Tag Archives: jewish

LJ Drama – Role Playing Game Named “Kristallnacht” Causes Controversy

by Latoya Peterson

Cruising through my normal blog reading, I saw posts from Willow and Coffee and Ink about a Harry Potter role playing game (not affiliated with JK Rowling) named Kristallnacht.

The word rang a bell, but I didn’t quite remember what it meant. However, there is always Wiki:

Kristallnacht, also known as Reichskristallnacht, Reichspogromnacht, Crystal Night and the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom that occurred throughout Nazi Germany on November 9–November 10, 1938.

On November 7, 1938 a young German Jew, by the name of Herschel Grynszpan, enraged by his family’s expulsion from Germany, walked into the German Embassy in Paris and fired five shots at a junior diplomat. Two days later, the diplomat was dead and Germany was in the grip of skillfully orchestrated anti-Jewish violence. In the early hours of 10 November, an orgy of co-ordinated destruction broke out in cities, towns and villages throughout the Third Reich. A total of 91 Jews were killed in the incident. The consequences of this violence were disastrous for the Jews of the Third Reich.

Kristallnacht saw the destruction in a single night of more than a thousand Synagogues, the ransacking of tens of thousands of Jewish businesses and homes, and more than 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and taken to concentration camps.[1] It marked the beginning of the systematic eradication of a people who could trace their ancestry in Germany to Roman times, and served as a prelude for the Holocaust that was to follow.

I checked out the first link to the actual game. It appears that the community responsible for the game has changed the name in response to the outcry – the game description now lists the title as hexennacht.

Still, I decided to discuss it here because of the very familiar nature of the conversation. Continue reading

Damned If You Do: Jews in the Spotlight, Stereotypes, and Identity (Intro)

by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse

Despite all the Easter hype, I found myself thinking a lot about Judaism in America this past week. Eliot Spitzer, New York’s Jewish political golden boy and possible presidential hopeful, had been outed for a prostitution scandal, New York Magazine had run an extensive article on actress, singer, performer extraordinaire Bette Midler, Dick Cheney had traveled to the Middle East, one of his topics of discussion being the state of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the New York City version of Bravo’s reality show Real Housewives featured a Jewish-American family. It seemed as if everywhere I turned, I noticed some element of Judaism, be it people, politics, or general culture.

In the meantime, I also began to contemplate the state of Jews in the media, their portrayals therein, and how Jewish-American identity was being shaped as a result. Despite the frequent, conspiracy theory-steeped accusations of Jews having a media takeover, it’s quite a wonder that the portrayals of Jews, including Jewish-Americans, are not exactly the most flattering.

Take a moment to think to yourself of the Jewish stereotypes to which you have been exposed, or to go further, try to count the positive portrayals of Jews (Right off the top of my head, I can only think of Anne Frank and the cast of Fiddler on the Roof) in comparison to the negative ones. What do you come up with? (to be continued…)

*pictured above: a Goblin Banker from Harry Potter (more on this later)

Only anti-semites think Padma on Top Chef dresses too skimpily

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

top chef bravoWe can file this one in our “racial satire gone wrong” folder. (Hat tip to The Grinder.)

Andy Cohen, a VP at cable channel Bravo, recently wrote this on his blog, in response to viewer criticisms of Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s skimpy wardrobe:

By the way, I for one am getting a little tired of the griping about Padma’s clothes being inappropriate for the kitchen. We’ve got one of the few models who has written a cookbook and can speak with authority about food, so why not make the best of both situations!? Being Jewish, I was raised to believe that models who know about food should look as white-hot as possible while tasting and discussing food. Thus, I am hereby putting it out there that anyone who thinks Padma looks inappropriate just might be cloaking some form of anti-semitism in their comments and might want to look within instead of at Padma.

Say what?

Turns out it was a lame attempt at satire, as Cohen explained a few days later:

Here’s the deal — I am a very sarcastic person with a sense of humor that is at times a little left of I don’t know what. People have been getting upset by a joke I made on the blog the other day making light of an issue — and it has raised the ire of some Top Chef fans. (See it here.) I was attempting to answer the issue while lampooning the intensely sensitive, PC world we live in today, like a very low-rent, blog version of Borat. It didn’t work and I am sorry.

Dude, leave the satire to comedy professionals, please. And in case you were wondering, Padma is not Jewish.

