How Jews Became White Folks and What
That says about Race in America
In the reading the thesis is, “The record is very clear. Instead of seizing the opportunity to end institutionalized racism, the federal government did its level best to shut double-seal the postwar window of opportunity in African Americans faces. It consistently refused to combat segregation in the social institutions that were key to upward mobility in education, housing, and employment”(49). What I believe was going on in this reading was that immigrants came and were looked at differently until much time later.
The reading starts off with talking about how in the olden day when the immigrants came to America they where not thought of as white. Brokin states, “It is clear that Kenith Roberts did not think of my ancestors as white, like him” (38). Immigrants where thought of as biologically different because they came from a different area and may have spoke a different language so they did not have the privileges as the other white folks did, even though they and the same skin color as them. Brodkin stated, “It is certainly true that the United States has a history of anti-Semitism and of beliefs that Jews are members of an inferior race” (39). Meaning in the United States there was belief that Jews were not a part of the inferior race. The reading went on talking about how Jews and other immigrants were treats differently then others and did not have the same privileges as others did because they came from a different place. Brodkin stated, “Racism in general, and anti-Semitism in particular, flourished in higher education. Jews were the first of the Euro-immigrant groups to enter college in significant numbers, so it was not surprising that they faced the brunt of discrimination there” (41). All immigrants and other races were discriminated against.
Brodkin stated, “How we interpret Jewish social mobility in this milieu depends on whom we compare them to. Compared with others immigrants, Jews were upwardly mobile. But compares with nonimmigrant whites, that mobility was very limited and circumscribed. The existence of anit-immigrant, racist, and anti-Semitic barriers kept the Jewish middle class confined to a small number of occupations” (42). He was saying how Jews and immigrants were compared with others and worked differently than others did. As time passed Jews and other immigrants were considered white. “By the time I was an adolescent, Jews were just as white as the next white person” states Brodkin. They became one and all their separation from school and work places were different and seen as one. Race and privilege took over in the beginning when the immigration first started; people from different places around the world were looked at as different when they had the same skin color as white people did. Later on that was changes and immigrants were know and called white, they joined in the same school, power and privileges. Brodkin stated, “The myth that Jews pulled themselves up by their bootstraps ignores the face that it took federal programs to create the conditions whereby the abilities of Jews and other European immigrants could be recognized and rewarded rather than denigrated and denied” (49).
I thought this reading was interesting and I learned a lot from it. I enjoyed this reading because it taught me a lot and it was very informative. I liked how it wasn’t long and it flowed. This reading is a good reading and will be useful to me in the future.