Apparently race and ethnicity have been reduced to a person’s outward physical appearance according to some on the left—especially those who so brazenly and unfairly dismiss Bernie Sanders as just another straight, white, cisgender male attempting to usurp power from the underprivileged masses.
As a straight, white (gentile), cisgender male whose group has never been the target of such a (hate) crime, I call bullshit on this bizarre attempt to undermine Sanders by stripping him of his oppressed-group identity.
Never mind that he’s Jewish. Never mind that being Jewish in the United States historically has not been a bed of roses. Ask Leo Frank. Never mind that there was a racist massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh just last year committed by a white man who clearly did not see Jews as his brothers and sisters. As a straight, white (gentile), cisgender male whose group has never been the target of such a (hate) crime, I call bullshit on this bizarre attempt to undermine Sanders by stripping him of his oppressed-group identity.
It’s a sign of how sectarian the left has become that somehow Jews lose their minority status if they present as white men. This could be good news for Sanders if racist voters agreed—but even the blindest white supremacists always seem to know when a person is a member of minority group no matter how WASPY said person appears to be. Some of my friends on the left have somehow become even blinder. They don’t seem to understand that the concept of race (and the privilege it bestows) is primarily political and has never been confined to physical appearance. Ask Irish Americans, who were not always considered white.
It’s particularly sad that Sanders’s status as a Jew does not even guarantee support from Israel, whose extremist government and jingoistic defenders are at least capable of seeing past not only his physical appearance but also his heritage—and closely examining his policies. His foes are strangely divergent: In the left corner is a raging bull that can’t stand the color white, and in the right corner is a cynic so committed that he would rather support a president who courts anti-Semites than a wayward member of his own tribe. What unites the two is that they are both prisoners to identity politics.
All of this conspires to undermine an incredible candidate who, despite enormous challenges, has moved the once-rigid Democratic party to the left and shaken both sides of the political establishment. If identity politics are used as a weapon to defeat what could (and should) be the first Jewish president of the United States, it would be a bitter, shameful irony.