What's Happening

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Bluetooth The Pirate: Quick real-world history note. Jews were not the only ones allowed to handle money. It's quite the opposite. Money was the last thing they were not banned from owning. Jewish people in Europe were forbidden to own farmland, which was one of the only sources of real wealth in history until the invention of markets and banking. They were also strongly discouraged from being in the manual trades, usually by other members of those trades and their guilds. So, moneylending and mercantile were what was left. There was never any formal declaration that banking was just for Jews and Jews only, but it was certainly seen as a less noble profession by Christian society than farming or manual labor. The origin of the Jewish reputation for being good with money is therefore justified, is as far as the most visible members of that culture from the perspective of outsiders were good at the one thing they were still allowed to do.

Matthew The Raven: Catholics were banned from practicing usury though due to the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, so Jews really were the only ones allowed to fill that role until the Reformation (Technically, charging exorbitant amounts of interest in a sin in Judaism, but there's not an outright ban on fair money lending). There's no shame in it. It was a social role that needed to be filled, and one of the few ways for a Jew to advance in the world. It's just that in the media of the day, what was admirable for Christians to do were vices when performed by Jews (frugality and thrift/greed, care for community/introversion and ethnocentricism, dignity/pride, ambition/"bad" ambition). Jews just couldn't win.
Recon: It seems that YouTube has taken down the link given on the page. I'm pretty sure that it link's to Mel Brook's "Jews in Space" trailer, so I've found another version of it and linked accordingly. If you can find a better quality version, or I'm just plain wrong about the content, change the link.
Filby: Could someone restore the pic of Watto ("No, we swear, it's just a coincidence") that was on this page?

fleb: I removed the below from the "Other" category; just a capitalistic Planet of Hats isn't enough to qualify; the Ferengi are here because of their physical attributes combining with their greed to bring the Jewish stereotype to mind.

  • X3: The reunion, a Wide Open Sandbox style game features the Teladis. All of their rankings is based on how profitable the player is (i.e. 'Profit liability'), their leader is called 'Chairman CEO' and last but not least they have estabilished contact with their home world (Ianamus Zura) only a few decades prior the game's time.
    • Every game of the X-Series featured this species, it was even the first to make contact to the player.
    • It appears to this troper that there are no charges to answer for here. Anybody seeing Space Jews in the Teladis seems to be projecting their own prejudices onto the game.
      • To this troper, Teladis seem to be just like the Ferengis in Star Trek. Hence the analogy.

Scifantasy: I tried to clean up the Pratchett section, and remove a few overly Justifying Edit-ish phrases. Feel free to revert if you don't like the changes I made.
Andrew Paul: I'm not convinced by the Jar Jar Binks 'controversy'. At risk of sounding like a Wikipedian, is there any evidence of 'Jar Jar' being an offensive word in Africa? This link: pretty much sums up my experience; if you need to explain it to me, is it Jar Jar that's racist, or you?

Duckluck: Go look up the "minstrel show" (you can probably find some clips online) Jar Jar moves and talks in a way that is remarkably similar to the "black" characters. Is it racism or coincidence? Who knows, but it's certainly there.

Roxana: Gee - could the way Jar-Jar moves have anything to do with the fact he was played by a black actor? Are we assuming Ahmed Best is stupid or just an Uncle Tom?

Mekhet: He was voiced by Ahmed Best, who stood in for him on the set, but he wasn't motion captured. Jar Jar's movements were made by animators.

Evilest_Tim: Just to point out: Mike Wong's logic there is rather flawed. The idea of his rant is that if you think a fictional character with traits A and B is like a racial stereotype with traits A and B, you have to believe that the racial stereotype is true and that members of the race in question also have traits A and B. To give an example of why it's wrong, I can recognise the trait 'horn' on a horse makes it a unicorn while 'wings' make it a pegasus, but this does not mean I have to believe unicorns and pegasi (?) are real types of horse. Similarly, recognising Jar Jar's mannerisms match a characature of Blacks only requires I recognise the characature exists, not that it is true. Mike also ignores that the point is the Neimoidians and Jar Jar have all the listed traits at the same time by rebutting point-by-point as if each feature exists in isolation from the others; it's not the point that they have the features singularly, it's that overall they share multiple features with existing offensive characatures of Asians and Blacks respectively. Also, I love the line of argument that Black people can't be racially insensitive, are we to suppose they all share a common hive mind?

