "the term is most broadly used" - perhaps because that would be impossible, since there is no generally accepted definition. Newimpartial (talk) 19:24, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't the Pew survey support that 90% of American Jews identify as white? Bus stop (talk) 19:49, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely, which is why I edited the article to reflect that finding. But that is self-identification - just like any survey or census data - and has nothing to do with "literal whiteness". Newimpartial (talk) 19:57, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Therefore you would want to remove from the "American Jews" article the paragraph on African American Jews and other American Jews of African descent, correct? And you would probably want to delete the article African-American Jews, right? Bus stop (talk) 20:13, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
And while you're at it, you would probably want to delete the article White Jamaicans, right? Bus stop (talk) 20:17, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Why would I? I've known white Jamaicans. Those are all perfectly coherent self-identification categories - which is why data exists on them - even though none of them can be taken "literally" q.v. albino. Newimpartial (talk) 20:30, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
The White Jamaicans article says "White Jamaicans or European Jamaicans are Jamaicans whose ancestry lies within the continent of Europe, most notably England, Ireland, Scotland and Spain." Our article doesn't say that they merely "self-identify" as white. Bus stop (talk) 20:40, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Your point? What Jamaicans do you think identify as white, and why? The article certainly doesn't discuss what Jamaicans are "literally" white, nor, more to the point, does it define Jamaicans of Syrian-Jewish descent as being either white or not-white.Newimpartial (talk) 20:58, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

Europeans are some of the most quintessentially white people of the world. The White Jamaicans article says "White Jamaicans or European Jamaicans are Jamaicans whose ancestry lies within the continent of Europe, most notably England, Ireland, Scotland and Spain." The "White Jamaicans" are people of European origin living in Jamaica. And where does our article say that they are merely "self-identifying" as white? And by the way, how would a black person "self-identify" as white? Wouldn't that be rather difficult? Bus stop (talk) 21:37, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
FFS, nobody says that sane "black" people identify as "white", though some may identify as bi-racial. But many, many non-Europeans, including many people from the Middle East and North Africa, do not identify as "white" or "black", nor are they necessarily defined as "white" or "black" by the societies in which they live. Is this really so hard to understand?Newimpartial (talk) 23:15, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
You may not be aware of it but many white American Jews originate in Europe or Eastern Europe or Russia. These are locations where many light skin people are found. Bus stop (talk) 04:44, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
And I do not dispute that in any way. You may not be aware of it, but there are also many American Jews who come from North Africa or the Middle East, where the population is not considered white in their countries of origin, nor will they be so considered by the US Census after the MENA proposal goes through. I am not saying that these people are or aren't white, but your argument that they must be white because they aren't black is at least somewhat peculiar. Newimpartial (talk) 11:50, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I never asserted that a segment of the American Jewish population "must be white because they aren't black". In your post above you are linking to the color white. Shouldn't you be linking to white people? Bus stop (talk) 12:25, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Actually, Bus stop, you made that assertion here: [1] "Or do you think that the majority of American Jews are neither white nor black? If a certain small percentage are black, then of course the larger percentage are white." If you meant for that that latter comment to be parsed differently, I would certainly be interested in hearing what you meant.
And you are certainly right about my linking error. I won't correct my original post, because it wouldn't be proper, and anyway those populations are considered neither white nor white in their countries of origin. Newimpartial (talk) 12:43, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Where is the "self-identification" required of black people in this article and other articles that is required by you and other editors of white American Jews in this article? Does blackness get a pass as concerns the "self-identification" requirement? Bus stop (talk) 13:08, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't require self-identification in any way, and neither does the article (which I do not OWN anyway). However, virtually all empirical data about "race" and whiteness in the United States - except for police statistics and some touchy medical data - is based on self-identification, so it is what we have. And when we have a group whose identity is not self-evident - like MENA people, who have successfully lobbied to be removed from the category "white" on the US census, or self-avowed or potentially "biracial" people - how do you propose that wikipedia should treat them without mentioning self-identification? Blackness is no more exempt from self-identification than is biracial status, as far as I can tell, since individuals can identify with one, or the other, or both. Race simply does not have some "literal" meaning that can be read outside of the identities people hold and those imposed by others - it is those phenomena, and nothing else. Newimpartial (talk) 13:26, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
You say "how do you propose that wikipedia should treat them without mentioning self-identification" but we do not mention self-identification when it comes to black people. Bus stop (talk) 13:44, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Really? The article Black people does. Look at the sections on North Africa and Australia, for example. Newimpartial (talk) 13:51, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
The article African Americans also currently has a whole paragraph about "people who self-identified as black" on the 2010 US census. Care to re-think? Newimpartial (talk) 13:53, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
The American Jews article does not mention black American Jews identifying as black. Bus stop (talk) 14:05, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Sure it does. First paragraph, American Jews and race. Newimpartial (talk) 14:10, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

