Follow TV Tropes


Space Jews

Go To
Watto you mean he's an anti-Semitic stereotype? It's not like he's a cap-wearing, big-nosed, cheating businessman with a bad accent and... oy gevalt!
“‘What about Mace Windu?’, you ask. ‘He’s a totally perfect Jedi warrior.’ That’s true, but I see your Mace Windu and raise you one Jar Jar Binks. Much like Watto embraces Jewish stereotypes of the crooked merchant, Jar Jar is a CGI explosion of outdated, foolish, broken English minstrel shows.”

The Space Jew is an alien, monster, animal, or other nonhuman creature that embodies stereotypical aspects of a real-world racial, ethnic, or religious stereotype, whether Jewish, black, Asian, white or whatever. Sometimes this trope is played intentionally, while other times it might simply be a subconscious or accidental move on the part of the authors.

Compare Fantastic Racism, Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?. Often overlaps with National Animal Stereotypes, when an animal that is traditionally associated with the country will be portrayed as a stereotypical person of that nation. See also Unfortunate Implications.

Don't mix this trope up with Fantasy Counterpart Culture, which deals with fantasy/sci-fi cultures that stand in for real life cultures but don't necessarily exhibit the stereotypes of whomever they are standing in for.


Not to be confused with Space Amish, Space Cossacks, Space Romans, Space Elves or actual JEWS IN SPACE! Actual religious practices in a non-Earth setting would be more in-line with Crystal Dragon Jesus than this.

Compare National Animal Stereotypes.

Again: This trope is not about actual Jewish people in or from outer space!


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Gankutsuou: As part of the premise The Count of Monte Cristo IN SPACE!, foreign characters like Ali, Haydée, etc. are aliens. The series uses the term "Eastern Space" for locations that were in Turkey/the Middle East in the novel, and the Carneval of Rome take place on the Moon. This somehow makes the story less racist than the original.
  • Gintama has the premise that rather than the Gunboat Diplomacy of history, Edo-era Japan experienced an Alien Invasion. Thus, actual aliens take the place of "nasty gaijin" in wielding disproportionate power over the country.
  • Momotaro's Sea Eagles and Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors are World War II propaganda cartoons in which an army of adorable talking animals stab, shoot, bayonet, and blow up demons, who are basically white people with horns. Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors also features three monkeys that are drawn to strongly resemble stereotypical African tribesmen, but they represent the Southeast Asia countries Japan is supposed to be leading.
  • One of the major reasons Beast Wars II will never be released in America is because the Jointron brothers are a hodgepodge of offensive Mexican stereotypes. They wear sombreros, speak Gratuitous Spanish, love to party, and are loud, dirty, and lazy. Oh, and they transform into bugs.
  • Space Battleship Yamato originally has the Gamilians fashioned after Europe, the White Comet Empire after America and the Bolans after Soviet Russia. In the reboot Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Gamilans are so stereotypicaly German that they even have a space Austria - Zalts.

