culture/multiculturalism · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · prayer · rabbi · Riverdale

Ashkenazi Privilege Checklist

Yes, I have been writing a lot about race lately. This is much to the ire of one friend who keeps trying to convince me that race is meaningless. Check out the “Ashkenazi Privilege Checklist” another friend forwarded to me.

Ashkenazi Privilege Checklist

The checklist was created by Corrine Lightweaver, Sasha King, and the Jewish Multiracial Network between 2006-2009. It was used in a presentation on Jews of Color at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism.

___ I can walk into my temple and feel that others do not see me as outsider.

___ I can walk into my temple and feel that others do not see me as exotic.

___ I can walk into my temple and feel that my children are seen as Jews.

___ I can enjoy music at my temple that reflects the tunes, prayers, and cultural roots of my specific Jewish heritage.

___ I can easily find greeting cards and books with images of Jews who look like me.

___ I can easily find Jewish books and toys for my children with images of Jews that look like them.

___ I am not singled out to speak about and as a representative of an “exotic” Jewish subgroup.

___ When I go to Jewish bookstores or restaurants, I am not seen as an outsider.

___ I find my experiences and images like mine in Jewish newspapers and magazines.

___ My rabbi never questions that I am Jewish.

___ There are other children at the religious school who look like my child.

___ My child is never questioned by adults or children about whether he or she is Jewish based on skin color.

___ People never look at me and say “But you don’t look Jewish” either seriously or as though it was funny.

___I am never asked how I am Jewish on Jewish dating websites or dating events.

____I can arrange to be in the company of Jews of my heritage most of the time.

____When attempting to join a synagogue or Jewish organization, I am sure that my ethnic background will not be held against me.

___I can ask synagogues and Jewish organizations to include images, and cultural traditions from my background without being seen as a pest.

___ I can enroll in a Jewish day school, Yeshiva, and/or historically Jewish college and find Jewish students and professors with my racial or ethnic background.

___I am not discriminated against in the aliyah process for being a Jew of a different ethnicity.

___I know my ethnic background will not be held against me in being called to read the Torah.

___ I know my racial or ethnic background will not be held against me if I attempt to join a minyan in prayer.

___ I do not worry about being seen or treated as a member of the janitorial staff at a synagogue or when attending a Jewish event.

___No one at my synagogue will attempt to assign me to a ethnicity to which I do not belong. (Example: Assuming all Jews of African descent are Igbo or Ethiopian).

___ I do not worry about access to housing or apartments in predominately Jewish neighborhoods.

So many of these, sadly, hit home. Especially this last one. This past Shabbos a woman at synagogue said “Hello” to me. I gritted my teeth and smiled back knowing full well that that was the woman who told my husband when taking him to look at apartments, “Don’t worry, there aren’t too many Hispanics in Riverdale.”

One thought on “Ashkenazi Privilege Checklist

  1. It was very eye-opening for me to read this. I am familiar with the white privilege check list. But reading this one was interesting for me as a white convert because even though there are some items where I know those around me assume that I fit the ashkenazit mold, I still feel like an outsider in some way because I don’t share all of the cultural heritage, etc.


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