Imagine walking down the street when a stranger comes up to you and asks you if you have horns under your hat, then walks away. In the world that we live in stereotypes are a problem, have always been a problem, and will continue to be a problem. Among them, Jewish stereotypes have been highlighted as a sort of joke or something everyone can laugh at. People look at Jews as less strong so they make controversial assumptions about them. According to Wikipedia, a stereotype is “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or an idea of a particular type of person or thing.” Stereotypes occur when people threatened by a large group of people. When a person feels this, he or she will tend to group people together in a negative way. For example, people group Jews as greedy and power hungry, so in order to live up to that stereotype, society causes a Jew to feel this way. The first instance of this occurred even earlier than the term stereotype was created. Stereotypes in Judaism are harmful to Jews because it discourages individuality and encourages a cycle of of Jewish assumptions. These assumptions are everywhere and other people wouldn’t want to be stereotyped in the way that Jews have been. Throughout history there have been many Jewish stereotypes, some even made by people we look up to, including William Shakespeare. However the first Jewish stereotype, though the Christians may not have realized it, took place in Circa 1170 CE. The early Christians were frustrated with the Jews for making a picture of Jesus because they felt it was dishonorable to the Christians, so in turn, they made the stereotype of what a “common European Jew” looked like. They created the goblin-like image of Jews, the image had a big pointy nose, sparse amounts of hair, and pointy ears. After this incident stereotypes don’t pop up in history until the former part of the thirteenth century when William Shakespeare created the play The Merchant of Venice. This play had many controversial themes to it, for example making a character as a blood-thirsty moneylender, Shylock, who just happens to be Jewish and is depicted with all the Jewish stereotypes. When Jews were forced from their homes, rude caricatures began to surface including the one that almost everyone is familiar with, the hunch-backed, big nosed, and goblin eyed and eared. In the latter half of the thirteenth century, a much higher interest in much more realistic paintings and drawings began. This made artists decide to draw optical aspects of ethnicity which lead to controversial drawings on Jews. By the Seventeen hundreds, many people created different aspects of the “Jewish Nose”. Which then in the mid to late Eighteenth century Pseudo-scientists repopularized and named it a race-based deformity even though that is false. This nose occurs in most Europeans regardless of religion. Later this caused forms of anti-semitic propaganda made by Germans.Parallel to when people created the rude caricatures in the thirteenth century, Hitler did something very similar in Nazi Germany. He emphasized all the stereotypes on Jews faces. Hitler was a big fan of The Merchant of Venice, therefore, a lot of the caricatures were based on Shylock. Nazis made the Jews an even more alien race and told people they were subhuman and that is the reason they have different noses. In addition to that, Nazis were then ordered to make anti-semitic propaganda, like movies, which showed them as power hungry. Obviously Jews are not as awful as they were portrayed even though people nowadays may think that.The modern-day depiction of Jews really hasn’t changed much. There was even a Broadway show, An American in Paris, which had a character, Adam Hochberg, who followed every single Jewish stereotype of “a good Jewish man”. Even in the movie business, they will create such offensive Jewish cultural association. In the movie It, the new movie adapted by Stephen King’s novel, there is a character named Stanley Uris. Stanley is portrayed as a stuck up, and not really caring about anything but himself. Even in T.V. shows, they won’t normally hire Jews to play Jews because they believe a non-Jew who is familiar anti-semitic stereotypes could act the part more realistically. In the new T.V. show The Marvelous Ms. Maisel, the main character, Ms. Maisel is an annoying New York mother of two. It shows her as the usual Jewish mother. With many T.V. shows and movies include anti-semitic themes including; The Big Bang Theory, South Park, and many more, which leads to offensive ads and yet no one will do anything to stop it.Through the publicity of Jewish stereotypes, people will continue to treat Jews like their stereotypes whether it’s “the nice Jewish man” or the “big nosed, greedy Jewish man”. Yes, it may be fun to laugh at, but in the long run, a person is essentially taking away someone’s personality when they group them together. This doesn’t just happen to Jews but to all sorts of minorities including Black people, Asians, Muslims, etc. Every person should care about Jewish stereotypes because if they were part of a minority they wouldn’t want a person to make rude stereotypes about them. Jewish stereotypes have been around for an enormous amount of time and I think it’s time someone really took a stand against them.
August 26, 2019 0 Comments