November 1, 2015

FEATURE: White student has valuable contribution to conversation about racism

WALTHAM– Julie Rosenblatt may look like your average white upper-middle-class suburban New Yorker, but there’s more to her than meets the eye. She’s also an important voice in the fight against racism on campus.

Rosenblatt is the first to admit that her private Jewish Day School was “predominately white.”

“I didn’t have any friends of color,” she admitted, “but I certainly understand the oppression felt by minorities in this country and on this campus.”

And yet she is one of Brandeis’ most vocal opponents of systemic oppression.

That’s because, as you may have guessed, Rosenblatt is a Jew — a minority group whose experiences are equivalent in every way to the unjust treatment of Black Americans.

“This kind of reminds me of the Holocaust,” Rosenblatt said of her intro to AAAS class. “Just like African American people were forced into a transcontinental system of slavery, Jews sometimes get made fun of for their noses. We have so much in common.”

There are several other parallels according to Rosenblatt. For example, young black men feel they have reason to be afraid of police after several recent high profile shootings. Similarly, Jews are accused of running the media and controlling the banks, “just because we have privilege.”

Rosenblatt runs a Tumblr page called “Jew-ppression” where she talks about the oppression she feels as a relatively wealthy Jew on a campus of 50% Jews. In a recent post she pointed out the difficulty in taking time out of school for second day Sukkot.

By highlighting the connection between Jews and Blacks, Rosenblatt believes we can take important steps towards eradicating discrimination.

“I know there are other students who feel this way,” Rosenblatt wrote in another recent Tumblr post. “If people would just feel more confident to raise their hand in class and connect everything they hear back to the anti-Semitism, I think we could push this important dialogue forward.”

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