Emma Green
Emma Green
Emma Green is a staff writer at ​The Atlantic, where she covers politics, policy, and religion.

How Two Mississippi College Students Fell in Love and Decided to Join a Terrorist Group

In three short months, Jaelyn Young and Muhammad Dakhlalla found themselves at the center of America’s debate over radicalization.

  • Carlos Barria / Reuters

    Trump Is Bringing Progressive Protestants Back to Church

    Some mainline congregations have seen a bump in attendance since the election. But the most powerful changes to come may be theological.

  • Jews and the Social Construction of Race

    Immigrants at Ellis Island, 1907. Library of Congress

    In response to my article, “Are Jews White?,” some people, primarily on Twitter, have voiced concerns about the headline. Here’s an example:

    This reader, along with a number of others, seems to have interpreted the headline, and found it lacking, in a few different ways (I reached out to Siskind on Twitter for more details on her reaction but haven’t heard back):

    • Some seem to read it as a dog-whistle to white nationalists who seek to show that Jews are part of what they regard as a non-white, inferior racial group, thus reinforcing tropes of anti-Semitism.
    • Others seem to see it as an earnest questioning of whether Jews belong in the “white” racial category, thus promoting the use of racial categories.
    • And still others claim the headline reinforces old stereotypes within the Jewish community—specifically, a blindness to the experiences of Jews of non-Ashkenazi or non-European descent, many of whom might not self-identify or be seen as white by other people in the American context.

    We’re keeping the headline, and I want to explain why.

    “Race” is a historically contingent and subjective category that is used to justify violence against minority groups. I specifically wrote about American Jews because their experiences—which are incredibly diverse and varied—show the hypocrisies and limits of these racial categories. Looking at the historical experiences of this one particular group, and the present-day tensions its faces, is a means of critiquing the way “whiteness” is used to delineate who is and isn’t considered powerful and valuable in society.

    When I was first looking into writing this article, I worried that the question might be stale. A number of scholars, including Emory’s Eric Goldstein, whom I interviewed; UCLA’s Karen Brodkin; and, most recently, Princeton’s Mitchell Duneier have written about the way Jews relate to whiteness, from a variety of different angles. I wondered whether this debate would seem too esoteric and niche—a conversation of interest only to a small group of Jews and scholars, but effectively irrelevant outside of those circles.

    The reaction I’ve gotten has been surprising, and shows that this is clearly not the case. Certain parts of the Jewish community are having conversations along these lines; others seem stunned that this is a question at all. A lot of people seem to feel strongly that talking about Jews in terms of race—even to challenge the notion that Jews could ever fit neatly into a single racial category, which is what my article is about—is thought-provoking or, at worst, dangerous. One reader, Melissa Bender of New York, put it this way in a phone conversation:

    It really was a reaction to the headline and the graphic together. ... I thought it was provocative in an unfortunate way. It focused attention on the wrong question—I think the real question is: Have white supremacists been able to influence the content of mainstream media far more than they ever could before the election? Obviously, that’s the case. ...

    Judaism is not a race, it’s a religion. And second of all, the only reason people are thinking about whether Jews are white right now is because there are white supremacists influencing the conversation and pointing it in that direction. ...

    I felt like it was essentially allowing the white-supremacist conversation to dominate the headline. I felt that it could have the dangerous effect of making that the question—Are Jews white? Should they have fewer rights than white people?—and push the conversation in a more prejudicial direction.

  • Carlo Allegri / Reuters / Evan Vucci / ...

    Are Jews White?

    Trump's election has reopened questions that have long seemed settled in America—including the acceptability of open discrimination against minority groups.

  • Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

    How Muslims Defined American 'Cool'

    A conversation with the Purdue University professor Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, whose new book documents the connection between Islam and hip-hop culture in the United States

  • Carlo Allegri / Reuters

    Why White Evangelicals Are Feeling Hopeful About Trump

    They’re worried about poverty, hunger, drug addiction, and the “softness” of the country. And they’ve got high expectations for their president.

  • USA Today Sports / Reuters

    Tom Brady, Sociologist of Religion

    A new documentary series, co-produced by the quarterback, Michael Strahan, and Gotham Chopra, is a surprisingly meditative look at the way sports give people a sense of meaning in life.

  • National Archives and Records Administration via Densho Digital ...

    What Makes Today’s America Different From the Country That Incarcerated the Japanese?

    A conversation with a historian about the slow creep of discrimination, from the U.S. government to church groups

  • Gregorio Borgia / AP

    The Cardinal Trying to Save Chicago

    Blase Cupich, who has been called America’s Pope Francis, has just been given a powerful new position in Rome. Can he keep his own city from being destroyed by gun violence?

  • Mark Makela / Reuters

    Liberals Have a Choice: Reach Out to Trump Voters, or Condemn Them

    If progressives want to win back political influence in America, they may need the support of the people they see as racists.

  • Noah Berger / Reuters

    The Jewish Struggle to Understand Trump's Election

    Synagogues hosted prayer and healing services on Wednesday for congregants grappling with the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

  • Carlo Allegri / Reuters

    The Evangelical Reckoning Over Donald Trump

    White, conservative Christians voted for the Republican candidate by a huge margin, but this election revealed deep fractures among leaders and churches—especially along racial lines.

  • Mark Makela / Reuters

    What It Feels Like to Win an Election as the Underdog

    The Philadelphia GOP was supposed to be a minority party in a Democratic-leaning swing state. On election night, something else entirely happened.

  • Brian Snyder / Reuters

    A Final Pep Rally for Clinton

    The Democratic nominee spoke to a celebratory crowd in Philadelphia—but elsewhere, Americans remain divided.

  • Mark Makela / Reuters

    Pennsylvania Is Ready to Stop Being a Full-Time Swing State

    The residents of one county evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans look forward to the day when they are not being bombarded with political appeals.

  • Lucas Jackson / Reuters

    All Eyes Are on Pennsylvania

    Politicians are descending on the Keystone State, which will help determine which party wins the Senate—and the White House.

  • Rogelio V. Solis / AP

    A Black Church Burned in the Name of Trump

    Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, was reportedly set on fire and spray painted with the words “Vote Trump” on Tuesday night.  

  • Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

    The Disturbing Details of Trump’s Alleged Voter-Intimidation Efforts

    Democrats have filed nearly half a dozen lawsuits against the Republican presidential nominee and his party about “ballot security” efforts. It seems the old days of poll watching never ended.

  • Brian Snyder / Reuters

    Why the Catholic Church Is Leading the Fight Against Legal Pot in Massachusetts

    The Archdiocese of Boston gave $850,000 to oppose an upcoming ballot measure—the second largest donation given to the campaign.

  • Daniel Munoz / Reuters

    Why Porn Stars Hate California’s Ballot Initiative to Protect Their Safety on Sets

    This November, voters will weigh a statewide proposition about condoms and worker rights.

  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters

    Can the FBI Sway an Election?

    The agency is investigating more emails related to Hillary Clinton. Whether or not it finds something in the next 11 days, its announcement could affect the outcome on November 8.