The Mizrahi reporter Sigal Samuel, writing in The Forward, cannot be considered a ‘person of colour’ because Jews cannot be victims of other people of colour. Yet Mizrahim can be victims of ‘white’ Ashkenazi ‘racism’. Her anti-Zionism makes her settle for the identity of an ‘Arab Jewish woman’. It does not occur to her that race might not have been a factor.
Here is another case where the comments are more worthwhile than the article itself.
“Am I a person of color?
You’d think there would be a straightforward answer to a question like that. And for a while, I thought there was. I thought the answer was yes.
When I look at my grandparents — four Mizrahim, or Jews from Arab lands — I see people who were born in India and Iraq and Morocco, who grew up speaking Hindi and Arabic.
When I stand in Sephora buying makeup, the shade I choose is closer to “ebony” than to “petal.” When I walk down the street, perfect strangers routinely stop me to ask: “Where are you from? Are you Persian? Indian? Arab? Latina?” When I go through airport security, I always —— get “randomly selected” for additional screening.
I was pretty sure all this made me a person of color.
And then an acquaintance, who is Jewish and African-American, told me in the course of a casual conversation that no, actually, I don’t count.
This was news to me. At first, I admit, the statement got my hackles up. Who gave this person the right to police my identity? But then I started to wonder: Was I, a woman who sometimes gets read as white and therefore benefits from white privilege, wrongly co-opting the “of color” label in everything from internal monologues to health insurance forms?
To find out, I spent weeks talking to people in the black, biracial and Mizrahi communities. What I learned surprised me. Turns out, nobody quite knows how to categorize Mizrahi Jews.