White Jews: An Intersectional Approach

David Schraub
2019 AJS Review  
Abstract"Intersectionality," a concept coined and developed by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, examines how our various identities change in meaning and valence when placed in dynamic relation with one another. Instead of exploring identity traits like "race," "gender," "religion," and so on in isolation, an intersectional approach asks what these various characteristics "do" to one another in combination. I suggest that an intersectional approach—asking "what does Whiteness do to
more » ... do to Jewishness?"—can help illuminate elements of the Jewish experience that would otherwise remain obscure. The core claim is that Whiteness and Jewishness in combination function in ways that are not necessarily grasped if one atomizes the identities and holds them apart. What Whiteness "does" to Jewishness is act as an accelerant for certain forms of antisemitic marginalization even as it ratifies a racialized hierarchy within the Jewish community. Absent an intersectional vantage, many political projects and controversies surrounding Jewish equality will be systematically misunderstood.
doi:10.1017/s0364009419000461 fatcat:kufo6q6dcjhtdkx26x7gjw75d4