Duckluck: Time to kill me some Natter! " Terry Pratchett is by all accounts a pretty right-on, liberal kind of guy. But his Discworld novel Thud! does have a slightly odd undertone. Written as a fantasy take on modern race relations - particularly in the wake of Islamic terrorism and paranoia about Western Muslims - the story has police commander Sam Vimes uncovering a terrorist plot by some immigrants to the (Westernised, Renaissance-style) city of Ankh-Morpork, and some of the wake of that; among others it draws in elements of the recent black-vs-Muslim riots in the UK. Unfortunately, the mapping of the two fantasy species is maybe a bit too edged for comfort:
  • Muslims are represented by dwarfs. In previous books, the dwarfs have been shown to be quiet, not fully trusted by the city at large, prone to turning from quiet spiritualism to wild partying once in cities, in the habit of staying in their own groups, and repressive toward women—a previous book discussed at great length the tradition of ostracism toward openly-female dwarfs (such as one of the heroic dwarfs, who is very open about her femininity). The terrorists of the novel, in fact, are a radical splinter group of dwarfs.
    • This troper will quietly disagree and point out that the dwarfs have always, always reminded him of stereotyped Jews. Of course, this is not new; J.R.R. Tolkien in one of his letters, after a lot of hemming and hawing and "Please don't take this too seriously" disclaimers, basically owned up and said that his own Dwarves very much reminded him of the archetype of medieval Jews, and he meant that in the best possible light (though certain lines about Dwarves' innate lack of concern for human ideals of honor or fairness in The Hobbit are slightly cringeworthy in this context). Things that make Dwarves "Jewish": Love of gold. Love of money in general, and a rampant entrepreneurial tendency. The fact that half the businesses in Ankh-Morpork are owned by dwarfs, including some rather incongruous and surprising ones (the dwarf who owns the makeup business in Wyrd Sisters). Dwarfs eat "gross" food—rats—and their restaurants, though frequented by humans often, frequently contain enough rats that humans are advised to be very careful what they order—yet, in an inversion that seems strange and bizarre to humans, dwarfs are just as grossed out by meats that humans consider perfectly normal, like beef, pork and chicken. (Compare how you can find all manner of disgusting and frightening parts of animals in a Jewish deli as long as that animal is kosher. Beef tongue yes, ham no.) Dwarfs' language is noted for its guttural, harsh tones that make a human speaker sound like he's clearing his throat. Dwarfs live in isolated communities within Ankh-Morpork that are defined by an exhaustive, very long list of laws that they consider it a cultural burden to memorize. Despite this, dwarf society is based on the concept of discussion and procedure — there are no absolute monarchs among dwarfs, not even the Low King (who's merely a mining supervisor among mining supervisors). (Compare the Jewish kibbutz structure or the election of leaders in the medieval ghettos.) Dwarfish mysticism is deeply and fundamentally centered on the idea of The Word, and of words being magical things that have intrinsic power; dwarfs attach deep mystical significance to certain symbols. (Compare Kabbalah belief.) Dwarfs have very long beards and consider it sacrilege to cut or even trim them. "Deep-down" dwarfs, the highly religious ones, wear voluminous, flowing clothing including headgear that keeps their features in shadow at all times. (Compare the stereotypical Hasidic "uniform" of broad-brimmed hats and long coats.) Dwarfs are frequently considered the "model minority" of Ankh-Morpork due to being the most human-like of the non-human races (compare how Jews are considered white), are disliked for being "cunning" and "always up to something" as opposed to trolls being "stupid", and, of course, are a frequent recipient of the backhanded "Some of my best friends are dwarfs!" In the still-feudal country of Uberwald, the comparison to medieval Jews is even clearer, with the various vampire and werewolf aristocrats having direct power over their human serfs but the dwarfs being outside and below (literally) the feudal system. Captain Carrot is a human who was "raised dwarfish" and thus generates a great deal of confusion over what he "really" is, including dwarfs who debate his legal status relentlessly. Etc. Finally, and most unfortunately, the simmering venom that exists between dwarfs and trolls in Ankh-Morpork has very clear antecedents in the distrust between Jewish and black communities in the US and elsewhere. The dwarfs may have indeed played the role of "Muslims" in relation to the specific Muslims-vs-blacks riots being mentioned, but there's just as long a history of distrust and occasional violence with Jews and blacks.
