White Racial Justice Working Group
The WRJWG is an affinity space for white Jews in JCUA to lean into the discomfort of unlearning and challenging the beliefs and behaviors of white supremacy.
We know that as Jews and as white people committed to racial justice, we have a very specific role to play. While many of us hold experiences of oppression quite close to our hearts and personal narratives, we also know that our ability to move through the world as white people has eased our path greatly. We know our whiteness has allowed us to build wealth in this country, pursue educational and professional opportunities, and access safe and secure housing for our families. We also know there are specific moments in history where white Jews have separated ourselves from other marginalized groups in order to gain access to certain benefits, at the expense of people of color. This history gives us a unique responsibility.
We know that white Jews’ security in whiteness is precarious, even as white Jews benefit every single day from our inclusion and participation in racist systems in our country. Meanwhile, we know that white supremacy and racism harm our multiracial Jewish community, and so many other marginalized groups in our country. Through the WRJWG, we are able to take stock of our internalized white supremacy in partnership with one another. This allows us to move away from isolation and shame and into community and move toward justice and holy action in our personal and collective communities.
It is important to recognize that an affinity group that centers whiteness is only possible at JCUA because we already have the Kol Or affinity space for Jews of Color. Creating an all-white space before first creating a safe space for People of Color can be harmful because it replicates the centering of whiteness under the guise of anti-racist work.
“There have been so many organizers of color saying this for so long, “it’s not my job to educate you on your own whiteness, that’s for you to do.” It’s hard to do that without an intentional space created. People flock to it, we’ve been hungering to fulfill that, in a way. JCUA, even though we’re not all white, every JCUA space I’ve been in has been majority white Jews. When we’re doing so much work in POC-led coalitions, in order to be effective we need to examine ourselves. Organize, learn, organize, learn.”