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BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?

GUEST,999 03 Nov 11 - 07:20 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 03 Nov 11 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,999 03 Nov 11 - 07:41 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 03 Nov 11 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,999 03 Nov 11 - 08:54 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 04 Nov 11 - 02:09 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 04 Nov 11 - 04:11 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 05 Nov 11 - 01:21 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 05 Nov 11 - 01:22 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 05 Nov 11 - 06:14 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 11 - 02:24 PM
BTNG 05 Nov 11 - 03:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 11 - 03:59 PM
BTNG 05 Nov 11 - 04:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 11 - 05:07 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 05 Nov 11 - 05:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 11 - 06:30 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 05 Nov 11 - 06:39 PM
BTNG 05 Nov 11 - 06:46 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 05 Nov 11 - 10:02 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 05 Nov 11 - 10:52 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 12:10 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 12:23 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Nov 11 - 01:35 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 02:24 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Nov 11 - 02:41 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Nov 11 - 02:44 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 03:00 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 03:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 11 - 05:29 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Nov 11 - 05:33 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 05:48 AM
johncharles 06 Nov 11 - 07:15 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 11 - 08:30 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Nov 11 - 10:37 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 11 - 11:33 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 05:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 11 - 05:54 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 06:04 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 06:15 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 08:27 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Nov 11 - 09:37 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 07 Nov 11 - 12:49 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 07 Nov 11 - 05:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Nov 11 - 03:47 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 07 Nov 11 - 07:38 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 07 Nov 11 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,999 07 Nov 11 - 10:00 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 07 Nov 11 - 10:54 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 07 Nov 11 - 11:02 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:20 PM

I understand, Grasshopper. But allow me to continue.

How would your antecedents from the Chinese side of your family feel/react were you to write using the terms chink or slant in reference to Chinese people?

Words carry baggage, and that's why they can create stereotypes so succinctly.

Few people have ever heard of Ng Moi, despite her having been one of the world's great martial artists. However, everyone has heard of Bruce Lee, another great top-ten.

A little known story: when the casting was taking place for the movie and subsequent TV show Kung Fu, Master Lee was refused the role because he had a Chinese accent. Instead, they chose David Carradine (born John Arthur Carradine) because he spoke English (on occasion with Chinese 'intonations' in the movie and series). Hard to believe that Cato from the Green Hornet was seconded to Mr Carradine, but he was.

You will do as you do, and no, you have no responsibility for other people's interpretation of your motive or intent, but regardless, in the final analysis, you will live with your decision(s) as do we all.

Best wishes to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:35 PM

BTW, 999, I may have given the wrong impression. The only member of my family who is directly Chinese (i.e. by nationality) is my maternal grandmother, who was born in 1927 and came to Malaysia to marry my grandfather. Both my parents are ethnic Chinese born in Malaysia. I don't know; I've never asked my parents (or grandparents, who I am lucky enough to see fairly frequently), but I'm sure they'd be a bit apprehensive. My grandmother can't speak English, so I've never asked her.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:41 PM

Thank you, ME1. I appreciate knowing that.

However, don't rewrite the story before you have the story.

Keep well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 08:38 PM

refresh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 08:54 PM

I understand now.

I do NOT mean Chinese by nationality. I know a Caucasian who is Chinese. His mom gave birth to him in China. He is not Chinese by ethnicity. Nor is he allowed to be Chinese (PRC) by nationality. He is, however, Canadian.

I don't wish to mince words or play games with the issue, which I see as being that of the aptness of appellations or stereotypes. If you think it's wrong, however you interpret the word wrong, don't use it, for there, there be dragons, imo.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 02:09 AM

Thanks. Anyway, I highly doubt someone in the 19th century would refer to themselves like that, anyway


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 04:11 PM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 01:21 AM

BTW, I was thinking some more about this and realising that it is a question of "Can stereotypes be redeemed?" which is usually accomplished through retelling I also remembered that there is a graphic novel called Fagin The Jew which is basically Oliver Twist from Fagin's point of view, as well as a book called The Wind Done Gone which is retelling of Gone With The Wind from Scarlett's (original character) half-sister's perspective.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 01:22 AM

*basically*


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 06:14 AM

That's for the first sentence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 02:24 PM

Talking about books that present a different angle on an existing story, a splendid example is Jan Needle's "Wild Wood", which retells the story of The Wind in the Willows from the point of view of the weasels, who liberate Toad Hall from the bloated Mr Toad, and set up a commune for the creatures who had been so downtrodden - "the sturdy, starving heroes of the rural proletariat."