    • This troper is aware that many of these traits also apply to stereotyped Muslims, but really, this troper thinks it's quite clear that Jews are the more apropos minority group here. Along with this fact is that there is *already* an entirely separate ethnic group that represents Muslims in Discworld, the Klatchians.
    • This troper has never read ANY Jewish stereotype into any Dwarves - of course being Jewish herself she may not be sensitive enough to these things. She cannot imagine what Professor Tolkien was going on about as his Dwarves fit the mythical Nordic archetype from Teutonic myth perfectly. I wonder if he's been quoted correctly?
  • Black people are trolls. Trolls were previously established to be stupid outside of their natural climate, prone to violence, and easily addicted to a drug called slab. The only recurring intelligent troll is a criminal kingpin, and the heroic troll is a dumb but big, strong, and loyal police corporal; he's the type who follows orders, not the type who gives them.
    • Reading the dwarf/troll antagonism as an antagonism that's frequently recurred between Jewish civil rights leaders and black civil rights leaders, Detritus' complaint that dwarfs, who have a richly detailed written history, always get a lot more appreciation for their culture and traditions from humans than trolls, whose history is basically unknown to non-trolls, is relevant here — see frequent complaints about how, of non-Christian religions, Judaism is by far the most known and most recognized in American media, Jewish religious and cultural holidays are considered far more "legitimate" than other cultures', etc., while black people in America are frequently treated as having no history of their own outside of the ugly images of black people as slaves or laborers or inner-city thugs ("club over the shoulder, talkin' like 'dis").
    • Adding to this association is the fact that the less "enlightened" parts of the world are places where the keeping of trolls as slaves by humans is the norm, and in some places trolls are not allowed to travel unless kept in chains.
    • It bears noting that in Soul Music, Lias Bluestone is the trollish drummer of the band and described as one of "nature's drummers", troll music apparently being based mostly on rhythm. Despite this, the rap/hip-hop analogue in the Discworld, "rat music", is depicted as cultural music for dwarfs. (Well, invented by humans to be sold to dwarfs.)
  • Humans, who are the representatives for the Western world, aren't all that heroic either, certainly not as a race. Earlier books discuss how Ankh-Morpork is so dominant in the geopolitical landscape that some muse "moving with the times" just means to follow Ankh-Morpork's lead; the criminal kingpin troll comments that he learned everything he knows from humans; and the novel Jingo describes how Ankh-Morporkian prejudices and arrogance almost cause a war with the Arabian-inspired Klatchians, that after not-all-that-secretly making fun of them for half a book first. Humans are, generally speaking arrogant, self-righteous, convinced of their superiority, and ruthless, with no sense of cultural identity. Dwarfs are unified by being dwarfs, and by a central loyalty to dwarfkind; Ankh-Morporkians are at each other's throats.
    • An increasingly subverted trope as time has gone on, though. The point of Thud! was in many ways to show that this trope has at this point been turned on its head — the fanatic and moderate factions of the dwarfs end their uneasy tolerance and are openly at each other's throats, whereas the human factions of the city, by now well-tamed by the twin forces of Vetinari's law and Vimes' law enforcement, want nothing but to try to keep the peace."#
    • From Memory, its been a while: In Jingo both sides wanted the war, Ankh-Morpork because of racism, arrogance and stupidity (especially Lord Rust on that last one). Klatch's government wanted it as a Xanatos Gambit, a war would help unite his empire (and they had a huge military advantage anyway). A key theme of the book was that all people of all ethnic groups were equally capable of being bastards, as well as its reverse, 71 hour Ahmed was working as hard as Vimes to stop the war.