What are you referring to? Cut and paste to this Talk page, please. Bus stop (talk) 14:18, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
The article currently reads "In 2013, the Pew Research Center's Portrait of Jewish Americans found that more than 90% of Jews who responded to their survey described themselves as non-Hispanic whites, 2% as black ...". That is, 2% of Jews described themselves as black. "Describing themselves as" and "identifying as" are literally synonymous. Newimpartial (talk) 14:25, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Yet only white Jewish Americans get the language "identify as white" as in "[t]he overwhelming majority of American Jews identify as white." Ditto for the African-American Jews article, except for a mention of self-identification on a different subject. Bus stop (talk) 14:36, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I could certainly re-write for more parallel treatment of black and hispanic Jews in this article, and I might add the finding - which I find interesting and relevant - that among American Jews, both Ashkenazim and Sephardim both identify as white by a huge majority. But were you making a proposal or a POINT? And if the latter, I would like to know what the POINT is? Newimpartial (talk) 14:43, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I think at this point, in the midst of a lot of confusing conversation, I am just trying to make myself clearly understood. The "American Jews" article simply says "[t]he American Jewish community includes African American Jews and other American Jews of African descent..." It doesn't say for instance "[t]he American Jewish community includes Jews who self-identify as African American", nor does it refer to "Jews who self-identify as black". Let us pause for a moment and reflect on just that, before we rush headlong to propose changes to the article. I think we should let other editors weigh in at this point. Bus stop (talk) 14:59, 12 September 2017 (UTC)


Moreover, that source was from SPLC, not an antisemite.The Human Trumpet Solo (talk) 03:58, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it was from the SPLC about what antisemites say about the whiteness of Jews, moron. Don't you read the tripe you cite? — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:03, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
I read it, but you obviously didn't because he is arguing himself that Jews are not white. Or is Eric Ward an antisemite too? Also, watch WP:CIVILITY.The Human Trumpet Solo (talk) 04:15, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
"To refuse opposition to antisemitism, likewise, is an act of antisemitism. Arguably, not much more should need to be said than that. But I suspect that much more does need to be said. To the hovering question, why should we be talking about antisemitism, I reply, what is it we are afraid we will find out if we do? What historic and contemporary conflicts will be laid bare? And if we recognize that White privilege really is privilege, what will it mean for Jewish antiracists to give up the fantasy that they ever really had it to begin with?" Did you notice that part before you posted this emotional outburst? Or did you just skim over it?The Human Trumpet Solo (talk) 04:18, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
However, thanks to WP's sourcing requirements, we don't have any fringe opinions reflected in the article, only in the talk pages. Newimpartial (talk) 03:24, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
For the record, User:Malik Shabazz is attempting the same thing on this article. See diff: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Definitions_of_whiteness_in_the_United_States&diff=799662401&oldid=799543964.The Human Trumpet Solo (talk) 03:58, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

"You're out of your mind. Whether Jews are white is only a question discussed among a small percentage of American Jews who are uncomfortable with their white privilege."