It deserves to be better known.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: BTNG
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 03:30 PM

I'll take the original, unreconstucted The Wind In The Willows thank you. Weasels are weasels, whether four or two legged


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 03:59 PM

A good alternative version doesn't damage the original, it enriches it, which that one by Jan Needle succeeds in doing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: BTNG
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 04:09 PM

What Jan Needle actually says on her website, about Wild Wood, from which apparently you've quoted

as follows:

"My first book - although not my first published - was my version of Kenneth Grahame's masterpiece The Wind in the Willows. Much as I had always loved Toad, it occurred to me one Sunday afternoon that if you looked at him through jaundiced left-wing eyes (God forbid!) he might turn out somewhat less lovable. I did, and he did too. A fat and jolly plutocrat, more money than sense, with friends who lived lives of idleness and eternal pleasure. From there, it was a small step to redreaming the villains of the Wild Wood as sturdy, starving heroes of the rural proletariat. (My God, we really need an exclamation mark there!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 05:07 PM

That's why I gave the link. Tongue in cheek, with a serious edge.
..........................
Of course every film or TV version of Oliver Twist has featured major changes in the plot.

The BBC TV version broadcast in 2007 made a good few interesting modifications - notably they had Bill Sykes hang himself in remorse.   And his dog survived, and was adopted by the Artful Dodger, after attending Fagin'sa hanging. Fagin was treated more sympathetically too, though not by the law.
..........................
Another notable reworking of a story is William Golding's "Lord of the Flies", drawing on R.M.Ballantyne's "Coral Island", but digressing rather a long way from the original.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 05:53 PM

Oh, and incidentally, didn't the BBC 2007 version also have Sophie Okonedo as Nancy? And because Sophie Okonedo is mixed-race (half-Nigerian), a lot of people were talking about how it was implausible? I don't think it is, because there have been Black people in London since at least the 17th century, according to my research.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 06:30 PM

Plenty of black Londoners mentioned in Mayhew's "London Labour and the London Poor". I suspect that if most people in England traced their ancestry back a couple of centuries they'd find some black ancestors.

Incidentally though Mayhew was reporting in 1851, a few years after Oliver Twist was published, he had a lot of material that helps put flesh on the bones - see here for material relevant to the Jewish community.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 06:39 PM

Wow! Thanks a lot (non-sarcastically) for that, McGrath! That second bit is the most relevant to the plot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: BTNG
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 06:46 PM

"The hardest thing to write in a transportation story would be the convicts' racist attitudes"


What's so hard or difficult?

you have two choices, either write the book and include the attitudes or not write the book at all, anything else would be dishonest, not to say catering to the modern politically inept.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 10:02 PM

What about the issue of a stereotyped physical appearance eg. Dickens' character has a hooked nose, which is a stereotype with some basis in fact. Is it possible to describe a character as having an appearance that fits part of the stereotype without reinforcing it? Maybe by saying, "The only thing stereotypically X about Y was his red hair ?" But is there another way of saying it? I don't know if "stereotypically" was used often in the 19th century the way we use it today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 10:52 PM

Thought I should add that I am working on it as I am posting on this thread and checking the replies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 12:10 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 12:23 AM

Just found out through the Online Etymology Dictionary- a link on the Wikipedia article on Stereotype that stereotype in its modern sense is first recorded in 1850


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 01:35 AM

Fagin has of course a hook-nose in Cruikshank's original illustrations to OT; & such was particularly prominent in Alec Guinness'a make-up in the 1948 film, and to an extent tho not quite so caricatured, Ron Moody's in Oliver.

But I do not remember this feature being actually mentioned by Dickens in the novel. I take it that it was just assumed that Jews would have this feature. It will certainly be found in all those charming Punch cartoons up to about the 1920s.