I'm sorry I had to kill all of this, but I was afraid that if left any of this mess, the argument would just start up again. Besides, I didn't feel like slogging through miles of Fan Wank and parabombing in the hopes of finding something worthwhile. Also cut: "
  • Also Leela's parents seem to fit the stereotypical Jewish parents (particularly her mother). However, they're not aliens, they're mutated humans, so it may not count.
    • This may be a case of David X. Cohen projecting some issues with his own Jewish parents.
    • The sewer mutants in general draw some of their portrayal from the "downtrodden urban immigrant" archetype, which includes Eastern European Jews.

...because the mutants are actual humans and therefore not examples of this trope at all, and finally... "
  • In all fairness, he makes the same claims about the Bush family and the British royal family.
    • In still more fairness to Mr. Icke, have you ever seen President Bush and a giant space lizard in the same place, at the same time? Just sayin'."

...for being off-topic and making the example run too long. I'm going to have to keep an eye on this page to make sure this stuff doesn't crop up again.
[Roxana] Try to create a SF or Fantasy culture without drawing on Real World examples, just try.

Duckluck: That's not really what this is about. This is more the racist version of Fantasy Counterpart Culture. I'll admit it's damn hard to make a culture from whole cloth, without drawing on something from Earth, but it's not that hard to do that without being racist about the whole thing.

I can't believe this page doesn't quote the song at the end of mel brooks' History of the World Part I :-P

Scifantasy: Novium, read more carefully: Not to be confused with um... Oh, never mind.

arromdee: I took Superman out because he's covered in Ambiguously Jewish.

BTW I think that mutants should belong here, even if mutants are a kind of human. A fictional ethnic group can just as much be "space Jews" as a fictional species.

Took this out: Other
  • There have been entire books dedicated to finding antisemitic stereotypes in the portrayal of the Nibelungs in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. The evidence is fairly weak, though the fact that Wagner wrote an antisemitic tract doesn't help the defense.

...since it's about real anti-semitism towards real Jews, not Space anything. The first word is important, people.

Prfnoff: Put it back in, with a somewhat better explanation. I wouldn't take the word "Space" in the trope name literally, seeing as the examples include The Lord of the Rings.

Firelegend567-"**What about enormous, bloated Jabba the Hut? Is apparently a money-grubber, even to the point of hiring mercenaries to get Han Solo. Notice also Jabba is involved in various smuggling deals, which is also another stereotype of Jewish people, about their involvement in such schemes."

Removed mainly because I don't think this qualifies. Unless has other qualities that make him a Jewish stereotype, don't place him here. The above sounds like the kind of thing you'd expect from know... a mob leader. You might just as well claim he's an Italian stereotype.
Okay, so is it automatically Space Jew if you have ANY nonhuman race that has gained a measure of economic power? PLEASE. It's only Space Jews if they're particularly obvious about it (as in, a combination of story, physical features, personality, etc etc). Having a big nose does not make a character a Space Jew, nor does having risen from slavery to economic self-sufficiency.
Nerdorama: to conclude my contribution to the Conversation in the Main Page about the Balmarians, I really need to play the Alpha trilogy some time. Or maybe actually finish OG 2.
Richard AK: How does the fact that Tieflings can be Paladins mean that they are not an example of this Trope? I'll wait a few days for an answer before I change that.
random surfer: "Everybody likes to generalize." Haw haw haw!
Air Of Mystery: I vote that we make the user known as NIGGE Rs (if they are a user and not just a random surfer [not the one above]) change their name, since it's offensive.
Jack Cain: Removed example, was grasping at straws.
Off Side 7: This Jewish Star Wars fan was under the impression Watto was a racist stereotype of Italian-Americans... well, until I read about this trope.
Matthew The Raven: Shouldn't we get rid of examples that are just Jewish characters in Science Fiction? (for example, the Jewish planet from Dune or Mr. Universe. I know we need a Firefly example on every page, but really...)

