‘Becoming Black’

Racial Formation of Eritrean Migrants in Israel

In: African Diaspora
Amanuel Isak Tewolde University of Johannesburg Centre for Social Development in Africa South Africa Johannesburg

Search for other papers by Amanuel Isak Tewolde in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Little is known about racial identity claims of African migrants living in Israel who originate from countries where race is not a dominant identity marker. This article examines how Eritrean migrants, coming from a country where race-based social organisation is not prevalent, strategically adopted ‘Black’ as their identity marker in Israel. Online newspaper reports and conversational interviews with four Eritrean migrants were used as sources of data. During various anti-deportation protests, Eritrean migrants held signs with slogans referring to themselves as Black. Some of the slogans include: ‘Do Black lives matter in Israel?’, ‘Black or White I am human’, ‘Deported to death because I am Black’, and ‘Now I am White, will you deport me?’ I argue that for first generation Eritrean migrants in Israel, Black racial identity was adopted strategically as a political identity of social mobilisation and resistance in the face of a racialised and exclusionary migration policy.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 526 240 19
Full Text Views 20 11 0
PDF Views & Downloads 37 21 0