Many Jews have this feature, of course; but by no means all. Not prominent e.g. either side of my family.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 02:24 AM

MtheGM, do you know anything about whether the word "stereotypically" would have been commonly used in the 19th century?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 02:41 AM

Not specifically, Morwen. You seem to have used the online dictionary to establish an earliest date. My Oxford Dictionary gives examples from 1854 & 1860 from Mrs Gaskell & Thackeray. So it seems to have been used in literature with expectation of the reader's comprehension.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 02:44 AM

Those are of 'stereotyped'. It gives an 1864 usage of 'sterotypically from one Fitzpatrick - "They replied stereotypically, 'Give it up!'"


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 03:00 AM

Thanks for that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 03:11 AM

That means I can use it. I was worried it sounded too modern.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 05:29 AM

"Stereotypical" in that sense would definitely sound out of place, I'd say. Though the word stereotype was coined in 1798 for printing, it doesn't appear to have been used in the modern way until the 1920s.

I can't see why red hair can be seen as particularly Jewish. In fact if it wasn't for Dickens, if you introduced a character called Fagin, and said he had red hair, I think most readers would assume he was meant to be Irish.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 05:33 AM

What are your grounds for saying that, Kevin, when Morwen & I {she online & I in OED} have found examples of exactly that use of 'stereotyped' & 'stereotypical' from 1850s on. Haven't you been paying attention, you scallywag. Go & stand in the corner!

Or at least produce your documentary evidence as we have produced ours.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 05:48 AM

The red hair thing is just an example, like say if I had a character who was Irish and want to show that part of his appearance fits the stereotypical Irish appearance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: johncharles
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 07:15 AM

Not sure about your research into thios but the following might be worth a read
Jewish presences in English literature
By Derek Cohen, Deborah Heller


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 08:30 AM

American journalist Walter Lippmann wrote "Whether right or wrong (...) imagination is shaped by the pictures seen (...) originally printers' words, and in their literal printers' meanings were synonymous. Specifically, cliché was a French word for the printing surface for a stereotype.[3] The first reference to "stereotype," in its modern, English use was in 1850, in the noun, meaning "image perpetuated without change."

I think its highly unlikely that anyone in the 1830s would have written in terms of "racial stereotypes". The stereotyping technology had been invented a few years previously, but not the metaphor derived from it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 10:37 AM

Don't know anyone specifically mentioned the 1830s, Kevin. Morwen established some 1850s usages; asked me what I knew, & I found some 1850s-60s ones of 'stereotyped' also, + one incontrovertible one of 'stereotypical' from 1864. So what are you objecting to, precisely?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 11:33 AM

Those references aren't in relation to racial stereotypes, for one thing. I suspect for any use of stereotype in that context you'd have to come a whole lot further up towards or into the 20th century.

Moreover the events of Oliver Twist are envisaged as happening in the 1830s, not the 1850s or 1860s. Anyone writing at that time would surely use different terms to express the same idea - words like stamp, character, quality, type or maybe typical.

It'd be a bit like using the term "role model" and defending it by demonstrating that the words role and model were both current at the period.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 05:09 PM

johncharles, thank you for that. McGrath of Harlow, you've confirmed my suspicion- thank you- but wouldn't the use of typical in that sense (ie describing a person's appearance) ring alarm bells in the average person's head?


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 05:54 PM

I think I'd prefer to say something like "the commonly held notion".

Getting the language right for another period is very tricky - it's not just the words themselves, its the assumptions underlying them. What is a commonplace in one time might be a scandalous paradox in another.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 06:04 PM

It's a street kid who is narrating the story. (Yes, a literate street kid! But there's a reason for that) and I highly doubt a street kid, even a literate one, would use excessively formal words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 06:15 PM

The reason is that the fences/kidsmen in question educate the kids so that they'll know how to make stolen items untraceable- eg. removing makers' names from jewellery- and easier to sell on the streets. Definitely plausible for the time period- I think- and for the characters.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 08:27 PM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 09:37 PM

I'm rewriting part of it now, because thanks to reading that Mayhew extract - thanks again, McGrath of Harlow - I have now decided that Fagin's front is going to be that of a street trader. No-one is going to necessarily think it is suspicious that a street trader is accompanying by a bunch of kids.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 12:49 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 05:39 AM

