culture/multiculturalism · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · news · rabbi

Curiosity and Racism are the Same Thing?

Adam McKinney, left, and Daniel Banks bring their program on Jewish identity to Temple Beth-El in Great Neck. Their presentation, “Belonging Everywhere,” includes a film they made about a Jewish community in Ghana. Courtesy of American Jewish Committee.

Jewish Week article, Pressing for a ‘Global’ View of Jewry” interviews two local artists, both Jews from a multicultural background, who are now leading dialogues on Jewish identity. But article will people listen if what they hear is anger?

From the article:

“People of European heritage don’t get asked, ‘What are you doing here? Why are you here?’” Daniel Banks said to a reporter. “Only Jews of color or perceived to be of color are asked those questions.”

At another point, Adam McKinney was discussing the steps he’d like audiences to take in fighting racism, including the development of new curricula, when Banks suggested that people also examine “white privilege in the Jewish community.”

Neither do McKinney or Banks allow for the possibility that their perceptions may be wrong, especially in a city with a healthy share of progressive synagogues and rabbis. Asked whether they may be confusing curiosity and racism, Banks said he considered the two “inseparable.” Those asking about his background, he said, are making assumptions about Jewish identity that shouldn’t be made.

One thought on “Curiosity and Racism are the Same Thing?

  1. Well I read the article. I do agree that these two men seem bitter. I do not mean to discredit their experiences. But perhaps they could focus more on the situations where they have been accepted. For example, they could highlight a situation that they felt made them feel truly accepted (or if this has not happened…they can speak theoretically). Sometimes people can be lead and inspired much more by example rather than by outright criticism.


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