    Comic Books 
  • The Dominators, in DC Comics' Invasion! and subsequent appearances. Yellow skin, huge sharp teeth, bony clawed fingers, they resemble nothing so much as the Golden Age Yellow Claw except they have red circles on their foreheads.
  • In Fritz the Cat, crows stand in for black or African American people and rats stand in for Chinese people. The former carries over into the two movies.
  • In Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures fantasy novels, the race of "deveels" are hard-bargaining master traders and look like traditional red-skinned hoofed devils. When Phil Foglio adapted the first tome in the series as a comic book, he tossed in a lot of Jewish references and got hit with enough complaints that he (sort of) apologized in a later issue.
  • Fully intentional: Maus by Art Spiegelman.
    • Since the trope is Invoked, it gets played with a lot, most notably in the later acts of the story where the teller begins to lose track of which characters were mice and which were cats as moral complexities are introduced to the situation.
  • Top 10: Robots are treated as urban low-income communities, listening to a hip-hop derivative called "scrap" music, and frequently being accused of taking people's jobs (a la illegal immigrants). They are called clickers by bigots, a term borrowed from the film Creation Of The Humanoids.
    • The Forty Niners has vampires with vaguely Italian or Russian qualities (they claim to be Hungarians), to fit with their Generic Ethnic Crime Gang image.
    • Smax: In Jeff's home universe, elves are treated much like Romani (he accuses them of abducting children and swindling people) while his dwarfish adopted parents resemble Jewish Alter Kocker stereotypes.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Their version of Jeice is from Space Australia, which appears to have everything Earth Australia has, only more... spacey, such as Space Dingos.
    • Any character who has an unusual skin color is likely to be treated as being African American. Piccolo is the most prominent example, but any Namekian, Android 15, and Mr. Popo (who is literally black) also get in on it.
    Dr. Briefs: Finally we're rid of all those dang n-
    Bulma: DAD!
    Dr. Briefs: I was going to say "Namekians".
    Bulma: [Beat] No you weren't.
    Dr. Briefs: No I wasn't.
  • Ultra Fast Pony portrays Fluttershy as a former slave with the vocal mannerisms of a Stepin Fetchit. She only listens to blues music, and insists that only other pegasi have P-word privileges. Oddly, the "pegasi as African Americans" metaphor isn't consistently applied to the rest of the cast: the other pegasus in the main cast, Rainbow Dash, is a Valley Girl instead.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The five crows from Dumbo portray black people, especially the leader, Jim Crow, who is ironically voiced by the white Cliff Edwards (who also voiced Jiminy Cricket). As his name is never mentioned in the film, he was later, rather easily, renamed "Dandy Crow" to avoid controversy.
    • Lady and the Tramp features Si and Am, two Siamese cats who represent Yellow Peril stereotypes. Similarly, the pound dogs embody English (the English Bulldog), Russian (the Borzoi), Mexican (the Chihuahua), and German (the Dachshund) stereotypes. Lady's older friends, Jock and Trusty embody Violent Glaswegian and Deep South stereotypes, respectively.
    • The alley cats in The Aristocats:
    • Fantasia:
      • Sunflower the servant centaurette in the Pastoral Symphony segment is a donkey from the waist down and a black girl from the waist up. She's so badly stereotyped that she got Orwellian Retconned out of the 1969 re-release and all subsequent releases. There are also two zebra-based centaurettes who are black from the waist up. The other centaurs and centaurettes are horse-based and white (well, they have white features; they're an Amazing Technicolor Population) from the waist up. In addition, when the centaurs pair up romantically, each pair is a perfect color match. The "odd man out" centaur, a blue male, is dejected and lonely until his proper match, a blue female, appears.
      • In the Nutcracker Suite segment, red-capped mushrooms represent Chinese people in the "Chinese Dance," and thistles and orchids represent Russian dancers in the "Russian Dance."
    • The comical, jazz-singing, jive-talking monkeys from The Jungle Book (1967) are sometimes accused of being black stereotypes. Their desire to become "real humans" doesn't help matters much. Their orangutan leader, King Louie, was originally going to be voiced by Louis Armstrong to play him, but they were aware of the Unfortunate Implications and cast Italian-American jazz singer Louis Prima instead.
    • The meerkats in The Lion King 1½ are a group of Animal Jews in both personal relationships and in that they employ gratuitous Yiddish.
    • Tito the chihuahua from Oliver & Company embodies Mexican stereotypes and is voiced by Cheech Marin to boot.
    • The mice representing different countries in the Rescue Aid Society in The Rescuers embody various cultural, ethnic, and nationality stereotypes, though most of the stereotypes are pretty gentle.
    • Jose Carioca from Saludos Amigos is Brazilian an embodies Brazilian stereotypes. Likewise, Panchito Pistoles from The Three Caballeros is Mexican and embodies Mexican stereotypes. Their National Stereotypes are gentle, though.
    • Ray from The Princess and the Frog seems to be the firefly equivalent of a Cajun hillbilly. Also, Louis the alligator is based on African American jazz musicians (like his namesake Louis Armstrong) and is voiced by African American actor Michael-Leon Wooley.
    • The "Heffalumps and Woozles" Nightmare Sequence in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh features one turban-clad Woozle as a Sim Sim Salabim-style Snake Charmer.
  • Don Bluth:
    • An American Tail has mice and cats — across many different countries — representing, respectively, the poor and their oppressors. Fievel and his family are Russian Jewish mice fleeing from Cossack cats, for instance. We also meet Italian mice fleeing the cat mafia, and Irish mice, for whom cats seem to represent British colonialism. Fievel Goes West throws in some culturally-insensitive Native American mice. A later sequel has mice belonging to the Lenape tribe.
    • The original Big Lipped Alligator from All Dogs Go to Heaven could be considered this for Black people, given the bone through his nose, the deep-voiced jazz number, and... well... the big lips. He also apparently rules a tribe of sewer rats who resemble your stereotypical Hollywood Natives, wearing Skeletons in the Coat Closet and other tribal garb. His voice actor is an African American man named Ken Page, who went on to voice Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas a few years later.
  • DreamWorks Animation:
    • The bees in Bee Movie represent Jewish-American society, which isn't surprising, since the Jewish-American comedian Jerry Seinfeld voiced the lead and was also one of the writers and producers. The movie includes a Stealth Pun when Seinfeld's character mentions falling in love and another bee (played by Matthew Broderick, also of Jewish descent) responds: "Was she Beeish? Not a WASP! Your parents will kill you."
    • Earlier on, Antz used another "WASP" pun with Chip and Muffy, two New England-accented yellow jackets based on White Anglo-Saxon Protestant stereotypes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Star Wars universe, being love-letters to films that didn't know any better, contains a few examples:
    • Watto, who originated in the prequel films, raised concerns about being a Jewish caricature via being a hook-nosed, penny-pinching merchant and slave owner. It doesn't help that Watto in the second film even wears a beard and black hat vaguely similar to a style favored by Hasidic (ultra-Orthodox) Jews (although there have been claims about him being modeled after stereotypes about Italians or Arabs). Perhaps to dissuade these accusations, Star Wars: The Clone Wars featured the king of Watto's species, who has a vaguely British accent and is depicted as a proud warrior despite his small stature. Although Toydarians are all grasping and unpleasant, it seems their worst sin is slave-owning.
