Jews of Color
Jews of Color
Performing Black Jewishness through the Creative Use of Two Ethnolinguistic Repertoires
The United States is home to a growing number of Jews of Color. This chapter offers an introductory look at the diverse options for self-presentation among Black Jews, focusing on language. I analyze online videos that feature prominent Black Jews discussing and performing their Black Jewish identities: educator Yavilah McCoy, poet Aaron Samuels, writer MaNishtana, journalist Simone Weichselbaum, Hip Hop artist Y-Love, and actresses Kat Graham and Kali Hawk. By using distinctive features of the African American and Jewish American linguistic repertoires, in combination with other cultural practices, they align themselves with multiple groups. Sometimes they do so in humorous or parodic ways, mocking the essentialized understanding of language and racial identity. I discuss these findings in relation to various understandings of language, including the notion of “ethnolinguistic repertoire.”
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