“Religion” and “Race”

One of the young people I work with was saying that she had to deal with some anti-semitic remarks about Jews being a “race” of people. I hope this helps clear stuff up, although as usual my job is to make things more complicated.

> > Basically, there is no such thing as a race of people in any kind of scientific or anthropological sense, other than the human race. This goes someway to explaining why http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/1998-10/WUiS-GSRD-071098.php although the account isn’t perfect. A much better account can be found in “a very short intoduction to racism” by Ali Rattisani which is on amazon for a few quid.
> >
> > So, there is no biological category such as “race”. It does however have a social reality. Take someone from the middle east for example, as an “Arab” you are more likely to be searched at airports, as an Asian, or whatever, we are both more likely to be stop and searched by police or end up in low payed jobs. It wouldn’t help our case if someone from the EDL was telling you to “go back home” or whatever, and you said that genetically race does not exist, because it has a social existence.
> >
> > Think about this with respect to Jewish people and you will see why you are right, but maybe not for all the right reasons. Hitler and the Nazis treated the Jews as a race and so do, to a lesser extent, the Zionists. In both cases they would look at an illeterate Jewish peasent from Poland, a Jewish business man from Hamburg and a Jewish writer from Vienna and just see Jews; not men or women, rich or poor, gay or straight but just Jews. In the one case they would use that as justification to kill them, on the other for them all to move to one country. Basically, I will always remember something Eugene, who you met, said to me. He was brought up in a very secular family, his dad only took him to synagogue twice a year. He said he never felt as Jewish as he did in the camp. Racism creates races, nothing else. In the same way, I would say the most Muslim I ever felt was when I have been made the object of racist discourse and action.

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