    • The Star Wars prequel films also feature the Neimoidians — a race of slit-eyed, inscrutable, unscrupulous villain aliens who speak with a vague Asian accent, wear Qing dynasty robes and hats, and threaten the galaxy with their trade routes and mass production technology. Many English-speaking critics saw the race as a collection of Asian stereotypes. Interestingly every localization of the film gives the species new accents. In Germany, for example, they got French accents.
    • The Naboo are Space Hindi, but given how inoffensive this caricature comes across as compared to most, you wouldn't guess unless you're well-versed in Hindu culture. They tend to have names similar to prominent figures in Hindu culture, the architecture looks very similar, "Duel of the Fates" has lyrics in Sanskrit, and they even have similar traditional funeral rites.
    • The Jawas are thinly veiled Space Romani, collecting scrap equipment and being chased off by "regular people" who accuse them of theft and peddling inferior goods.
    • The Sand People/Tusken Raiders in the original trilogy come across as a violent caricature of desert-dwelling Bedouin-like groups, being low-tech, desert-dwelling nomads wearing robes and head coverings. Lucas apparently intended the species to resemble the depiction of American Indians in old Wild West movies through their violent behavior toward the more technologically advanced settlers. The females also wear papoose boards. Whether Lucas realized the Unfortunate Implications or not is anybody's guess. The Mandalorian, at least, manages to take steps towards correcting this by portraying the Tusken Raiders as more open to negotiations and showing the titular Mandalorian being sympathetic towards their apparent claim that they are Tatooine's true natives and everyone else is invading.
    • Many critics accused Jar Jar Binks of resembling black caricatures in Minstrel Shows and early American cinema, highlighting his broken English, clumsiness, naivety and shuffling gait, all typical traits of minstrel characters. Physically, he has large nostrils and his "lips" make up half of his face, both traits commonly exaggerated in black caricatures. The Gungan accent, which sounds vaguely Caribbean, doesn't help the issue, and his large floppy ears have been compared to dreadlocks. Jar-Jar's first lines in the prequels, "Me-sa your humble servant," call slavery and domestic servitude to mind. The character was voiced and motion-captured by black actor Ahmed Best, who denied any attempt to make Jar Jar a black caricature. Other Gungans aren't as buffoonish, but maintain the same visual traits and accent.
    • Jabba the Hutt has been accused of embodying Asian and Middle Eastern stereotypes. He has slitted eyes, smokes a hookah and has a harem. At one point, his design was even going to include a fez. However, later creators gave him and other Hutts Romanian-sounding surnames and The Mafiya vibes.
    • Sy Snootles, the lead singer in Jabba's band, was given many more Sassy Black Woman touches in the 1997 "special edition" of Return of the Jedi, including thick lips and a husky, semi-masculine voice.
    • Also in Return of the Jedi, Ewoks are an ursine version of Hollywood Natives. They even capture our heroes, carry Han and Luke on a spit with the intention of roasting them alive, and worship C-3PO as a god. After Leia convinces the tribe to leave the others alone, they join forces with the heroes against The Empire, at which point the Ewoks begin to more closely resemble the Viet Cong.
    • In Rogue One, it turns out that the faction of the Rebel Alliance who the others shun as too extremist is based on a desert world with a reputation for religious fervor, that is the source of an important mineral that the Empire wants to seize. Subtle. That said, when the band first appeared in The Clone Wars they were transparent French Resistance stand-ins (sans accents).
    • The Life Day holiday celebrated by Wookies and originating in The Star Wars Holiday Special shares some traits with Hanukkah, being an originally minor holiday that gained in prominence due to a desire to reconnect and maintain ones culture after a large diaspora.
  • The Transformers film series features a few robotic examples:
    • Jazz is a somewhat Jive Turkey Transformer, possibly in reference to Scatman Crothers, who was the original voice of the character in the cartoons. He's also the only Autobot who dies. According to at least one interview, Jazz was killed because he was the only Autobot in the movie who hadn't already died at least once. It's also been claimed that it was because Jazz is the third most popular character after Optimus and Bumblebee.
    • "The Twins," Skids and Mudflap, drew controversy for embodying a number of black stereotypes in their appearance and behavior. Michael Bay alternately claims that they were meant to mock wiggers or that there was no racial parodying going on at all.
  • In his review of Predator 2, Roger Ebert accused the alien's design, which includes tentacles that resemble dreadlocks, of encouraging the audience to connect its menace with fear of black males. It's rather interesting to note that the second film's hero is a black male, but it also includes a number of dreadlocked black crooks.
  • Played with in The Brother From Another Planet, in which an alien who looks like a black man escapes slavery on his own planet and tries to hide out in a black ghetto on Earth. When two of his species track him down, they of course look like white men, but it turns out that they consider the "brother" an inferior race not because of his skin color, but because he's got three toes.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the White Witch's dwarfs are played by Indian actors in Mongol garb.
  • The Nebulons in Arena (1989) conform to Yiddish stereotypes.
  • The Gremlins in Gremlins have been accused of displaying negative stereotypical behavior of African-Americans. In one particular scene, unruly Gremlins take over a bar while wearing sunglasses and "street clothing," smoking, drinking, gambling, fighting, listening to wild music, engaging in prostitution, and breakdancing. Critics accused the film of exploiting white fear of black culture invading white suburbia.
  • In John Carter, the religious-fanatic Therns, who in the film are responsible for spurring on the war between Helium and Zodanga, have been accused of filling the stereotype of Jews as driving nations to fight each other.
  • The Fireys in Labyrinth have Caribbean accents and the requisite laid-back attitude, singing a Hakuna Matata-esque number to coax the protagonist away from her quest during a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • In Captain Marvel (2019) The Reveal that the Skrulls were Good All Along draws direct parallels to Jews fleeing from Nazi oppression. They're a peaceful race who have been unfairly targeted as a convenient other due to something they have no responsibility for in order to justify a militaristic, racist, and expansionistic empire's ambitions and create a convenient scapegoat. Even the Kree anti-Skrull propaganda of Paranoia Fuel parallels how Jewish bankers are often portrayed as an Ancient Conspiracy by anti-Semites. Their history also carries are also obvious parallels to the history of the Jewish people, in how they lost their ancestral home as a punishment for their refusal to submit before an mighty Empire, and had their people scattered wide and far as a result, and they now have to assimilate into other populations to scrape by, all while they are looking for new place to call home.

