Jewish Stereotypes

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Jewish Stereotypes

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Jun 13, 2009, 7:44 pm

Thought-provoking article in The Guardian about Jewish stereotyping in the media (including literature). The question is whether Jews should avoid being or portraying roles congruent with (and therefore reinforcing of) stereotypes. The author writes about Dickens' attempts to counteract his damage with Fagin by creating a more sympathetic Jewish moneylender called Riah and writes:

"Yet Dickens has Riah say of his own usury that “if . . . I had been a Christian, I could have done it, compromising no one but my individual self. But doing it as a Jew, I could not choose but compromise the Jews of all conditions and all countries. It is a little hard upon us, but it is the truth. I would that all our people remembered it”. So even a Dickens attempting to make amends for the crude caricature of Fagin promotes the notion that Jews have an obligation to avoid professions such as moneylending in order to save their entire race from a special form of persecution."

The interesting issue, as the author phrases it, is whether individuals should be or feel responsible for appeasing the collective prejudice of a multitude of bigots.

Check out the article by Dominic Lawson ("Can Sir Alan Fire the Old Jewish Stereotype?") here:

Jun 18, 2009, 11:15 am

this sounds very interesting. i am printing out the article and will comment after i get to it. thanks for the link.