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Jews are White

Declares Daily Kos poll after Coates kerfuffle

Liel Leibovitz
June 19, 2009

“For what it’s worth, on a very visceral level, what I see is a bunch of drunk racist white kids, doing what I’d expect a bunch of drunk racist white kids to do,” Ta-Nehisi Coates, a blogger for The Atlantic who writes often on race, wrote earlier this month, after watching the widely circulated Max Blumenthal video of drunken Jewish kids making racist comments about President Obama. And thus started an interesting debate, in the comments section of Coates’s blog and elsewhere on the Internet. “Jews are not White,” wrote one reader Coates quoted in a subsequent post. “ Why are you blaming ‘white kids’ for this racial hatred when no white kids were involved? When Jews do good things they’re Jews, and when they do bad things they’re white?” Others disagreed. “I’m a Jew and a white person,” commented another reader. “I am positive that this is not a minority opinion. Our skin is white, our cultural heritage is basically the same as all the WASPy kids in our schools except we got a couple of extra days off for our holidays and we had to go over to our friends’ houses to see a Christmas tree.” On Daily Kos, blogger Kylopod, an Ashkenazi Jew, proved his Talmudic chops by sidestepping the debate altogether. Jews, he claimed, were not a race but an ethnoreligious group, and so there was little point in wondering whether they’re white or not. But the debate raged on, and Daily Kos ran a readers’ poll to answer the heated question. The results are in: we’re white, folks.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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