  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld series frequently uses Fantasy Counterpart Culture, but there are two examples of this trope detectable:
    • The diminutive and violent Nac Mac Feegle are a combination of the kinder Violent Glaswegian stereotypes with a touch of The Smurfs and bits of traditional fairy lore.
    • The Disc's dwarfs started out as a fairly positive parody of generic fantasy dwarfs — complete with a love of gold and rather touchy clannish attitudes, but honorable and reliable. Then, over the course of the series, their culture developed more and more parallels to real-world Jewish culture, notably a strong attachment to tradition; there were hints that Jewish readers spotted the parallels before the author did himself, ironically given that some older fantasies may have used dwarfs as hostile, antisemitic parodies of Judaism. Although the novels' view of dwarfs (and by the analogy, Judaism) remained essentially positive, their culture was shown to include a bigoted, fundamentalist element that has interesting resemblances to extreme ultra-orthodox Judaism.

      In later books, especially Raising Steam, the status of the bigoted traditionalist sect becomes more of an allegory for Islamic terrorism: these groups are so fervently convinced of their righteousness that they are willing to break their own rules and massively slaughter innocents, including their own people, to prevent their beliefs being overtaken by more moderate ones or their culture being influenced by a foreign power. There is an acknowledged threat of terrorism as a destabilizing force in the region, and this is only prevented because the rulers on the Disc have much cooler heads than some in real life, plus the Dwarfs ultimately have a central authority figure in the Low King, even if he doesn't have absolute power.
  • Battlefield Earth contained an effeminate, weak, but highly intelligent servant race of the evil Psychlos, known as the Chinko. This was probably intentional, as L. Ron Hubbard said that the main problem he had with China was that it had Chinese living there. Note that Hubbard used a different word here than "Chinese". In the film, they were called clinkos, but still had the exact same behavior and voice.
    • Though Hubbard probably wouldn't have known it, chinko is also the Japanese word for "(small) penis."
    • That Scientology uses the word "wog", dated but still offensive British slang for someone from the Indian subcontinent or for Arabs to refer to an unbeliever, might be another reflection of Hubbard's views on race.
    • The Psychlos themselves are a race of money-grubbing, sexist, drug-abusing Planet Looters, who have been turned into the monsters they are by a group called the Catrists, an Always Chaotic Evil faction of evil, totalitarian charlatans who use ruthless persecution and medical brainwashing to maintain their position of power over the Psychlos. In short, an embodiment of all of Hubbard's (and, by extension, Scientology's) hatred of the psychiatric profession.
    Hubbard: I was a bit disgusted with the way the psychologists and brain surgeons mess people up, so I wrote a fiction story based in part on the consequences that could occur if the shrinks continued to do it.
    • Later in the novel, Hubbard introduces a race of interuniversal bankers that are apparently descended from sharks (or local equivalents). They were short, big-nosed, and thought of nothing but cash, going so far as to attempt to foreclose on the Earth after the humans free it from the Psychlos.
  • Deconstructed in Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream, a book presented as a work by a science fiction writer named Adolf Hitler, where the Always Chaotic Evil mutants are obvious stand-ins for Russians and/or other ethnic groups, with the worst of the lot clearly stand-ins for Jews. At the end of the book a reviewer rubbishes the idea that Hitler was writing about Jews — after all, no-one would seriously believe that the notoriously anti-Semitic Russian Communists are being controlled by Jews, right?
  • "Submicroscopic" by S.P. Meek and its sequel have three factions of aliens differentiated by skin color. One forms the heroes, one's a group of giant but stupid savages that constantly attack them, and one is technologically advanced but ethically stunted. Guess which correspond to which colors? (Admittedly, one of the technologically advanced folk who had a grandparent from the heroic faction is portrayed as a Worthy Opponent, but the protagonist doesn't hesitate to kill him, saying that his death was saddening but necessary.
  • H. Beam Piper's Space Viking has the Gilgameshers, a mercantile people for whom haggling appears to be the planetary sport (one reviewer noted, "sadly, we are not given glimpses of the Gilgameshers accusing Trask of wanting to starve their wives and children"). It's specifically stated that they deserve admiration for having rebuilt a space-going civilization from the ground up, and "they had religious objections to violence, though they kept these within sensible limits, and were able and willing to fight with fanatical ferocity in defense." They are also noted for their "maze of dietary and other taboos in which they hid from others," which makes them generally disliked. Lampshaded when the remarks that "everyone was in favor of running out the Gilgameshers" reminds Trask of Hitler, who got into power in the First Century Pre-Atomic "because everyone was in favor of running out the Christians or the Moslems or the Albigensians or something."
  • Blackjack, Percy's winged horse and Sapient Steed from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series has been accused of being an African-American caricature. He's a comical, dark-colored Jive Turkey, rescued from slavery, who constantly refers to Percy as "boss", named Blackjack.
  • Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick has Martian Bleekmen, who resemble and are thought to be genetically similar to Earth's African Aboriginals. They're referred to by the same racial slurs, are paid below minimum wage, and are seen and treated as subhuman, although they seem as intelligent as the earthlings.
  • In the Twilight series, the Volturi are a group of vampires who live in a city in Italy, are considered the undisputed authority figures in the vampire world, and apparently keep the other vampires so well-oppressed that few realize they're doing it. They were canonized years ago by humans who they tricked into thinking they were holy people who kept vampires from attacking. In Breaking Dawn, one of the vampires even says of the Volturi leader that he put on a "white hat" and "called himself a saint". The film of New Moon makes it even more blatant, modeling the headquarters of the Volturi after the Palace of the Vatican.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: J. R. R. Tolkien stated that he used Jews as an inspiration for several aspects of his Dwarves, such as them being dispossessed of their ancestral homeland, their prowess in war (inspired by the Old Testament), them being skilled artisans, and their continued use of their native language outside of their homeland. They may also have a notorious greed for gold and gems, but Tolkien didn't make it their sole feature, as Dwarves are also steadfast in their loyalty and far less susceptible to corruption then Men. And in a nice touch The Hobbit has the Dwarves of Erebor reclaiming their homeland. Tolkien, a linguist, also derived Dwarvish/Khuzdul from Semitic languages.
  • Some readers have identified the Deep Ones of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" as "water negroes," and their interbreeding with humans is often seen as an allegory for miscegenation. This is one of many examples of racism in Lovecraft's earlier works, who was often pretty outspoken in his beliefs.
  • The Winged Humanoids Je'arre in Wind and Sparks cycle. Many centuries ago they lived far south in a desert. Then some of them angered their god and were turned into soulless bloodthirsty Snake People, who drove the unmutated Je'arre away. They are excellent artisans and every ruler would like to have them as his subjects for a share of income. They are also obnoxious greedy merchants, which provoked many clashes. When the emperor offered them a disputed chunk of land for good and all, they gladly agreed, called it "The Promised Region" and quickly cleansed it of the Empire's enemies. By the end of the first novel there's a strong chance of pogroms, because some Je'arre clans supported the invaders.note  Oh, and their noses are huge.
  • David Eddings:
    • The Elenium has Styrics, a race of humans who have been displaced from their original homes by expy-Catholics, and are generally rustic and uneducated despite being simultaneously arrogantly smug and superior. They live in isolated villages or ghettos, are oppressed by the Catholic majority, and don't eat pork. In the sequel series The Tamuli, it's revealed that they have formed their own country that contains only Styrics (although admittedly most countries in the setting are countries of hats).
    • The Belgariad has a number of stereotypical fantasy cultures that basically boil down to the good European cultures fighting against evil Asian cultures whose battle tactics typically consist of flooding the defenses with expendable conscripts.
  • The Redwall series features multiple characters from "the Northlands" (north of Mossflower, that is). Some of them speak with Scottish accents. The only real description we get is that it's pretty war-torn. One weasel in the first book spoke with an Irish accent, but that appears to be the only analogue there. Various other creatures tend to speak with the Funetik Aksent and speech patterns of other regions in England.