Yeah... I got rid of the Firefly and Serenity examples. This trope is pretty clearly about other races or aliens that have stereotypes that are often associated with actual groups of people, not those actual groups of people in a fantastic setting.

For the record (mainly, I'm just so proud of myself for noticing), there were actually two Jews in Firefly. The first was from the series proper: the "postmaster" that they picked up the casket from was clearly wearing a yarmulke.
Looney Toons: Just an alert — this page has been cutlisted for being just "Fantasty Counterpart Culture done badly". I don't agree, but I'd like to see what other users feel.

Trouser Wearing Barbarian: If all that's needed are the "Unfortunate Implications", then how does that even work? The only way there can even be Unfortunate Implications is if the fictional culture in question actually bears a strong resemblance to a Real Life one (or at least The Theme Park Version), which means that it would already be a Fantasy Counterpart Culture or Space Romans. Otherwise, it's just people reading way too much into things.

And it is a Done Badly trope, as there's absolutely nothing that says that a Fantasy Counterpart Culture can't been done offensively, so it's just The Same but More, and the offensiveness is highly subjective in most cases. Adding a couple of sentences to the write-ups for Fantasy Counterpart Culture and Space Romans saying that they can sometimes have racist undertones should be sufficient.

Plus, this trope has other problems. It has an overly long, angry write-up loaded with axe-grinding which is too heavily focused on one character (Watto) and one culture, right down to the title itself. Furthermore, the combination of TL;DR, the name, and a misleading opening quote has lead a lot of people to take the title literally and just list a bunch of Jewish or Ambiguously Jewish Sci-Fi characters. As for the other examples, most of them are subjective, often come off as complaining about fantasy cultures you don't like, and quite a few of them have Unfortunate Implications in their own right - a Planet of Hats species is supposed to represent Jews just because they're greedy?

It's true that there are some offensive examples of Fantasy Counterpart Culture out there, but we do not need an Unfortunate Implications IN SPACE trope.

Wascally Wabbit: I agree with the Trouser Wearing Barbarian. This is just a rant. And not eveyone with a diaspora is Jewish.

Ansem Paul: I say its approite. Its different to Fantasy Counterpat Culture because it refers to one thats either offensive, or focusing on carictures (which would be different from the real thing). Also I think the term "Space Jew" is apt for Watta. Intentional or not (and I think its just a little suspeect for it to be accidental) Watta resmebles a jewish caricature (just whats with the hook nose and strange accent?)

Trouser Wearing Barbarian: "Fantasy Counterpart Culture, but offensive" is not a separate trope, and most Fantasy Counterpart Cultures are based more on The Theme Park Version than the real thing as it is. Some of them are just based on more offensive Theme Park Versions than others.

The reason why the trope name fits Watto so well is because this page was made for the sole purpose of complaining about him. That, and delivering an Author Filibuster about Jewish stereotypes.

Radioactive Zombie - No. Keep it. Notability aside, I do think it needs a re-working.

Prfnoff: I think this is a real trope, which Needs a Better Description and probably Needs a Better Title. It's not about Judaism in space (though many examples seem to think so), and the Fantasy Counterpart Culture relation may be vague and dubiously intentional.

J Chance: Agreed. There's a very distinct trope in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture (or any fictional culture) that doesn't just have Unfortunate Implications, but distinctly either recycles or invokes a real-world stereotype.

Rebochan: This needs to be deleted. There is nothing in this article that is unique except the fact that the author really hated Watto. It's exactly what the cutlist entry says - a Done Badly version of an existing trope.

Prfnoff: Someone tried to delete this page on their own. I restored it, but without the first several paragraphs, which were mostly ranting about the inaccuracy of Jewish stereotypes.

