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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Kent Davis BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings? (298* d) RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings? 22 Oct 11


MorwenEdelwen1,

I thought I had answered your question, albeit in parts.

It would be possible to portray the guy as a self-deluded ethnic stereotype who imagines that Moses gave only nine commandments.

History and literature are full of characters who have deluded themselves into believing that they ARE what everyone else can see they are NOT.

It would not be possible to portray him as TRULY an observant (i.e., religious) Jew. It would not be possible because Judaism is truly incompatible with life as an unrepentant thief.

Although it would be possible to portray him as a self-deluded stereotype, it would very difficult to do so without reinforcing the stereotype.

Certain American television situation comedies of the 1960's and '70's suggest a possible way out of your dilemma, while also showing how difficult a task you have. (I don't know if these shows are known to you in Australia. I have heard that American television has infested the world, so perhaps they are.)

"Sanford and Son", portrayed Sanford, an African-American, in ethnically stereotypical ways. However, nearly all the characters were of the same ethnicity, which at least mitigated the stereotyping. "The Beverly Hillbillies" portrayed a family as Appalachian/Ozark stereotypes, but subverted the stereotypes so that, for example, the "dumb Hillbilly" ended up out-smarting the "sophisticated" Big City banker every time. Again, this mitigated the damage. The shows were popular even among the people who were being stereotyped.

Nevertheless,in my opinion, the shows did reinforce stereotypes; they just made the stereotypes less offensive.

I imagine it would be especially difficult to do what you are trying to do since, Fagin is (as far as I know) the only Jew among a crowd of Gentiles, and since he is a villian.

Kent


P.S. to MtheGM,

Pardon me, Sir! I plead "guilty" to parochialism. I had clean forgotten that "Oliver!" began life on the West End.

I did remember that "Sanford and Son" began life in the mother country as "Steptoe and Son", but whether "Steptoe and Son" involved sterotypes, I do not know.

Kent


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