  • The goblins in Harry Potter are squat, long-nosed (in the movies), and run the banks, leading to comparisons with Jews. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows reveals that they believe everything made by goblins really belongs to them, even if humans may think they acquired it. They've historically been subject to discrimination and not allowed to carry wands, leading to several rebellions. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them introduces Gnarlack, by far the most stereotypically Jewish-looking goblin, played by Jewish actor Ron Perlman to boot.
  • Voices, the second book in Annals of the Western Shore, has the Alds. Their culture is highly misogynistic and their occupation of Ansul is purely motivated by religious fundamentalism. Their homeland is in the desert. Also, their prayers involve touching their foreheads to the ground. Apart from the detail of being light-skinned, it's hard to think Le Guin wasn't drawing on stereotypes of Muslims (even if they do gain more depth than "sexist zealots" later).
  • Jewish author Harry Turtledove's short story Last Favor is about a planet where the native species is divided into two races, the dominant blueskins and the oppressed greenskins. The greenskins serve as merchants and bankers, but are forced to live in a separate neighborhood outside the city walls. If they are not back in their own neighborhood by sundown, the blueskins are allowed to brutally murder them.note  The greenskins even have Jewish names like Nadab and Itamar, and the city they live in is called Shkenaz.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek has a few of these:
    • The lumpen-nosed, big-eared, insatiably greedy Ferengi are seen by some as antisemitic characters, and their earliest appearances were also criticized as being Japanese stereotypes. According to Word of God, the Ferengi were meant to be strawmen for American capitalists, and were compared to "Yankee Traders" in their first appearance. The name 'Ferengi' is derived from the word "firangi", which is the Hindi/Urdu term meaning "Westerners." The comparisons to Jewish stereotypes became more common after they were ditched as villains and became comic relief. For what it's worth, the staff writer who most enjoyed writing Ferengi episodes was Ira Steven Behr, a Jew, so this may have been a bit of self-deprecating play with various Jewish stereotypes, assuming this was even intended. And in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which featured the most in-depth depiction of the Ferengi, four actors who played the most significant recurring Ferengi characters, Armin Shimmerman, Max Grodenchik, Aron Eisenberg, and Wallace Shawn, were all Jewish.
    • The Klingons started out as obviously based upon Cold War stereotypes of Russians or Chinese. The original description for them in the script for their debut episode, "Errand of Mercy", describes them as "Oriental, hard-faced". Their original appearance includes pencil mustaches and a dark complexion. It came from John Colicos, who played the lead Klingon, Kor in the episode. Colicos envisioned his character as "Space Age Genghis Khan" and suggested this look to makeup artist Fred Phillips. It became the standard appearance for Klingons throughout the show. Starting with the TOS films, they began taking on a mishmash of Horny Vikings and samurai references and became a Proud Warrior Race.
    • Kivas Fajo, from the Next Generation episode "The Most Toys," is a greedy, amoral trader who specializes in collecting—by whatever means necessary—especially rare and precious items. Fajo was played by the very Jewish Saul Rubinek. This was the result of a last-minute recast after the original Jewish actor, David Rappaport, committed suicide.
    • Vulcans are logical, inscrutable, slant-eyed mathematicians and scientists, referencing Asian stereotypes.
    • Romulans are inscrutable, slant-eyed warlike imperialists, referencing Asian stereotypes.
    • Cardassians are amoral, devoted to a big brother-esque government, and the Federation appeases them because they'd prefer a Cold War to a Hot War, referencing Russian stereotypes. Their expansionistic, elitist and racist tendencies also call to mind Nazi Germany.
    • Bajorans are oppressed, deeply religious terrorists, referencing Jewish and Muslim stereotypes. Their religion has an organized structure similar to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. (Louise Fletcher described her character Kai Winn as one of the medieval Popes, ruthless and political.)
    • The infamous TNG episode "Up the Long Ladder" has the Brunloidi, a group of settlers replete with Oireland stereotypes. They're all jovial rural bumpkins, all the men are drunken layabouts, and all the women are spitfire harridans, with accents so thick you could cut them with a knife. Colm Meaney was not happy about being in that episode, but couldn't do anything about it. Later on DS9 he had more influence (being part of the main cast) and point-blank refused to be in an episode with a stereotypical leprechaun, forcing the writers to revise the character into Rumpelstiltzkin.
    • The Borg are white-skinned and constantly force all other races into adopting their culture and technology, referencing stereotypes of white people, along with communists as they are extremely collectivist. The behavior of drones who are freed from the Collective is also similar to accounts from people who have escaped white supremacist groups or cults in general.
    • Despite their name being derived from an actual historical name for the French Resistance, the Maquis are a pastiche of dispossessed Native Americans and Palestinians (the Native American part is more literal as some Maquis are Native Americans who established colonies to preserve their culture).
    • The El-Aurians, Guinan's people, have traits traditionally associated with Roma peoples. Due to their home world long ago being destroyed by the Borg, they're nomadic. The few survivors feel a kinship even if they dislike or are morally opposed to each other. In addition, their culture places a great deal of importance on storytelling and games of chance and skill.
  • Flash Gordon villain Ming the Merciless, an obvious Yellow Peril type villain. The film version in the '80s gave him a Race Lift with Swedish actor Max von Sydow, and since then, he's been white. In Defenders of the Earth and the '96 cartoon, he was green.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Thals in "The Daleks" are tall, blond, blue-eyed descended from a legendary warrior culture now turned into a romanticized farmer people, ironically persecuted by space-Nazis.
    • The Sensorites have a slight Orientalism vibe — inscrutable, all look the same, venerate elders, live in a 'forbidden city'.
    • The Primitives in "Colony in Space" and the Swampies in "The Power of Kroll" are both Native Americans, though the Primitives are Magical Native American-ish and the Swampies are an unromanticised, angry race stuck being bullied by white people on The Rez.
    • "The Creature From the Pit" has a group of bandits in a Human Alien society who were modelled on a pastiche of Fagin from Oliver Twist, with no concern for how this was going to end up looking.
    • Loveable Rogue Sabalom Glitz from "The Mysterious Planet", "The Ultimate Foe", and "Dragonfire", who, aside from having the most Jewish-sounding pulp SF name imaginable, will do pretty much anything for money.
    • "The Unquiet Dead" featured an alien species called the Gelth who claimed to want to live on Earth as peaceful refugees but were actually plotting the genocide of humanity, which led some fans to accuse the episode of irresponsibly seeming to endorse actual contemporary fears about immigration.
    • In the episode "The Long Game", we learn that a consortium of bankers has been covertly manipulating the mass media to control Earth. This is more or less the plot of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. What makes this extra-strange (or something) is that we eventually learn that the Daleks were behind it the whole time. However, villains from pretty much every other profession in Britain have also been shown manipulating Earth folks' perceptions and/or trying to covertly take over. Bankers were just one among many, for a very, very, very Long Runner.
    • "The Zygon Invasion"/"The Zygon Inversion" unsubtly parallels Zygons living in secret on Earth with Muslims in Europe, with a terrorist minority promoting hostility to all of them. Although the episodes were intended to be overall anti-racist, some fans didn't like the implications (in particular the potential suggestion that immigrants were only welcome in society if they entirely gave up their previous culture and never showed any sign of being "different").
  • The Pak'ma'ra in Babylon 5 read subtly like a description of Jews: a religious, fairly insular and widely traveled species that is ignored or hated nearly everywhere they go (because they're carrion eaters). This is exploited in season five when they're brought into the Rangers: they make poor fighters unlike the humans and Minbari that make up most of the organization, but because they're widely traveled and ignored they make excellent spies and messengers.
  • Space Precinct, whose writers never met a tired old cop-show trope they couldn't recycle with tacked-on Soft SF elements, naturally included a race of ridiculously literal Space Jews right down to the Yiddish accent. The best you could say about the result was that they were at least used for an anti-racism aesop in the one episode they ever showed up in. And then there's Captain Podly, whose "Officer O'Hara" accent is only marginally less thick than the trope namer's despite the fact he's a Rubber-Forehead Alien, and that actual Irish-American and New York native Lt. Brogan has no trace of this accent at all.