Wizard Joni: I think this a real trope too. It might need some work and a renaming though.

Man Without A Body: If we can do this right, it may be worth keeping. It is basically Fantasy Counterpart Culture with Unfortunate Implications, but unfortunately, most of the examples we have listed are completely lacking the Implications bit. For example, Tolkien's dwarves are kind of Jewish, but since they're a fairly positive portrayal, they don't really belong here. It's either in dire need of a cleanup or to be cut altogether.

HeartBurn Kid: Removed this from the page:

  • People see connections between the least human creatures and jews b/c they've swindling, haggling, usurious, covetous, treacherous, "God's chosen people" elitist-racist natures in common. Folks who identify a monster's greediness as a satirical slight against jews know, deep down, jews're greedy monsters.

No. Just... No.

Wascally Wabbit: Is it too late to block whoevers responsible?

HeartBurn Kid: About this:

  • Strangely some people have tried to claim that Jar Jar Binks is a space Jamaican apparently based solely on the fact that his voice actor Ahmed Best was originally from there despite the fact he douse not use his Jamaican accent for the character and Jar Jar displays no stereotypical Jamaican traits. This misconception was involuntarily highlighted on Whose Line Is It Anyway? when Wayne Brady did a perfect impersonation of the character but claimed to be one big stereotype and Denny Siegel a self proclaimed Jar Jar fangirl thought he was doing Soon-Yi Previn (Woody Allenís wife).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the complaint about Jar Jar isn't that he's a Space Jamaican; rather, that he's a Space Steppin Fetchit.

You know, it's funny, I always imagined the stereotype in a positive light. That is I thought of Jews as Intrepid Merchants surviving by their wits instead of as greedy misers. Go figure.

You wanna talk funny? I've been using the term 'space jews' for YEARS independently, to refer to people like Bajorans or Vulcans (even Nimoy said he thought of Vulcans as sort of representing jews).. like, likeable aliens that are oppressed by jealous Space Nazis.. because that trope tends to come up a lot
Doktor von Eurotrash: I cut this:

  • Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings comes to mind. Perhaps Saruman himself, who seems to have sided with the satanic Big Bad of Sauron for material gain.

(No further mention of what ethnic stereotype they're supposed to represent, so I'm assuming Jewish.)

Firstly, this trope is about groups, not individuals, and secondly, I don't see anything Jewish about Wormtongue and Saruman. (The example was posted under Films, not under Literature, for whatever reason.)

Removed this:

  • Inverted in David Icke's bizarre conspiracy theories: essentially, he believes that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is true, except the Jews in question were really Alien Lizardmen. Apparently, some 12' lizards crossbred with humans, although it's best not to wonder how. For instance, he claimed that the Rothschilds were members of this group and his presentation of them as backstabbers was very much in line with the Nazi screed about Jews. Given these beliefs, there is some debate whether Icke is merely a crackpot or also an anti-Semitic crackpot.
    • Icke himself has expressed (seemingly genuine) puzzlement about why people believe he is an anti-Semite, explaining that he doesn't have anything about Jews, just giant evil space lizards! How hard is that to understand?? Many of the giant evil space lizards aren't Jews, after all! (Source is here.)
      • So apparently the lizards are responsible for negative Jewish stereotypes, not the other way around. Anti-semite or not, he's still way crazy.
    • And yet Icke also believes that "a small Jewish clique which has contempt for the mass of Jewish people" not only was responsible for both World Wars, but also funded Hitler and orchestrated the Holocaust. Yes, Jews organized the Holocaust. It's best not to try to make sense of David Icke.
      • So would that be suicidal genocide, or genocidal suicide?
      • It wouldn't be the first time the leaders of a group finish the actual group (You've heard of Tlatelolco 1968?)

The original entry really isn't an example of the trope in the first place, and it just seems to generate some curious racial discussion that doesn't belong here. I think it's best we leave Icke out and focus on the actual trope.