They certainly have the feel of racism. To obsess about minority faiths. To make an issue of them. To pretend they doesn’t play a role in public life.
The US only had one Catholic president out of 45. The but-one oldest monotheism in the world. Seems strange. Why is it even an issue? When the vast majority of Latinos are RC, the association only gets stronger.
The Nazis deemed Jews a race. Although Jews are of every biological race there is. The majority of Jews in Israel are not Ashkenazic. In fact, Israelis are so un-racist that Mizrachic and Ashkenazic Jews have intermarried so much that pollsters cannot distinguish between the two groups anymore.
Muslims in the Western world first came from non-White-majority lands so anti-Muslim sentiment usually equals plain (pardon the pun) racism.
Color and Biology
US racism hyper-focuses on skin color. This, because its ruling caste were Caucasians from Europe who colonized the Americas, oppressed and mass murdered the Natives, and imported Africans to be held as slaves. But racism is not always so obsessed with skin color. White supremacy often focuses on the supposed superiority of White intellect and culture.
And that is how Italians and other (darker) Mediterraneans in White countries also get to be treated as inferior, very similar to general racism.
But often, minority groups are targeted with racism while on their appearance they seem no different from the majority. Certain Chinese in China. Russians in Israel. A slight accent is often enough.
While one cannot change one’s biological heritage, a few other things also have proven immutable, like gender or sexual identities. Hatred for trans-gender or gay men and women also often very much seems racist.
Talking of unchangeableness, women are women, so here you have a racist element of sexism.
Heritage and Culture
But, religion often functions as (part of) people’s culture. So, if an important component of racism is cultural supremacy, sentiments against certain religious groups can certainly function very much like racism.
There is the aspect that you can adopt or reject a religion but not a family tree. Also, biological differences are harder to hide than culture. Although, in many large families, often some children look much darker than others. So, visibly, many non-Whites can or could pass. But culturally often not.
Also one’s class background has a strong cultural component. Looking down on people who’re more working-class isn’t so different from racism. Especially when one’s socioeconomic status is not as changeable as the American Dream (upward mobility) lies it is.
And when the essence of one’s ethnic identity is mostly given by heritage, like with Jews, who are a People rather than a faith community, things can get confusing fast. Luckily, most racists are antisemites, so the distinction is often academic. Of course, things get really messy when Ashkenazic Jews don’t feel close to Black Jews, when Blacks (people oppressed by racism) spew antisemitism, or when Mizrachic Jews hate Muslim Gentiles.
But for many Catholics and Muslims too, that works more as family history and culture than as religion, showing their inherited and race component.
When you have one Catholic parent and one non-Catholic, you’re 100% Catholic. When you go see the Pope, you book a flight for all your body.
When an owning-class person has children with a middle-class person, the children are 100% both, not 50/50. They need to work both on the arrogance and on the timidity they probably inherited.
A Bisexual is 100% Straight (work on your homophobia), 100% Gay (work on your internalized homophobia, why you as a Gay person feel inferior), and 100% Bisexual (work on not belonging). But you potentially also have three positive identities, being happy to be extra: confident and normal, weird and compassionate, and relaxed about your sexuality, respectively.
When you have a White and a Black parent, you need to be proud of your Blackness 100%. But you may also need to work 100% on your privileged side and the racism you may have learned from your White parent. And if you saw your White parent being racist to your Black parent, chances are that you hate your Blackness more than a non-mixed-background Black.
When one of your parents is a Jew and one is a Gentile, you are 100% a Jew and 100% a Gentile (sociologically–for Jewish Law it’s either/or, but also 100%). Half-Jew is an invention of Nazi race laws. You also may have the intensity of a Jew AND the relaxedness of a Gentile. Just the same as when you converted to Judaism. But it is possible that your Gentile parent was the incense one and loving Jews, and your Jewish parent the relaxed one and not so proud of being Jewish. Anyway, you may want to work on: Jewish pride, self-hatred learned at home, and trying to pass as Gentile.
When a Jew has an Ashkenazic and a Mizrachic parent, they often are at the same time very good at being brainy and at being a people person. But the over-criticalness and racism they absorbed from one parent may work extra destructively in extra hating their sloppy/relaxed Black side.
To a certain degree, some people can (and do) change their lifestyle (religion, sex, or sex of one’s partner, economic status, language, culture) but most people are what they are and so, hatred against their groups is then inescapable, which makes it even more resemble classical racism.
Meanwhile, especially White folks must not begin to call all oppressions racism and then not focus anymore on ending White racism but only on uprooting ‘all oppressions.’ Facing our internalized racism and society’s systemic racism can make us White people very uncomfortable. But, we can handle it. If they are forced to live with so much oppression, we can face guilt and discomfort and make a difference despite our uneasiness.
No, WASPs are not oppressed as WASPs. Maybe they are as working-class or middle-class or handicapped or whatever but not as WASPs. As WASP+s they are over-privileged. They can be mistreated and feel victims but they are as such not oppressed. They can claim their privileges as well-deserved or, the opposite, use them as extra leverage to help uproot all oppressions.
No one ever promised that it would be simple or easy. Learn and marvel.
But what is simple is that bigots often don’t distinguish very much between all distinct forms of hatred. And in the oppressive society, all forms of oppression often are compatible and friends of each other.
But, reversely, all forms of anti-bigotry can also be combined. Yet, when promoting intersectionality, if one is not a Gentile from German (they make no mistakes anymore), one must watch out not to exclude (only) the Jews. Antisemitism has this ‘let’s-blame-the-Jews’ component. No (potential) ally is immune to being a bigot. As shown in this recent clip. In it, a senior CNN commentator misspoke and called White supremacists: [Tromp’s] “the chosen ones” (0:46) — an antisemitic dog whistle if there ever was one! I reported the clip. YouTube did not remove it.