  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour lampshades this trope with the martians. They celebrate a holiday called Han-oo'Kah and their rite of passage for younglings is named B'at-mit zvah for females and B'ar-mit zvah for men. Interestingly, they also invert this trope. Commander Gene Peeples has none of the stereotypes associated with Jews, but when Pemily Stallwark wants to give him a gift for space-Christmas, he replies that he is space-Jewish. She then offers it as a gift for space-Hanukkah instead and he accepts.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The Star Wreck Role-Playing Game takes a stab at Space G*psies:
    The Ferrets are a disgusting culture who look like chimpanzees made up as Prince Charles. They dress in scarves, gold jewelry, vests, and caftans, and often act as travelling thieves, peddlers, or money-lenders. The PR department of the Ferret Corporation is quick to point out that they have no connection with any possible stereotypes of any ancient Earth cultures. None whatsoever. The very idea is insulting. Then they will try to cheat you out of your money, the little bastards.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Aside from being the "Predators of the 40k Universe", the Kroot are heavily based on stereotypical Native Americans in looks, to the point that one of their legendary chief's name translates to "Sitting Krootox". Being of a lower-than-average technology level (albeit still possessing technology from firearms to FTL travel) doesn't make things better. They also play on the belief once prevalent in many tribal cultures (most famously the Iroquois) that eating a defeated enemy allows you to absorb their strength. Their Bizarre Alien Biology lets the Kroot absorb DNA from their meals into their own genetic code.
    "Together, we will eat them all!"
    • The Death Korps of Krieg is a World War I-themed Imperial Guard army. They are ruthless, dehumanised soldiers specialized in trench warfare who are absolutely disciplined, will always follow orders to the letter, and have little regard for human life, similar to how the Germans were depicted in British propaganda.
    • Similarly, the Valhallans are based heavily on Russian stereotypes, iceworlders who tend to rely on massive artillery barrages and human wave tactics. Also the same affinity for Tea.
  • Warhammer: The Beastmen, according to Word of God, are based on how Roman writers who didn`t show them as Noble Savages portrayed Germanic tribes: a horde of stupid, smelly, civilization-hating thugs who wanted to tear down Rome for no real reason.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse features a variety of werewolf tribes that players had to select from, relating to the ethnic stereotypes of their homelands. Just to drive the point totally home, they have powers relating to those stereotypes. So the Irish Fianna have powers relating to drinking, the Shadow Lords (both Japanese and Eastern European, somehow) are ruthless, deceptive and power-hungry, and the Bone Gnawers (ghetto-dwellers, including African-Americans) are poor and despised. The World of Darkness explains this by asserting that mythological creatures are the origin of various racial and ethnic stereotypes.
  • Twilight Imperium: One of the races players can choose from is the "Emirates of Hacan." Reading the fluff on the back of their race card reveals that they are the trade masters of the galaxy, having secured vast riches from sales of opiates and other narcotics that grow exclusively on their homeworlds (they have 3). This description, combined with their in game abilities to stockpile ridiculous amounts of Trade Goods has led them to being colloquially named by players "Lion Space Jews."