I'm pretty sure this qualifies as WP:BIAS.The Human Trumpet Solo (talk) 04:06, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

If included, such a section of the article should state that Jews have a complicated relation to the identity of "white," with some Jews identifying as "white" for a variety of reasons--from not having any other alternative choice in surveys, from perceiving "being white" as "appearing white" and/or being "mixed-with-white," to being taught to disconnect "race" from Judaism in schools/media, or to suffering first-hand, second-hand, and third-hand trauma of Jews who survived the Holocaust/other Anti-Jewish persecutions and do not want to identify as Jews (or to avoid persecution, would feel necessity to identify as the population-dominant group) --and some Jews identifying as "Semitic," (which all Jews, tribally, are), "Middle Eastern," "Other," "Mixed," etc.. The section should not attempt to solely classify Jews or the majority of Jews as a group as "white," because classifying most/all Jews as "white" is not only contrary to fact (as some of the sources in previous discussions have revealed), but also POV-pushing. Further, it is also in violation of WP:Civility to drop conversations (as in to ignore others' responses) without coming to consensus before moving on to comment on new related sections and comments--about which I mainly refer to the acitivity of users Bus stop and Malik; such ignoring is insulting and hurts the academic foundation of this institution. Jeffgr9 (talk) 05:10, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

Not sure about the wall of text above....but if people are not familiar with the white class debate and research.....I am not sure they have the expertise needed to edit the article. Pls read some of the book sources above or an article like Anti-Italianism.--Moxy (talk) 12:15, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

Debate about Jews and 'whiteness' in this talk page makes the news[edit]

The debate on this page has recently been featured in a news report about Wikipedia titled "Are Jews white and is Richard Spencer a white supremacist? Wikipedia debates" and published on the English edition of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It seems this is the second such piece to be written for the newspaper (see: "The royal houses of Netanyahu and Baratheon: Inside this week's drama on Hebrew Wikipedia") by a writer called Omer Benjakob who claims to be researching Wikipedia. --192.118.73.36 (talk) 07:03, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

How does an article behind a pay wall with numerous popups that mis-quotes the debate going to help here. --Moxy (talk) 11:53, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
As the revert-er, I would have thought "pop-ups" <> paywall. Also, I would hope that being (mis)quoted in Ha'aretz would give editors some encouragement to think about what they write here.Newimpartial (talk) 11:57, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
OK if some think it's relevant fine....but pls don't add back the source to the article. ....wiki debates are not notible for inclusion in articles.--Moxy (talk) 12:02, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Yeah; I had no intention of reverting that. I found the reference in the article POINTey. Newimpartial (talk) 13:24, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

no source[edit]

the source for the 8-10M estimation says there are 6-8M where is the source for the 10M?

Undue weight to Ashkenazi Jews being non-white[edit]

I don't understand why we don't note that virtually every Ashkenazi Jew identifies as nonwhite.

Race is a social construct; human populations vary genetically, but you can't break those populations down into discrete races. Thus, the definitions of the races can change from generation to generation. Anti-slavism was a systemic racism in early 20th century Europe; in WWII the Nazis had plans to exterminate or expel Slavs from Russia, see General Plan Ost. But the fact that the Nazis (and many other Europeans in the early 20th century) regarded Slavs as a discrete race from Western Europeans, and attributed their economic underdevelopment to racial inferiority, does not mean that Polish or Russian Americans are racial minorities in 2017.

Right now--despite their ancient Middle Eastern ancestry--basically all Ashkenazi American Jews identify as white. That's probably because the current construction of race is based almost entirely on skin color, whereas it was more theoretical/pseudo-genetic a few generations ago. Ashkenazi Jews are less-melenated than their Levantine ancestors because they've evolved in Europe for thousands of years, and didn't need those genes anymore.

The 2013 Pew poll cited in the article show that virtually every American Jew other than Jews of sub-Saharan African and Hispanic descent says s/he's white (I'm betting the 2% who said they're "Some other race" are North African Jews.)

I think we should note that virtually every Ashkenazi Jew identifies as white, based on the polling data. We're giving way too much weigh to the nonwhite identities of a negligible share of Ashkenazi Jews.

Of course, whether and to what extent they are white could change if the alt right (neo-Nazi Americans) comes to power.

Steeletrap (talk) 05:15, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

It's certainly true that anti-semitism is a form of racism that goes well-beyond religious prejudice to stereotype about Jews as people; anti-semites implicitly view jews as nonwhite. But anti-semites are not the majority, and their racial typology should not inform this article. Steeletrap (talk) 05:28, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps--in the spirit of compromise, though this would be a good addition on the merits--we could note that many racist groups in the US regard Jews as nonwhite, and persecute them as such. But we should note the identity of basically all of the Ashkenazi Jews (white). Steeletrap (talk) 05:30, 16 November 2017 (UTC)