Jewish After Mount Sinai: Jews, Blacks and the (Multi) racial Category

Jewish After Mount Sinai: Jews, Blacks and the (Multi) racial Category

Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal
Volume 9, Number 1 (Summer 2001)
pages 31-45

Katya Gibel Azoulay [Katya Gibel Mevorach], Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Studies
Grinnell College

My point of departure begins with the social and political fact of being both a Black woman who is Jewish and a Jewish woman who is Black in order to undermine the presupposition of inherent cultural or racial differences that favors the vocabulary of mixed or hybrid identities over the conjunction [both.. and].  Instead of being mutually exclusive, the link between Jewish and Black identities witness Stuart Hall’s “logic of coupling rather that the logic of binary opposition.”…

…The revisionist celebration of a mixed-race identity negates and eclipses a long history of white men crossing the color line to engage in sex with Black women, usually without their consent.  It has rendered invisible violations of Black women while critiquing the strategic efficacy of privileging Black political identities. Although questions of appearance, performance and class require a separate analysis of diverse and divisive perceptions and conceptions of Blackness, the campaign for a multiracial category obscures the fact that Black/African-Americans is already a multiracial category.  Legal scholar Patricia Williams skillfully encapsulates this sentiment when she writes, “what troubles me is the degree to which few people in the world, and most particularly in the United States, are anything but multiracial, to say nothing of biracial.  The use of the term seems to privilege to offspring of mixed marriages as those ‘between’ races without doing much to enhance to social status of all of us mixed-up products of illegitimacies of the not so distance past.”…

Read the entire article here.

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