  • Richard Wagner is often accused of this, with entire books dedicated to finding anti-Semitic stereotypes in his operas. Most Wagner scholars today would agree that Klingsor from Parsifal was intended as this trope. Other Wagner villains considered to be Space Jews are the Nibelungs (dwarfs who mine gold underground and are led by the Big Bad), specifically Alberich and Mime, from Der Ring des Nibelungen, though the evidence there is considerably weaker and it's less widely-accepted. The Nazis considered Alberich's son, Hagen, who impales Siegfried in the back to retrieve the ring in Götterdämmerung, as a personification of Jews, while they considered Siegfried as a pure Aryan-blooded hero. They also loved his music, and Wagner was admittedly antisemitic.

    Video Games 
  • In Mass Effect, the Volus are a race of short, weak, and nasally speaking people who live as a "client race" amongst the taller, more militaristic Turians. The Turians allow the Volus to run their finances and commerce in exchange for protection. This is all pretty analogous to the way Jews were viewed in early Christian and Muslim cultures. Several Volus are quite shady, feeding into the stereotype of greedy Jewish bankers and crooked merchants. The quarians also seem to be a Fantasy Counterpart Culture blend of Jews (with their almost religious yearning for their lost homeland) and Roma, but (despite enduring more in-universe Fantastic Racism) without the Unfortunate Implications. The Hanar, with their mysteriousness and their insistence on elaborate rules of etiquette are at least reminiscent of Space Japanese.
  • Master of Orion II features the Gnolams, a race of spacefaring traders whose insidiousness, obsession with money, visage and gesturing all hit way too close to home... They were also short of stature with big noses and wore little skullcaps. Moreover, of the various species' "hero lieutenants" the player can hire, the Gnolam example was named "ZOG", which may or may not have been intended as a reference to a delusional Anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. The name was changed in a patch. Even their racial music theme is based on Chassidic dance.
  • Escape Velocity Nova has a side quest about mercenaries from New Ireland, a planet full of Irish colonists, that includes every Oireland stereotype imaginable, as well as some severe Unfortunate Implications when the mercenaries explain why they're so good at guerrilla warfare. The game's creators seem not to have intended any of this to be offensive, as the player's character goes on at length about how much he admires Irish culture.
  • World of Warcraft has a lot of Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, and applies this trope to the more Acceptable Targets now and then. Namely, goblins are New Yorkers with New York accents. Their dialogue includes cliches from a variety of common New York ethnicities. They're also short, big-eared, obnoxious voiced, shrewd businessmen. In the Cataclysm expansion, the newly-introduced Bilgewater Cartel resembles the Mafia.
    • The draenei also count to a certain extent, if you're familiar with history books (and not just World War II). Like the goblins, though, they overlap with a wide range of real-world cultures.
  • The fourth God of War game pays homage to the Lighter and Softer interpretation by Tolkien above in its own take on Norse Mythology by making two bickering Dwarven brothers skilled craftsmen, who travel extensively and prefer to avoid direct combat. The game even takes it a step further with their characterizations; Brok is surly and disagreeable while Sindri is a nebbishy hypochondriac.
  • In Warframe, the Corpus are a plutocratic, profit-worshiping cult bent on gathering ancient Orokin technology and gathering cash.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, gnomes have large noses, tend to be wealthy bankers and statesmen, and were involved in a giant morally depraved conspiracy for personal gain. This might even be intentional: it's set in the equivalent of the 19th century, and reads rather like a novel from that time, when pinning such things on the Jews would have been perfectly acceptable.
  • The Gerudo from The Legend of Zelda series are Bedouin culture combined with Amazon Brigade. They are nearly all female yet patriarchal, dark skinned thieves who live in the desert, are considered lower than the Hylians who are "chosen by the gods", and they use a moon as their symbol (later changed into a random squiggly thing).
  • The Cetra from Final Fantasy VII. Not only are they a nearly-extinct tribe of wandering chosen ones searching for a 'Promised Land', the main villain's name is lifted directly from a Hebrew concept, the 'Sephirot', which deals with how God manifests in the material world.
  • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: The Selkies, despite their Celtic name, are clearly a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the Gypsies. They're also portrayed by the other races as completely untrustworthy thieves, and when you visit a Selkie town at one point the locals will quietly pickpocket you if you're not a fellow Selkie. If you play as one you can get a letter from your mother urging you to steal everything that's not nailed down.
  • Minecraft features the Villagers, large-nosed merchants protected by Golems.
  • The first two Oddworld games are full of this with the Mudokons, an ancient chosen race with mystic spiritual powers who, following an unseen prior conflict with the villainous Glukkons, were enslaved into Nightmarish Factory jobs. Of course, if this wasn't obvious enough, the game follows Hero Protagonist Abe rescuing his enslaved people from a tyrant (cough) as well as gratuitous use of "shmuck" to really hammer it home.
  • Pokémon: Jynx was accused of being a caricature of a black woman with its pitch-black skin, huge lips, and name evoking voodoo. The truth is a bit more complicated. It's mostly based on the Yamanba from Japanese folklore, but its appearance is partially inspired by Swarthy Pete, a Moorish servant of Saint Nicholas who is often depicted in European Christmas stuff as a Black Face caricature (claims that is was based on the overly tanned "Ganguro" fashion don't hold water, as it was virtually unknown when the game was in production). In any event, it was eventually made purple to deflect criticism.
  • Touhou's kappa are mostly intended as a Homage to the satirical novel Kappa, but the end result is weirdly similar to Jewish stereotypes. They're portrayed as dishonest businessmen who live as an enclave among the more powerful Tengu, and have acute engineering skills but are quick to complain and bad at working in groups. Due to their traditionally monstrous traits being toned down, they're also short and trade in their usual beaks and head-bowls for distinctive caps.
  • The Khajiit in most games from The Elder Scrolls borrow heavily from the Romani (or rather the stereotypes attached to them). They travel in caravans, are often perceived as being heavily involved in thievery (In Skyrim this is played straight, the head of all Khajiit caravans is a fence for the Thieves' guild), are often discriminated against by whatever native species whose land they are in, and tend to be poor. Their accents often is based on what is generally a stereotypical Romani accent. In the words of Lindsay Ellis, "They are Romani - they are cat Romani". The Elder Scrolls Online somewhat subverts this by having an expansion set in the Khajiit homeland of Elsweir, allowing their culture to be depicted more complex and under a different light.
  • The Gek in No Man's Sky are short, greedy merchants with sometimes literal beaks.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Parodied by The Onion here, where a self-help guru encourages people to fight stress by envisioning it as a greedy, hook-nosed race of fantasy creatures.

