How We Benefit as Jews in America from White Privilege

Jews in America benefit from White Privilege. While there are Jews of color, we are mostly a Caucasian people. I say this as someone who is frequently asked if he is Middle Eastern, maybe Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, or even Persian. I have thick, curly black hair and olive skin, but most people don’t think of me as a person of color. Many Jews, maybe most, have more European features than mine.

As a Caucasian people, Jews in America get all the same benefits of White Privilege as Gentiles: better wages and police protection, not being assumed to be of inferior intelligence or only having a position because of affirmative action, to name a just a few. But Jews also benefit in a way that Gentiles don’t. Animus, prejudice and discrimination falls on the most visible Other in a society. The presence of racial minorities is a lightning rod for negative attention that would otherwise fall on us.

Europe did not have racial minorities, at least in any appreciable numbers, during the Middle Ages. Jews were the most salient Other, and they were demonized. At times, populations were massacred.

I’m not saying Anti-Semitism doesn’t exist. But it doesn’t exist at the level that racial hatred exists in America. Just look at Dylan Roof’s slaughter of African-Americans in a church or Donald Trump’s repugnant vitriol aimed at Hispanics. A candidate of Jewish extraction made a serious run at the Democratic nomination, and there really wasn’t any Anti-Semitic chatter.

Without the presence of racial minorities, all the energy that goes to hating them would, in all likelihood, be turned to Jew. In the way, we get a unique benefit out of White Privilege.