The context of Jewish people emigrating to the US and being reckoned as White Americans goes back to legislation on immigrants. This dates back to 1907 when the federal government began collecting data about naturalization of individuals who wanted to become natural citizens of the United States (Lopez, 1996, ppr626). The onset of naturalization as a White then became a principal embedded in the law hence favored those who resembled the specifications of the naturalization laws.
The law and jurists argued that ‘White’ was what had White culture making it a social construct, a legal artifact and a function of what people believe (Lopez 1996, ppr630-631).Factor 1The legislationThe context of legislation circumvents around the race that fits in the description of ‘White’. The Jews practiced both White culture and religion. They fit perfectly in the anthropological perspective of the legislative assumption on the depiction of ‘white’.
Besides this context, the Jews were ideological and more socially acceptable in the naturalization. However, they got their chance based on their large numbers in New York and their assimilation to both the system and culture of the natives coupled with their industriousness (Brodkin, ppr43)Factor2Their choice of habitat and the racial backgroundSettling in New York was a choice that gave the Jews insulation against possible eviction and cultural differences. According to Brodkin, New York was filthy and no Christian would stand to live there. But the Jews did (Brodkin, ppr43). Their color and choice of habitat, coupled, made them a race that chose to remain in a environment that hardly bothered the other whites making the locals assume it was a society of Whites seeking settlement (Brodkin, ppr51)SourcesLopez.
H, (1996); White by law, ppr620-631Brodkin, How Jews became White folks ppr43-51