Sacha Baron Cohen comes clean about Borat in Rolling Stone magazine

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

borat rolling stoneThe latest issue of Rolling Stone includes an interview with Sacha Baron Cohen — the only interview he’s done out of character. It’s our first time hearing — in his own words — what he was trying to accomplish with Borat. Here are some excerpts from the partial story they’ve posted online here:

When Baron Cohen first heard that the Kazakh government was thinking of suing him and placing a full-page ad promoting the country in The New York Times, he was editing his movie in Los Angeles. His reaction: “I was surprised, because I always had faith in the audience that they would realize that this was a fictitious country and the mere purpose of it was to allow people to bring out their own prejudices. And the reason we chose Kazakhstan was because it was a country that no one had heard anything about, so we could essentially play on stereotypes they might have about this ex-Soviet backwater. The joke is not on Kazakhstan. I think the joke is on people who can believe that the Kazakhstan that I describe can exist — who believe that there’s a country where homosexuals wear blue hats and the women live in cages and they drink fermented horse urine and the age of consent has been raised to nine years old.”…

“I think part of the movie shows the absurdity of holding any form of racial prejudice, whether it’s hatred of African-Americans or of Jews,” Baron Cohen says…

“Borat essentially works as a tool,” Baron Cohen says. “By himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice, whether it’s anti-Semitism or an acceptance of anti-Semitism. ‘Throw the Jew Down the Well’ [a song performed at a country & western bar during Da Ali G Show] was a very controversial sketch, and some members of the Jewish community thought that it was actually going to encourage anti-Semitism. But to me it revealed something about that bar in Tucson. And the question is: Did it reveal that they were anti-Semitic? Perhaps. But maybe it just revealed that they were indifferent to anti-Semitism.

“I remember, when I was in university I studied history, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, ‘The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.’ I know it’s not very funny being a comedian talking about the Holocaust, but I think it’s an interesting idea that not everyone in Germany had to be a raving anti-Semite. They just had to be apathetic.”…

Sacha Baron Cohen: anti-racist activist?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

boratHmmm…Interesting factoids about Cohen from Wild About Movies:

Baron Cohen was involved in the ARA anti-racist alliance for many years – actually marching against fascists and racists in London and against apartheid in the 80s

The Times wrote a piece entitled “Ali G Creator is in fact Leading Civil Rights Scholar,” which examined how Baron Cohen made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Martin Luther King while doing research for his dissertation in Cambridge. Entitled “ A Case of Mistaking Identities – the Jewish Black Alliance,” the thesis examines the nature of cooperation between the African-American and Jewish communities and suggests ways of how to improve relations in the current day. His professor describes it as a major work of importance on the civil rights movement and is suggested reading for history students in Cambridge.

Da Ali G Show has been commended for its positive effects on race relations by the CRE [commission for racial equality]

Da Ali G Show led to lectures during police training, on why it is crucial not to see the population solely in terms of black and white.

What do you think?

Brand-new “Addicted to Race” episode out now (#43)!

by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove
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A brand-new episode of Addicted to Race is out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Click here to launch iTunes and subscribe today, it’s absolutely free.

RANT
The “ohmygodyou’rejewishnoway!” reactions Jen receives each year around the Jewish holidays are the subject of her rant today.

INTERVIEW: RACISM IN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY
Carmen interviews Matthew Creamer, a reporter for the industry publication Advertising Age, about the New York City Human Rights Commission’s investigation into the advertising industry’s hiring practices. The staffs at ad agencies are so lacking in diversity that the entire industry is under investigation. For more about this story, check out HighJive’s post on Racialicious.

RSS FEED SHOULD BE BACK UP!
I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling WordPress altogether, and as far as I can tell, our RSS feed is working again now. However, I need to re-upload all the MP3 files of our old episodes, so you might encounter some dead links this week. Also, give me a couple days to get our logo back up, and all the little things in the sidebar.

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Duration – 47:55
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YouTube Wire: rednecks, white nerds, hebrew crunk and more

by guest contributor Luke Lee, Racialicious’s senior YouTube correspondent
Check out Luke’s own blog at real men are not

rednecks tvDespite nearly a week of constant videos of or concerning the now infamous Bill Clinton interview, the folks at Rednecks TV clawed to the top spot of This Week’s “Most Viewed” with their latest episode, episode nine. The first thing you notice, of course, is the glaring Confederate flag that Rednecks TV uses as background and illustration which for now doesn’t seem to have anything to do with their show despite their association of the Confederacy and the south with being a supposed redneck. Now, basically this is a show where two guys sit at a table and talk and do various “tests” and “product reviews.” They don’t seem to talk about race at all beyond saying “redneck” a few dozen times and for the most part, it’s just an assortment of fratty phallic-humor jokes…

weird al white and nerdyAs previously touched upon on Racialicious, Weird Al Yankovic has a new video out where the chorus line is “White and nerdy” and that pretty much says it all. What’s important to note, however, is just how popular the music video is and how well it’s received in user-ratings and comments. There are a few versions of the video floating around and in total there must be well over 500,000 views so far and not to mention a solid 4/5 stars rating. People love this stuff…

hebrew crunkAnd speaking of Blackface-Without-The-Actual-Blackface type humor, one of the things that really clogs my toilet is when people try to make jokes by pairing two things that are supposedly “completely opposite.” In this case we have a cartoon of Lil’ Jon and a Rabbi in “Hebrew Crunk!” Cue the rush of people running to the local Halloween store to buy fake dreads, sunglasses and gold teeth just so they can say “Yeaaaaah,” drink lots of alcohol and act like an idiot to “play the part” in a few weeks… And as you’ll notice is a recurring theme on YouTube: some idiot doing blackface. Continue reading