Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jewish Persecutions and Stereotypes

As most of us know, Christianity was the foundational religion of Europe, and the Jewish people were treated as the Christians worst enemy. The Christians feared that the Jewish people would spread their beliefs and that the Christian faith would lose its followers. The Jewish people were blamed for nearly everything that went wrong in the community, and were often scapegoats of the community. From the beginning, they were blamed by the Christians for killing Christ, and then again for poisoning the village’s water when the black plague struck. The Jewish people were forced to live in the cities ghettos or jewrys.  They were often viewed with suspicion and many myths were created about them. The Jewish population becomes an easy target for any bad event to happen in the community.
I became curious as to what kinds of stereotypes the Jewish people had to endure and found that some common stereotypes of Jewish people are; Jewish people were depicted as greedy, nit-picky, misers; and they have often been depicted counting money or collecting gold and jewels. They are depicted this way because the church forbade Christians from lending money and many Jewish people went into money lending because they were forbade from other jobs.

Physical appearance in Jewish people would be depicted as having dark skin, curly hair, large hook noses, thick lips, and dark-colored eyes. Though these are the depictions that caricatures use, as one can see from our class readings, the Jews had to be labeled and wear a stigma to represent that they were in fact Jews. This marking proves that the Jews were no different than the Christians in their physical appearance and they could easily mix with Christian people had they not been labeled as “other.”
A Jewish mother would be seen as, overbearing, manipulative, and controlling in their children’s lives long after they have become adults.
A Self-hating Jew is a person who holds anti-Semitic actions. A self hating Jew, hates other Jews who do not follow what he does more then he hates himself. 
Jewish people also had their own self-definitions. They had an emphasis on education and the study of the Talmud. They also held a strong sense of community.
Some racial Slurs that I found interesting towards Jews were the following:

“10% off” refers to circumcision.
“539” corresponds to the letters J-E-W on a telephone
“Gargamel” refers to greedy, money centered nature of Jews. Reference from the Smurfs cartoon

For more racial slurs visit: http://www.rsdb.org/race/jews

If you're also interested this website breaks down a few reasons why the Jews have been persecuted for so long.

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