    Western Animation 
  • The former Cartoon Network show Chop Socky Chooks runs on this trope, if you couldn't guess from the titleWhy? . The reason that it qualifies is that all the characters existences are exclusively in an unreal city-sized mall and don't reference any of the racial depictions as such.
    • K.O. Joe is a depiction of a 70's jive-turkey-speaking African-American.
    • Three guesses who Chuckie Chan is an expy of.
  • The South Park episode "Cancelled" features a literal version in a race of aliens known as the Joozians, a Planet of Hats people characterized by their gigantic noses, wealth, and control of the intergalactic entertainment business. Kyle, the Jewish kid, also happens to be the only human in the group who likes their cuisine.
  • Squidbillies, rather obviously, is about squids who display hillbilly stereotypes.
  • Futurama has a few intentional examples, played for comedy:
    • The Native Martians are obvious analogues to Native Americans. They sold their home planet for a bead (which, it turns out, is a giant diamond) and are forced into small reservations; their clothing and speech are based on old Western film clichés.
    • Zoidberg and his Decapodian species are based on Ashkenazi American Jews. They speak with a thick Yiddish accent, use many Yiddishisms in their speech, and display a number of Jewish stereotypes, such as complaining and being fussy over money. Zoidberg's name is a play on common Jewish names ending in -berg. His profession, a doctor, is also stereotypically Jewish. Likewise, his uncle, Harold Zoid, is an old Borscht Belt-style performer who removed the -berg, just as many Jewish actors hide their heritage when taking stage names. Zoidberg himself is a play on the classic Yiddish concept of the mooching "schnorrer". The Decapodians are based on lobsters, which, as a species of shellfish, are not kosher. note 
    • The Cygnoids are Space Italian-Americans and display some stereotypical Italian-American behavior. Things get a little ironic when a family of Cygnoids open a pizza shop and show a comical level of ignorance about human cuisine and physiology.
    • The Sun people in the video game are meant to be a parallel to Mesoamerican civilizations, right down to the Sun worship, alien sacrifice, and villainous deities.
    • The mer-people in "The Deep South" are based on stereotypes of people in the southeastern U.S., mainly shown in their exaggerated accents and standard redneck-style behavior. This is justified in that they are the descendants of human residents of "The Lost City of Atlanta", which was removed from the American mainland and transported offshore to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean until it sank to the bottom of the ocean. When called out on how there's no way that humans could have evolved into mer-people in less than a thousand years, the rapid evolution is blamed on the Coca-Cola bottling plant.
  • Tripping the Rift pretty much runs on Refuge in Audacity and this is pretty much the least offensive thing about the show, but there's at least two species of purple-skinned alien (or possibly sub-species of the same species) that have a lot in common with humans of African ancestry. One is for all intents and purposes basically a typical basketball player (only with chainsaws) and the other looks like 1940s cartoons of black people. Especially "Natives" as opposed to black characters who were born in America.
  • Fantastic Max has an episode where the characters run into a group of thieving, flamboyant, swarthy (but in the end, helpful) alien con artists that literally refer to themselves as "Space Gypsies".
  • In some Golden Age cartoons, crows are portrayed as being African American, punning on the term "Jim Crow." Interestingly, ravens aren't portrayed this way despite having all-black plumage rather like crows.
  • There are French Canadian crows in Back at the Barnyard.
  • The two titular gophers of the "Go Go Gophers" segments of Underdog are portrayed as stereotyped Native Americans.
  • Animaniacs:
    • In two episodes, the Warner Sibs are portrayed as Native Americans.
    • The Goodfeathers and the Godpigeon are pigeon Expies of the New York City, Italian American mobsters in Goodfellas and The Godfather and so are portrayed as Italian Americans.
  • Family Guy:
    • For the Star Wars special Blue Harvest, the creators wanted to make all the Jawas into Jewas, hence the only speaking Jawa being Mort Goldman, but were prevented from doing so.
    • The ethnically Japanese version of Brian Griffin the dog in the "Road to the Multiverse" episode of Family Guy, who has almond-shaped eyes rather than round eyes like the normal version of him.
  • Lots of VeggieTales characters, though they're not offensive. For example, the French Peas, Archibald the British asparagus, the hillbilly grapes (though their Pa has a New York Jewish accent), and the Hispanic or Italian Mr. Lunt.
  • Looney Tunes has several examples, including Speedy Gonzales and Slowpoke Rodriguez the Mexican mice and Pepé Le Pew the French skunk.
    • The mice and cats (except the American cat, Sylvester) in the Speedy Gonzales cartoons are portrayed as Latinos and Mexicans.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures has Fifi La Fume, who is portrayed as a French skunk as she is a Spiritual Successor to Pepe Le Pew.
    • There was going to be a Latino Spiritual Successor to Speedy Gonzales named Lightning Rodriguez, but he is virtually nowhere to be seen.
  • Yo-Yo Bear from the Yogi Bear episode, "Yogi's Pest Guest" is Okinawan and embodies Japanese stereotypes, like being a martial artist.
  • Judo Jack from Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks is a Japanese martial artist mouse.
  • In another literal example, the English dub of Jamie's Got Tentacles gives Jamie's parents Jewish accents.
  • A mouse that shows up at the end of the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Mystery Mask Mix-Up" to eat Scooby's Scooby Snacks squeaks with a Chinese accent and has almond-shaped eyes.
  • The Simpsons had a Halloween Episode where Bart gets a golem. Naturally, he comes off as stereotypically Jewish (including lots of nagging guilt about Bart using him to kill people). They eventually make him a wife out of Play-Doh; she's played by Fran Drescher.
  • Much like the Disney movies in the animated film section above, Disney's TV cartoons also use their fair share of ethnic stereotypes:
  • Discussed in a Robot Chicken sketch featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in which the media paints them as being racially biased after they use excessive force on Shredder and the Foot Clan.
    Reporter: Do the Ninja Turtles hate Asians?
    Leonardo: Hate Asians? We are Asian!
    Michelangelo: Asian? We're Italian, dude.
    Splinter: You're fucking turtles!
  • Hashimoto-san: The main character and his family are racially and culturally sensitive Japanese mice. This show the first serious attempt to create a largely sympathetic Asian protagonist for the medium.
  • The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat has Peking Duck, who of course is the duck version of the Yellow Peril stereotype.

Alternative Title(s): Stereotypes In Space, Animal Ethnic Stereotypes


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: