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Black, Jewish, and Interracial: It's Not the Color of Your Skin, but the Race of Your Kin, and Other Myths of Identity
Katya Gibel Azoulay



232 pages ( 1997)

ISBN 0-8223-1975-6 Cloth

ISBN 0-8223-1971-3 Paperback

How do adult children of interracial parents—where one parent is Jewish and one is Black—think about personal identity? This question is at the heart of Katya Gibel Azoulay’s Black, Jewish, and Interracial. Motivated by her own experience as the child of a Jewish mother and Jamaican father, Gibel Azoulay blends historical, theoretical, and personal perspectives to explore the possibilities and meanings that arise when Black and Jewish identities merge. As she asks what it means to be Black, Jewish, and interracial, Gibel Azoulay challenges deeply ingrained assumptions about identity and moves toward a consideration of complementary racial identities.

Beginning with an examination of the concept of identity as it figures in philosophical and political thought, Gibel Azoulay moves on to consider and compare the politics and traditions of the Black and Jewish experience in America. Her inquiry draws together such diverse subjects as Plessy v. Ferguson, the Leo Frank case, "passing," intermarriage, civil rights, and anti-Semitism. The paradoxical presence of being both Black and Jewish, she argues, leads questions of identity, identity politics, and diversity in a new direction as it challenges distinct notions of whiteness and blackness. Rising above familiar notions of identity crisis and cultural confrontation, she offers new insights into the discourse of race and multiculturalism as she suggests that identity can be a more encompassing concept than is usually thought. Gibel Azoulay adds her own personal history and interviews with eight other Black and Jewish individuals to reveal various ways in which interracial identities are being lived, experienced, and understood in contemporary America.

“Black, Jewish, and Interracial is a brilliant analysis of the problem of racial and ethnic identity. This timely work offers keen insight into complicated contemporary debates about the character of America’s multicultural make-up. This book has the added bonus of bringing a welcome depth to the often shallow discussions of relations between Blacks and Jews.”—Michael Eric Dyson, author of Race Rules and Between God and Gangsta Rap




“African American and Jewish and interracial? Katya Gibel Azoulay gives us a pathbreaking ethnography of how issues of politics and identity look from this vantage point, one that challenges a great deal of conventional wisdom.”—Karen Brodkin


“This is a book that will shed more light and perhaps more relevant heat on the current debates surrounding constructions of race, Black/Jewish identities, and the history and politics of that relationship.”—D. Soyini Madison, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Katya Gibel Azoulay is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Africana Studies Program at Grinnell College


 
  

 



 

 

 

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Related subjects:
African American Studies
Race and Ethnicity
Jewish Studies