Professor Dollinger Discusses Jewish Perspectives on Whiteness, Social Justice

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

DESERET NEWS (SALT LAKE CITY) -- And in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that swept the country after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — as well as the #JewishPrivilege hashtag that trended on Twitter just a few weeks ago — many Jewish Americans feel a renewed sense of urgency around the issue: Where do we fit into the country’s fraught racial landscape?

Dr. Marc Dollinger, a professor in San Francisco State University’s Department of Jewish Studies and the author of numerous books including “Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the alliance in the 1960s,” responds: “In each moment there is a specific answer.”

And that answer, he explains, changes with respect to who is in the vicinity.

“White is a relationship to power,” Dollinger says. “If people were going to point to examples of (Jews) being (considered) nonwhite, look at Pittsburgh — Jews were killed while they prayed in a synagogue. But when I walk into a 7-Eleven, a security guard doesn’t follow me.”