*accompanied*


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 03:47 PM

So far stereotypes are concerned, I'd imagine that the way your lad might see it would be that Fagin was a funny sort of Jew, what with him scoffing pork sausages and bacon and being partial to oysters. He didn't wear that stuff that real Jews go in for - and evidently not interested in praying and so forth. Apart maybe from his nose you'd never think he was a Jew.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 07:38 PM

McGrath of Harlow, I'm fairly sure there were secular Jews around in the 1830s. Certainly not every "Christian" person goes to church often, or "Muslims" to mosques, and some people have no religion at all, (me, for example- not    One of my friends is of Polish descent and both of her parents' But my interpretation of Fagin is going to be different from Dickens' character---- understatement. He's a street trader in secondhand goods , Kind of Ikey Solomon-esque. And he's religious (when he can find the time, such as a few minutes, because street traders had to get up at dawn), and it's not obvious except with the prayers and the not eating pork and shellfish (I know that's not all that's involved in kosher- I've done some research). BTW, according to my research into information on Judaism, even a religious Jew can break the laws in emergency situations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 08:42 PM

*to start a religious discussion"
*families are not religious*


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 10:00 PM

No, even a religious Jew may NOT break the food laws unless given dispensation by an authority. Judaism is not a negotiable faith, nor is it a negotiable religion. The Pentateuch defines the law. It is respected. The Mesusa is nothing more or less than the Law. Do not think it can be reasoned with. It IS!

When we kiss it entering the house, it is simply a recognition of Moses' laws. We are told he got it (them) from G-d. So, sue me.

You seem to feel that the world will be as you wish. That's cool by me, but do not think the world will be as you wished you'd wished it would be. And stop making assumptions about Jews. We are as old as YOUR ancestors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 10:54 PM

999- OK. I don't think I made myself clear, and I don't think before I act. All I can say is this: I did some research which indicates that in a life-and-death situation, if you (general) are a Jew or a Muslim, according to religious authorities from both faiths, and the sites I've looked at have really comprehensive information, a lot which comes from a religious Jewish perspective, like yours. Apparently a person is allowed exemptions from religious law if they are in a life-threatening (emergency) situation; i.e. they are nearly starving and there is literally nothing else to eat but religiously prohibited food, or desperately need a blood transfusion and the only way to get it is in a way which breaks religious laws.    I don't wish the world to be a certain way, and I'm sorry if I came off like I was stereotyping.. as in "I'm not racist, but..." , only it would sound like "I'm not anti-Semitic, but..." The thing is, some Jewish people fit the stereotyped appearance. For most stereotypes of appearance, there exists a person/people who fit that stereotype i.e. I have the stereotyped Chinese "slanted eyes". A lot of stereotypes are exaggerated versions of truths.

The thing is, they're not the whole or complete truth for everyone in that particular group and the thing that creates a stereotype based on observation is when they are applied to an entire group ; ie. "All Chinese and Japanese have slanted eyes". No they all don't. Only some. "All Jews have hooked noses". No they all don't. Only some.     Not all stereotypes are like this, but a lot are . Can you describe someone as having a stereotypical feature without reinforcing the stereotype? Can you quote a prayer from someone else's religion without being seen as disrespectful toward that religion? Those are hard questions. It's difficult to handle other cultures and religions respectfully and well in writing, especially when you're handling a story that a significant percentage of people from that group find offensive. People (and I hope I don't sound again like I'm making an assumption) inside a minority group, and even in a majority group, tend to accept certain things (ie stereotypes) from people inside that group (born, married, raised) in it that they wouldn't accept from outsiders. If an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person made ATSI (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) jokes, people would just laugh, but if a non-ATSI person made that joke, they would be called a racist. But I'm going to try to be respectful, without being patronising, and I hope I can do that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Racial stereotypes in retellings?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 11:02 PM

Actually, people wouldn't just laugh , they would do a double-take and laugh . I don't know any ATSI people personally, and I have never been faced with that situation, so that's probably another assumption, but the thing is, stereotypes tend to be more accepted when they come from insiders than outsiders.


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